I am very much a “lemon girl”, and I am always looking for new sweets to make with the juicy yellow orbs. In the past, I’ve posted about lemon cake, lemon curd and lemon frozen yogurt, lemon tart, and lemon pie; today, I want to share a lemon bread.

This quick bread is adapted from the lemon cake I linked to above. I’ve made that cake many times and it’s great…I wasn’t at all trying to improve on it. What I was trying to do was make it a bit more lemony and a bit less sweet. I accomplished this by upping the amount of lemon juice and zest, plus I cut down the sugar in the bread itself and used an icing that’s made from mascarpone cheese: it’s creamy, but not sugary.

Though I always use Meyer lemons for lemon desserts if I can find them, they’ve been absent from local markets this winter, so I used regular organic lemons here. I feel it’s very important to use organic lemons whenever you’re incorporating the zest into a recipe, as that’s where the residue from any chemicals used in the growing process will linger. If you can’t find organic lemons, use a reliable produce rinse to thoroughly clean your fruit. If you do have access to Meyer lemons, by all means use them.

Like my favorite lemon cake, this lemon bread is made with olive oil. Don’t worry about the olive oil adding a funky flavor- it doesn’t. It does impart a wonderful, moist texture, though. If you’d like to use melted organic butter in place of the olive oil, that’s fine, too.

I strongly suggest you try the mascarpone icing- watch out: it’s so yummy you might find yourself spooning it into your mouth- but you can certainly leave the bread “naked”, if you prefer…it’s delicious that way, as well.

Lemon Bread with Lemon Mascarpone Icing

Yield: Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

For the bread:

*1 1/2 cups organic, all purpose, unbleached flour
*2 teaspoons baking powder
*pinch of sea salt
*2 tablespoons organic lemon juice
*1 tablespoon organic lemon zest
*1/2 cup plain, organic yogurt
*3/4 cup demerara sugar
*4 eggs, preferably organic and free-range
*1/2 cup fruity olive oil

For the syrup:

*1/4 cup demerara sugar
*1/4 cup warm water
*2 tablespoons organic lemon juice
*1 tablespoon organic lemon zest

For the icing:

*1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
*2 tablespoons organic lemon juice
*1 tablespoon organic lemon zest
*1 tablespoon demerara sugar, plus more to taste, if desired

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub the inside of a standard loaf pan all over with olive oil.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add lemon juice and zest and mix well.

3. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, eggs and olive oil. Whisk well to combine. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk again to combine

4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. I suggest you start checking after 40 minutes: you do not want to overbake the bread.

5. Cool the bread for 5 minutes, then carefully remove it from the pan. Prick the top of the bread all over with a cake tester, whisk the syrup ingredients together, and then drizzle the syrup all over the bread. Some of the syrup will go into the whole, and some may run over the sides of the bread...it's all good.

6. Allow the bread to cool for another 30 minutes (or wrap and store overnight), then stir the icing ingredients together. Using a offset spatula or a knife, cover the top of the cake with the icing. You can serve the cake immediately, or put in the refrigerator for a bit to "set" the icing.

Adapted from my Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake, which I adapted from the recipe for French Style Yogurt Cake in A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg.