This lemon blueberry loaf cake has a wonderfully moist and buttery crumb, is packed full of lemon zest and juicy blueberries, and is finished off with a gorgeous blueberry glaze that takes it to a whole new level. Plus, I also share all my tips and ticks on how to prevent the blueberries from sinking!
Lately, I’ve been gravitating towards simple, comforting bakes. Bakes like the Marbled Banana Bread, the Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies (that taste like Nutella in cookie form) and this gorgeous loaf cake, packed full of flavour.
With everything going on in the world (and there’s so much going on), and everyone trying to balance a hundred and one thing right now – we all need easy recipes that require minimal effort yet give truly amazing results.
This lemon blueberry loaf isn’t a polished, refined bake. It doesn’t have the elegance of a tiered cake or the refinement of a prettily decorated cupcake. It’s rustic, a bit rough around the edges – and yet, every single bite tastes like buttery, refreshing, melt-in-your-mouth blueberry and lemon perfection.
Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this wonderful cake – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!
What makes this lemon blueberry loaf so amazing?
1. The flavours. Blueberry and lemon is a match made in heaven – and this loaf cake makes the best of it. It’s packed full of lemon zest and blueberries, and the addition of yoghurt makes it both moister and more refreshing. And let’s not forget the blueberry glaze, which takes this simple loaf to a whole new level.
2. The super moist, buttery crumb. This isn’t a light, fluffy cake. It’s a bit on the denser side – but pleasantly so, especially in combination with its moist butteriness.
3. It’s gluten free! That’s right: this delicious loaf cake is 100% gluten free, but you couldn’t possibly guess it.
4. It’s gorgeous. It has a special rustic kind of charm. The kind found in a golden, caramelised crust, in juicy blueberries dotted around a buttery cake, and in a glossy blueberry glaze whose colour is on the reddish side of purple.
How do you prevent the blueberries from sinking in the cake?
Listen, we all know that blueberries (or other add-ins, like nuts or chocolate chips) sinking to the bottom of the cake as it bakes can be one of the biggest pitfalls of recipes like this. However, it’s actually really easy to prevent – and I’ve summarised all my biggest how-to tips below.
To prevent the blueberries from sinking:
- Your cake batter needs to be fairly thick. This can be a bit tricky in gluten free baking, where a large amount of flour (relative to the wet ingredients) can result in bakes that are too dry and crumbly. In this recipe, I’ve achieved a thick batter by using yoghurt instead of milk in my wet ingredients – this gives moisture without making the batter too runny. Additionally, the blueberries also add (bursts of) moisture to the cake, so the recipe can contain a bit more flour (compared to the Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe, for instance) without being too dry.
- Toss the blueberries in some flour. This is a tried-and-tested trick that’s been used for decades… and it works. To make the flour stick to the blueberries, toss them first with about 1 teaspoon of water, and then add the flour.
- When transferring the batter into the loaf tin, add a few tablespoons of blueberry-free batter first. This one is easier to understand with step-by-step photos, so let’s take a closer look.
Here’s how I assembled the lemon blueberry loaf cake, once I had the batter ready and part of the blueberries tossed in flour (a handful are set aside to be sprinkled on top before baking):
- Transfer a few tablespoons of the blueberry-free batter to the bottom of the loaf tin,
- and smooth it out into an even layer.
- Add the flour-covered blueberries to the remaining batter,
- and fold them in until evenly distributed.
- Transfer the batter with the blueberries to the loaf tin and smooth out the top.
- Sprinkle with the remaining (flour-free!) blueberries,
- and bake.
- The blueberry loaf is done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. It should be golden brown on top.
How long do you bake the lemon blueberry loaf cake?
The lemon blueberry loaf cake requires about 1 hour at 350ºF (180ºC) to be baked perfectly. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick or skewer into the middle of the loaf – it should come out clean or with a few stray crumbs attached.
The loaf is likely to crack along the middle as it bakes and rises, and as it cools down it tends to collapse slightly. Unlike with a lemon drizzle cake or a sponge cake, here the collapse doesn’t indicate an under-baked cake.
Instead, the lemon blueberry loaf collapses slightly because of the large amount of blueberries it contains, which make its structure somewhat less sturdy. For that reason, I also recommend cooling the loaf completely to room temperature in the loaf tin.
How do you make the blueberry glaze?
The blueberry glaze requires only 3 ingredients: blueberries (fresh or frozen), lemon juice and icing sugar.
To make the blueberry glaze:
- Cook the blueberries and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until softened and they have released their juices.
- Strain the juices and discard the skins and seeds.
- Whisk the blueberry juices with the icing sugar until you get the right consistency – it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but runny enough to spread out slightly.
It’s very important that you cook the blueberries before mixing their juices with the icing sugar, rather than using them “raw” and just blending them up until smooth in a food processor or blender. It’s the cooking that gives the intense reddish-purple colour to the final glaze – without it, you’re likely to end up with a rather dull, greyish glaze.
And that’s all there is to it. Follow the tips and tricks outlined above, as well as the recipe below, and you’ll get to enjoy a perfectly moist, buttery, flavourful lemon blueberry loaf cake in no time.
Have fun baking, friends. I hope you’re staying well and safe and sane in these crazy times.
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Lemon Blueberry Loaf Cake with Blueberry Glaze (Gluten Free)
For lemon blueberry loaf cake:
- 150 g (1 1/4 cups) plain gluten free flour blend, plus ~1 tbsp for tossing the blueberries (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour blend, which doesn't contain xanthan gum. You can also mix your own with 50% white rice flour, 30% potato starch and 20% maize flour by weight.)
- 50 g (1/2 cup) almond flour
- 150 g (3/4 cup) caster/superfine sugar
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (Omit if your GF flour blend already contains xanthan gum.)
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 140 g (1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 UK medium/US large eggs, room temperature
- 60 g (1/4 cup) full-fat yoghurt, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 4 - 4 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 200 g (1 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen blueberries (although fresh are recommended)
For blueberry glaze:
- 30 g (1/4 cup) fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 60 g (1/2 cup) powdered/icing sugar, sifted
For lemon blueberry loaf cake:
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with greaseproof/baking paper. (Dimensions of loaf tin: 8.5 inch/21cm long, 4.5 inch/11cm wide and 3inch/7cm high.)
- In a large bowl, sift together the gluten free flour blend, almond flour, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt. Add the lemon zest and mix until evenly distributed.
- Add the softened butter and, using either a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer with the double beaters attachment, work the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a texture resembling coarse breadcrumbs or wet sand.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, yoghurt, vanilla and lemon juice. Add the wet ingredients to the dry+butter mixture in 2-3 batches, mixing well after each addition until you get a smooth batter with no flour clumps.
- Toss about 2/3 of the blueberries first in about 1 teaspoon of water and then in 1 tablespoon of flour, making sure all the blueberries are covered in flour. Set aside the remaining 1/3 of blueberries.
- Transfer a few tablespoons of the blueberry-free batter into the prepared loaf tin, and spread it out to make an about 1 cm (1/2 inch) layer on the bottom.
- Add the flour-coated blueberries to the remaining batter and fold them in until evenly distributed. Transfer the batter with the blueberries to the loaf tin and smooth out the top. Sprinkle with the remaining (flour-free) blueberries.
- Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 1 hour or until risen, golden brown on top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with a few stray crumbs attached.Tip: If the cake starts browning too quickly or too much, cover it with aluminium foil and continue baking until done.
- Allow to cool completely in the loaf tin. Once at room temperature, remove from the tin onto a wire cooling rack or serving platter.
For blueberry glaze:
- In a small saucepan, cook the blueberries and lemon juice over medium heat until the blueberries have softened and released their juices.
- Strain the juices and discard the skins and seeds. Allow the blueberry juices to cool, then whisk them with the icing/powdered sugar until you get the right consistency – it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but runny enough to spread out slightly.Tip: You can add more lemon juice to make it runnier, or more powdered sugar to make it thicker, as required.
- Drizzle the blueberry glaze over the cooled cake, allow to set slightly and serve.
- The lemon blueberry loaf cake keeps well in a closed container in a cool dry place for 3 - 4 days.