Pierre's Lemon Loaf Cake

In the pastry world and to all the foodies in the world, everybody knows who Pierre Herme is. If you don't let me enlighten you.  Pierre Herme is the Picasso of the pastry world, his creations are very much sought after and in his patisserie in Paris, it's always full of people both Parisians and foreigners paying homage to his creations.

Since going to Paris is currently still a dream for me, I get to visit it through my imagination and by reading Desserts by Pierre Herme which was written by Dorie Greenspan (one of my favorite author). His desserts in this book ranges from something so simple to elaborate show pieces, but don't worry the steps are long but explained very clearly and the pictures themselves are gorgeous. 

I must admit I bought his book last year been reading through it many many times, but this is the first time I made something from it. I started with something easy the Lemon Loaf Cake. What intrigue me with this particular recipe is that it didn't use lemon juice in the batter which is what I was expecting in a lemon cake, but uses only lemon rinds(lemon zest)! I like using my microplane to zest my lemons.  Although they cost more than a lemon zester, with it's ease of use and versatility, it's worth the prize.  I even use it to grate chocolates and hard cheese.
The other reason I made this cake is because it uses cake flour instead of all purpose flour which was what I find I used the most quite recently. Cake flour is NOT the same as self rising flour, which is a cake flour with the leavening already added into it. I remember when I was in grade school you can easily find self rising flour in the supermarket but now no more, so I tend to make my own if the recipe calls for it, which thankfully is very seldom.

Let's start baking! 

by: Pierre Hereme & Dorie Greenspan from Desserts by Pierre Herme
  • Zest of 3 lemons (I used 4 small lemons)
  • 6 room temperature eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick + 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 tbsp rum
  • 2 2/3 cup of cake flour (not self rising flour)
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream or creme fresh (I used all purpose cream)
The process in making this cake is very easy. The actual recipe calls for a zest of 3 lemons, but since I got 4 small lemons handy, I used all the zest of all four of them. The zest are then mixed in with 2 cups of sugar until it resembles wet sand, this smells soooo...good. The eggs were then added to the mixing bowl along with the lemon sugars, mixed until pale and fluffy.  While waiting for the eggs I melted the butter and sifter together cake flour and the baking powder.  Once the eggs are pale and fluffy, add the rum, pinch of salt and cream. I didn't have creme fresh and heavy cream handy, I used all purpose cream which seems to do just fine. When all the wet mixture are incorporated, on low speed gently add the dry ingredients in 3 intervals, avoid over mixing.  I then gently scrapped down the sides of the bowl and folded in the few remaining specks of flour.  The butter now at room temperature is gently folded in the fluffy mixture, in 3 intervals. At first it looks separated but as you continue folding it the mixture homogenize. 

Butter and line 2 loaf pans and divide the batter evenly.  The instruction clearly states butter and flour the pan, but whenever I do that I get this white film outside my cake which doesn't really have a taste but it just doesn't look good for me. Bake this in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 55 to 60 minutes. Check after 30 minutes, because oven varies. Mine was done in 40 minutes.  If it gets too brown, I usually tent mine with foil to avoid over browning.

To make it more lemony, while the cakes are baking make the LEMON SIMPLE SYRUP
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
Dissolve the sugar in the water in a saucepan and cool until room temperature.  Add the lemon juice.

When the cakes are done quickly pour in the lemon simple syrup into each cakes and cool till room temperature.  The original recipe called for melted lemon jam for the glazed but I don't have that so I just omitted that step. 

This cake definitely gets points for making the house smells so yummy and it was done after 2 hours! that was quick, right.  And I remember all the ingredients as I was typing this entry. Isn't that cool or what? normally I forget.  But since this is such an easy recipe with easy ingredients, I could still remember vividly. Hmmm...I'm wondering how long will it takes before I forget. =D


I'm a nine to five pencil pusher who loves to play with flour and paper during my free time. Dreams of going to Europe and eat croissants and make pastries all day long!


  1. Congratulations on finally making a recipe from DbPH! That is a beautiful book, and you've made delicious, moist cakes!

  2. hehehe...I'm excited to make another one of his

  3. Hi, I'm new to your blog. I have just spent all morning reading it. Thank you for all the inspiration!
    I have really been wanting this book, it never seems to be at my local bookstore, maybe they can't keep it on the shelf. Guess I will have to order it online. Thanks for posting the recipe and picture, it looks delicious!