Lemon is often paired with gingerbread because the bright, sharp flavor of the citrus is a good contrast for the dark, molassey flavor of gingerbread. Typically the lemon accent takes the form of a glaze or is served on the side as lemon curd. In this Meyer Lemon Gingerbread, I incorporated fresh Meyer lemon juice and plenty of lemon zest right into the gingerbread, making it sweet, spicy, bright and tangy all at the same time!
The gingerbread is moist, with a sturdy but tender crumb. It tastes like a cross between gingerbread and lemon bread, since you get notes from all the spices that contribute to the gingerbread, but it is all tied together with that zesty Meyer lemon flavor. I like using the not-too-tart Meyer lemons in baking because they add a lot of lemon flavor without adding a strong sour note that might overpower the other ingredients. In this recipe, you can definitely substitute regular lemon juice if you don’t have Meyer lemons. I highly recommend using fresh lemon juice – regardless of which type of lemon you choose – in this recipe to ensure that you get the brightest flavor and the best results.
This bread comes together very easily and can be sliced and served without any special glazes or garnishes. It is a good choices for a holiday dessert or a holiday gift because, like many other types of gingerbread, the flavor of this loaf improves over the course of a couple of days so it can be savored at home or shipped off to friends.
Meyer Lemon Gingerbread
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp Meyer lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light. Beat in egg, followed by lemon zest, vanilla and molasses.
Stir half of the flour mixture into the molasses mixture, followed by all of the lemon juice. Add in remaining flour and stir just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
Makes 1 loaf; Serves 10-12.