A yeast-free quick bread that’s not too sweet, this lemon blueberry swirl bread recipe makes a lovely treat! Bake up a loaf for a sweet gift, or easy breakfast or snack.
Darlings, I think you’re going to like this recipe. It’s closer to an actual bread than a cake, but it’s lightly sweet, and doesn’t need any proofing time. The loaf is ready for the oven in about 15 minutes, so it’s quick. And the flavor options are many since we use a pre-made jam for the swirl!
My baking habits have changed over the last year. Honestly, the change mostly happened in the last 8 months, after our most recent move. At our last home, our house sat at the center of a pretty close-knit street. I hosted a lot of get-togethers, had plenty of families with which to share food. The Godmother, darlings, is a feeder and so EVERYTHING that came out of my kitchen was big batch, for our big framily (friend family).
Our neighborhood is different here, partially due to current events, so adjustments had to be made. I just about cried one day after we moved when I ended up tossing almost an entire cake because our little family didn’t go through it fast enough and it wouldn’t freeze well.
Speaking of freezing, that why you now see so many notes about using your freezer with recipes. It’s a good way to space out treats when you need to.
Another change has been an increased focus on smaller recipes, like this lemon blueberry swirl bread. I mean, we also have super decadent smaller recipes, but this one is a bit more of an “everyday treat”. With a relatively low sugar content, it’s a treat you can enjoy for breakfast without the crash.
If you want something more decadent though, definitely check out my hot fudge cake for two. It’s been described as”life-changing”.
Is this no-yeast lemon bread a cake or bread?
I’m someone who sees a sweet loaf and immediately thinks, “cake!” Cake is wonderful and I’m all for it, but this recipe isn’t cake. Which surprised me the first time I made it.
The original inspiration for the recipe came from a Christina Tosi cinnamon roll bread printed in our Sunday paper. It sounded good and we tried it, but it wasn’t quite a keeper.
My oldest is a cinnamon roll snob and she’s only here for soft and pillowy dough. She likes my one-hour cinnamon rolls but that’s it as far as no-yeast recipes. With the longer bake time needed for this bread, it wasn’t cinnamon roll-y enough for her.
But I kept the recipe, because it was easy to make and I had ideas. Specifically, I had this recipe in mind.
Lemon blueberry swirl bread recipe notes…
Before I leave you with the recipe, I have a few notes for you. These are things I’ve learned in the times I’ve baked this bread, and I hope they’ll help you make it your own.
First, if you came here looking for a low sugar quick bread recipe, this is a good one! You can swap out the sugar in a 1:1 substitute for something like Sverve, Stevia baking blend, or monkfruit. There isn’t a lot of it to begin with, so it’s an easy swap. Be sure to use a low-sugar jam too.
Second, since this is a quick bread, there’s no fussing with yeast. The dough is on the looser side though. As in, it feels like it might be a little too sticky when you go to roll it out. Don’t expect the same consistency as you would get with a yeast dough. PLEASE don’t add more flour. Too much flour in the recipe will give you a dry brick. Instead, make sure that you flour your (clean) counter to make rolling easier. It will come together.
Third, use store-bought jam or preserves. Unless you have homemade, then use that. The point is, we want an easy recipe, so we aren’t cooking a filling for this one. We are just going to enjoy the simplicity of opening a jar.
I really love how the jam swirl means you don’t even need extra jam to serve! Just slice and you’re good to go!
Spread a thin layer of the jam over the dough. Get an even coating, but don’t glob it on. That will help you get a prettier swirl. I was a little annoyed when I went to take pictures that this loaf was not my prettiest swirl. You can see the swirl only hit part of the loaf for some reason. Of course, AFTER I take the pictures, I slice another piece and BAM, beautiful swirl in the rest of the loaf. So just know that the above tip helps, but sometimes, we do our best and get what we get. It’s still pretty.
Finally, the little glaze on top is optional. I like it for visual interest and a little extra punch of lemon. But if you’d rather not, a dusting of course sugar before baking is another beautiful topping option. Or just leave it as is!
Either way, I hope you love this recipe, darlings. We like to enjoy it with a hard boiled egg for breakfast, a cup of tea for snack, or as a simple dessert. Versatile, just sweet enough, perfect for when it’s a treat for you plus maybe only a few.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (the zest from 1 lemon)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup whole milk (see notes), room temperature
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 large egg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (see notes)
- 8 ounces blueberry jam or preserves
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2-3 teaspoons water or milk
- Preheat your oven to 375 F. Butter or spray a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
- In another bowl, whisk together the milk, lemon juice, and egg.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined using a wooden spoon or stiff rubber spatula.
- Pour the butter over the bread batter and stir until just combined. Use clean hands (with food-safe gloves if you don't want to get messy) to pinch the batter together to form a loose dough.
- Dust a clean work surface with flour and transfer your batter. Dust a light sprinkling of flour over the top of the dough, then roll it into a rectangle, approximately 15 inches long and 9 inches tall.
- Spread your blueberry jam evenly over the rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges.
- Starting at one of the short ends of your rectangle, roll the dough to the other short end, creating your loaf and swirl.
- Transfer the bread to your prepared pan, seam side down.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-50 minutes until fragrant and brown on top. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan.
- When the bread is completely cool, make the glaze by stirring together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of water in a small bowl. Add additional water in teaspoon increments until you've reached your desired consistency. If you accidentally thin the glaze too much, add a little more powdered sugar.
- Remove the loaf from the pan and place it on a serving tray.
- Pour or drizzle the glaze over the cooled loaf, allow it to set for 5 minutes before slicing and serving!
- Store the bread in an airtight container on the counter for 3 days, in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze the bread (before adding the glaze) for up to a month.
- Whole milk provides the best results here, but you can substitute non-dairy milk and non-dairy butter to make this loaf dairy-free.
- I use unsalted butter in the recipe, but if you only have salted butter on hand, cut down the amount of salt to 1/4 teaspoon.
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