Welcome to The Basil & Cinnamon Sagas! I'm Alexa, and I am a food and travel blogger who loves cooking, baking, eating, and storytelling. Enjoy reading and eating your way through the Sagas found here!

Lemon Bread with a Strawberry Lemon Glaze

Lemon Bread with a Strawberry Lemon Glaze


Sometimes words flow easily, and sometimes they don’t.

At first, tonight was a night when they weren’t.

As a writer by trade and by passion, that is something that is always frustrating. I can feel the words I want, hovering somewhere just beyond sight, but I can’t quite reach them, can’t quite get them to fall into line and onto the page. Just as I’ve almost caught one I like, it scatters back into the swirl of thoughts in my mind and disappears.

Such is the way with wild things. And words are sometimes the most wild of things. You never know quite how they'll act, the effect they’ll have, where they’ll lead. You can only chase them, learn them, use them to try to express the inexpressible, the invisible emotions and beliefs of your heart—the feelings that form your identity.


Isn’t it interesting that we define our very identities through words? That our world is ruled by them? And what do words really convey, except our attempt to communicate our own souls back to the world?

Sometimes it shocks me, the power that words have, the power that we so easily forget with our common use of them. Every moment of every day, we are bombarded with words from all sides. We see them on screens and on grocery store shelves, hear them pour through our radios and televisions, speak them endlessly to one another. Some of them are resonant, significant. Some of them are just noise with no depth. We interact with words so frequently that when it all falls silent, when we’re somewhere that words aren’t seen or heard or spoken, they fill our minds as thoughts to crowd out the stillness.

We’ve forgotten how to be still, that the words are not us. The words are tools we use to describe us, to drive us, to understand us. But they are not us.

Not that this means I love them any less, that I don’t respect and admire their infinite possibilities and the potential they give us to know and share ourselves and one another. But then nights like tonight happen, when I stare at my computer, trying to be artsy or maybe funny or somehow just write about strawberries, and all I can see is the swirl of words in my mind. They flow like a river, too fast and too chaotic to make sense of. I picture them like the herd of wild horses I once saw in South Dakota. They tossed their manes and swished their tails, watching us with interest and curiosity as we came into contact with them on the wind-whipped fields they call home, but grazed just out of our reach. And I let them remain out of reach, because they were beautiful but wild. We could enjoy them, but it was not our right to grasp them.


I think we sometimes get too lost in using words that we forget to stop and appreciate them. Even more, we forget to separate ourselves from them. That swirling, roiling river of thoughts that blocks our stillness and sense of self is a sign that we need more of the silence, more time experiencing the emotions and less time defining or sharing them. We need to connect to the us that is disconnected from this world of ceaseless words—and maybe some moments that connection is achieved through words quietly sketched in a journal or whispered into the wind or spiraled through your mind, words that are uninhibited and for you alone. But some moments, it is from the absence of words altogether.

Tonight, I needed silence. I needed to step back from the words for a moment, so that when I returned to them, I could appreciate them all the more—I could see how they are beautiful but wild.


And now onto a few short words about strawberries and lemons.

June is the strawberry moon; this year, the full strawberry moon occurs on June 28th. The strawberry moon signals that wild strawberries are at their peak harvest, and sometimes is tinged pink in the night sky. I vividly remember seeing the strawberry moon high above the rolling hills of Illinois a few summers ago, and to my absolute delight, it was indeed pink. And the strawberries that grew underneath it were the sweetest jewels the Earth could provide.

It's finally strawberry season in earnest, and there are little blue cardboard baskets of perfect strawberries at the farmers' market that I can't resist. I've had the self-made and basically nonsense rhyme "June, June, the strawberry moon...." stuck in my head for days, a manifestation of my eagerness to post this beautiful recipe I created: Lemon Bread with a Strawberry Lemon Glaze.

This lemon bread is bright, soft, and moist. It has elements of both tartness from the lemons and sweetness from the strawberries. The glaze is a light and sugary coating that makes this recipe as ideal for a dreamy dessert as it is for an indulgent breakfast.

I was so happy with how this decadent bread turned out! I hope that you all love it just as much, and that it serves as a perfect bridge between the end of spring and the arrival summer. Enjoy strawberry season: it's our yearly remind that life is sweet—no words necessary.

xoxo Alexa


Lemon Bread with a Strawberry Lemon Glaze

Makes: 1 medium (9"x5") loaf

Takes: 1 hour & 30 minutes

The Characters:

For the lemon bread:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest (1 lemon)
  • 1 & 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

For the strawberry lemon glaze:

  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. milk 
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4-5 strawberries
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

The Saga: 

For the lemon bread:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease bottom and sides of one 9"x5" loaf bread pan. 
  3. Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a bowl with a hand mixer.
  4. Add vanilla, eggs, and milk, and mix until incorporated.
  5. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. Mix for a few seconds, just until ingredients are stirred in.
  6. Add 1 cup of the flour and the lemon juice, and mix together slowly. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and mix until the batter is completely smooth.
  7. Pour batter into the bread pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. 
  8. Let loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then flip onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

For the strawberry lemon glaze:

  1. Add vanilla, milk, and lemon juice to a bowl.
  2. Using your hands, squeeze the juice out of the strawberries and into the bowl with the other liquids.
  3. Using a whisk or a spoon, begin mixing slowly, gradually adding the powdered sugar. Mix until the glaze is smooth and all sugar has been incorporated.
  4. Immediately pour the glaze over the loaf of bread (or cookies, cake, or whatever you are using the glaze for) and let harden.


Summer Berries + Coconut Cream Popsicles

Summer Berries + Coconut Cream Popsicles

Fresh Mint Brownies with Mint Buttercream

Fresh Mint Brownies with Mint Buttercream