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This Homemade Lemon Pound Cake is soft, moist, and bursting with lemon flavor! It’s a copycat Starbucks lemon loaf recipe and it makes two perfect lemon pound cakes lightly soaked in lemon glaze and topped with icing. Each slice has a natural flavor that is sweet, tart, and irresistible!

Lemon pound cake topped with glaze on a metal wire rack


Why You’ll Love MY Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

I am obsessed with lemon pound cake – I always order it at Starbucks and even the wrapped ones in the grocery store bakery tempt me. So I decided to make my own and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not – because now I can eat it whenever I want!

It’s one of my favorite lemon desserts with a bright lemon flavor (thanks to the addition of lemon juice, lemon zest, and a lemon glaze that you pour over the cakes while they’re still warm) – plus a thick lemon icing! This recipe makes two lemon cakes with a soft and moist crumb and TONS of lemon flavor!

ingredients in cake

Ingredients Needed

  • Milk: Whole milk is best because the more fat in the milk the softer the texture of the loaf.
  • Lemon Zest: Just the yellow part of the skin. Learn how to zest a lemon. Don’t skip this part!
  • Fresh lemon juice: You will need some for the cakes, the syrup, and the icing. You can use bottled, but you need the lemon zest so you may as well use the whole lemon.
  • All-purpose flour: I prefer using AP flour whenever I can because it’s so accessible. Be sure to measure it correctly and never pack it.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: The combination makes a nice rise and a fluffy moist cake.
  • Butter: Use softened room temperature unsalted butter!
  • See below the recipe card for step by step photos!

Click to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

Lemon pound cake with two slices cut off on a metal wire rack

The Secret to Moist Pound Cake

For this copycat recipe, there are two secrets!

  • Don’t overbake the lemon loaf. It’s done when a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs sticking to it.
  • The second secret is the lemon glaze for pound cake. It’s basically a lemon simple syrup that adds tons of moisture when you pour it over the cake. The glaze soaks into the cake, keeping it extra moist!

Pan Sizes – loaf or bundt cake?

I recommend using an 8×4-inch loaf pan for these loaf cakes. They’ll be flat and perfect.

Don’t have that size loaf pan? You can use a 9×5-inch pan but the loaves will be shorter. You can also make mini loaves, but this will make 6 mini loaves.

You can also bake this in one 10 or 12-inch bundt pan. Note that as of this writing I haven’t tested it this way but I have tested other cakes and it’s worked just fine. Bake time will be over an hour.

Check out my post about pan size recommendations!

Lemon pound cake with two slices cut off on a metal wire rack

Tip From Dorothy

Expert Tips

  • Use room temperature ingredients! Room temperature ingredients are easier to mix, which means you’re less likely to overmix the batter.
  • To check the cake for doneness: test the loaves with a toothpick or cake tester and it should come out with just a few crumbs sticking to it. If there is wet batter on it, the cakes need more time. If it comes out totally clean, the pound cakes are overbaked.
  • Turn the loaves out onto a wired rack before you add the glaze. It’s easier to get them out of the pans.
  • Don’t skip the lemon syrup – it keeps the pound cakes moist.
  • You can adjust the icing thickness by adding more lemon juice to make it thinner or more powdered sugar to thicken it. Also, it’ll be thinner if you use milk or something with a lower fat content than heavy whipping cream.
  • Wait to ice the lemon pound cakes until they are completely cooled. When they are warm, the icing will get absorbed if you add it.
  • Storing and Freezing Pound Cake: Once the loaves are completely cooled, and the icing is set, wrap them in plastic wrap. You can keep them at room temperature for several days, or you can store them in a freezer container in the freezer to thaw and serve later.
Lemon pound cake slices stacked on top of eachother

FAQ

Can I make this gluten free?

I haven’t tested the recipe with gluten free flour, but Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour works well. If you try it, please let me know!

Can I half the recipe?

Yes, you can cut the recipe in half and make one lemon pound cake.

Can I make this in mini loaf pans?

Yes, this lemon loaf recipe will make six mini loaves. If you make them, the baking time will be less.

Can I freeze lemon loaf cake?

You can freeze the loaves with or without the icing. Wrap the cooled lemon loaf cakes in plastic wrap and keep them in an airtight container in the freezer.

Lemon pound cake with two slices cut off on a metal wire rack

Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

4.32 from 25 votes
This easy classic pound cake makes 2 lemon loaf cakes with lemon glaze – super tart and sweet with the best citrus flavors and bite of lemon cake!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield 24 servings
Serving Size 1 serving

Ingredients
 

For the pound cake:

  • ¾ cup (177ml) milk (whole is best, but nonfat is fine)
  • Zest of 1 medium lemons (5g)
  • cup (79ml) fresh lemon juice (about 1 large or 2 small lemons)
  • 3 cups (372g) all-purpose flour plus more for pan
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter softened, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs

For the glaze

  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (59ml) lemon juice

For the drizzle:

  • 1 cup (113g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoons (15ml) lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons (30-45ml) heavy whipping cream
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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8×4.5-inch loaf pans.
  • In a liquid measuring cup, combine milk with lemon zest and juice.
  • Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  • With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture (with the mixer on low) in three parts alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Beat just until it comes together. Do not overmix and be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl in between mixing.
  • Divide batter evenly between pans; smooth tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 50-60 minutes.
  • While the cakes are baking, make the glaze by heating granulated sugar and lemon juice in a small pan over low heat. Bring to a simmer and stir. Once sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and let sit until cakes are done.
  • Once done, cool cakes 15 minutes in pan. Turn out cakes onto a rack. Use a pastry brush to spread the glaze evenly over the tops and sides of both cakes. Let dry and completely cool, at least 2 hours.
  • Make the drizzle by mixing all ingredients with a whisk. Set rack with cakes over a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Pour drizzle over cooled cakes, letting it run down the sides; let dry, about 30 minutes.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • Use room temperature ingredients! Room temperature ingredients are easier to mix, which means you’re less likely to overmix the batter.
  • Want a super lemon pound cake? Add one teaspoon of lemon extract when you make the batter.
  • To check the cake for doneness: test the loaves with a toothpick and it should come out with just a few crumbs sticking to it. If there is wet batter on it, the cakes need more time. If it comes out totally clean, the pound cakes are overbaked.
  • Turn the loaves out onto a wired rack before you add the glaze. It’s easier to get them out of the pans.
  • Don’t skip the glaze – it keeps the pound cakes moist.
  • You can adjust the icing thickness by adding more lemon juice to make it thinner or more powdered sugar to thicken it. Also, it’ll be thinner if you use milk or something with a lower fat content than heavy whipping cream.
  • Wait to ice the lemon pound cakes until they are completely cooled. When they are warm, the icing will get absorbed if you add it.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 187mg | Potassium: 59mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 317IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

How to make Lemon Pound Cake Step-by-Step Photos:

dry ingredients in clear bowl

1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Add lemon zest and juice to the milk and set aside.

creamed butter and sugar on paddle.

2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy (1-2 minutes) in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

cake batter in stand mixer bowl.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.

cake batter with flour and milk in stand mixer bowl.

4. Slowly mix in dry ingredients and milk mixture alternately.

lemon cake batter in loaf pans.

5. Portion cake batter into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean.

baked lemon loaf in pans.

6. While the cake is baking, make the lemon soak. Brush the syrup over the warm cakes, then cool and frost.

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Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

4.32 from 25 votes (23 ratings without comment)

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