Our Lemon Pound Cake is even better than the famous Starbucks lemon loaf. This simple dessert recipe makes a fabulously tender and moist lemon pound cake that bursts with citrus flavor!
This lemon pound cake recipe is a family favorite, and it makes a delicious treat any time of the day.
Lemon Pound Cake
Looking to make a fabulous summer treat for your next picnic, potluck, or get-together? This recipe for lemon pound cake is exactly what you need to make!!
If you think Starbucks lemon loaf is good, just wait until you try our super moist lemon pound cake.
This sweet loaf is beyond simple to make, and it’s bursting with lemon flavor — plus a little punch of something special.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Lemon – For this lemon pound cake recipe, I use a combination of fresh lemon juice and zest to create a vibrant citrus flavor.
- Whole Milk – When the acids in lemon juice come into contact with milk, a chemical reaction causes the dairy to curdle.
The sour-flavored milk acts and tastes just like buttermilk, but it’s less expensive than buying a carton of the stuff!
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to create buttermilk with low-fat milk, so substituting those won’t give you the same result.
- Almond Extract – This adds a touch of warmth, boosting and complimenting the lemon flavor perfectly!
If you don’t care for almond, or if you have a nut allergy, feel free to leave it out or use vanilla extract instead.
Tips for Moist Lemon Pound Cake
- Use room temperature ingredients.
This really makes a difference when incorporating everything together. And less mixing means a more moist and tender lemon pound cake!
- Don’t overbake.
This applies to time and temperature! You’ll notice that we’re baking at 325°F instead of the typical 350°F for baked goods.
A lower temperature allows the lemon pound cake to rise a bit more slowly, creating that signature dense crumb.
You also don’t want to leave it in for too long. Bake just until a toothpick comes out clean with a few moist crumbs when inserted into the center.
It will finish baking that last little bit as it cools.
- Add a topping.
A light dusting of powdered sugar is all you really need for this lemon pound cake.
However, you can add a simple icing on top to make it similar to the Starbucks lemon loaf!
Use the same recipe as my lemon ricotta cookies as a base, but only make 1/3 the amount.
Omit the zest if you’d like, and add a splash or two of milk to make it a bit creamier.
Most pound cakes are delicious topped with a scoop of ice cream! With this lemon loaf, I suggest a scoop (or three) of homemade vanilla bean ice cream.
Or, you could choose something bright and refreshing, like raspberry or lime sherbet.
I also suggest serving your lemon cake with a tall glass of something cool and refreshing, like a raspberry lemonade cocktail!
Best Loaf Pan for Pound Cake
Aluminum and glass loaf pans are both great for baking.
The difference is that aluminum heats up more quickly — which helps cakes to rise fast enough — while also baking evenly.
I prefer uncoated aluminum pans, but nonstick pans are fine too. And cast iron is like the best of both worlds!
There are still plenty of uses for any glass pans you may have at home.
Since glass retains heat better than aluminum, they are perfect for creating the golden color on loaves of homemade bread.
Lemon Pound Cake Recipe FAQ
Having a balance of both the wet and dry ingredients is important in creating a moist cake. Some people use buttermilk or sour cream to add moisture.
Using regular whole milk works just as well in this recipe for lemon pound cake. This is because the acid in lemon juice curdles the milk, creating a version of buttermilk.
The truth is — it depends on the recipe! Cake flour is often used so the loaf isn’t too heavy and dense, typically when the recipe calls for butter and eggs.
Because our lemon loaf recipe essentially includes buttermilk, all-purpose flour works just fine.
Why is it called pound cake?
When pound cake recipes were first created, making 2loaves called for one pound of each butter, sugar, and flour. This is how the name pound cake came to be!
The ingredient amounts changed over the years, and nowadays, many recipes don’t call for that ratio.
Our lemon pound cake recipe is close to that, though. For one lemon loaf cake, you’ll use ¼ pound of butter, ½ pound of sugar, and ½ pound of flour.
This recipe for lemon pound cake calls for a good amount of butter, which is why the cake is so moist.
As long as you store it in an airtight container, the cake should stay fresh and perfectly moist for 4 to 5 days at room temperature.
If you want to store it for a longer time, just wrap each loaf tightly in plastic wrap. Then, add another layer of freezer paper or aluminum foil.
That should keep it safe from freezer burn.
Pop those loaves in the freezer and they’ll keep for 3 months or more.
I like to make a few loaves at a time and freeze them for the holidays. Lemon pound cake makes a fantastic party hostess gift!!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Simple Lemon Desserts
Bursting Lemon Pound Cake
- loaf pan 8×4 inches
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, softened but still cool
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
- 2 large lemons, zested and juiced (about 2 tablespoons zest and 1/2 cup juice)
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon almond extract, or pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Prepare a 9”x 5” loaf pan by greasing with 1 tablespoon butter, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Shake the pan back and forth to coat the sides and bottom. Discard excess sugar and set pan aside.
- Stir lemon juice and milk together in a small bowl or 1 cup measuring cup. Set aside. The milk will curdle, creating a buttermilk substitute.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine lemon zest and sugar with an electric mixer on low speed, mixing until all of the sugar is coated in the oils from the lemon zest. Add the butter and beat on medium-high until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and almond extract and continue mixing until well combined. Finally, add milk/lemon juice mixture and beat until you have a smooth batter.
- With the electric mixer on low speed, add flour and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Allow pound cake to cool in baking pan for 10 minutes, then turn out to a cooling rack and serve warm without powdered sugar, or allow to cool completely.
- Dust top of cooled cake with remaining 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Serve and enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published July 2013. Updated and republished June 2023
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