Bursting Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

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Our Lemon Pound Cake recipe is even better than that famous coffee house lemon loaf. This simple dessert recipe makes a fabulously moist and tender loaf cake that bursts with citrus flavor!

This one is a family favorite, and it makes a delicious treat any time of the day.

Looking to make a fabulous summer treat for your next picnic, potluck, or get together? This lemon loaf cake is exactly what you need to make!!

Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

If you think Starbucks lemon loaf is good, just wait until you try our super moist lemon loaf cake.

The cake is beyond simple to make and it’s bursting with lemon flavor, plus a little punch of something special.

If you love the flavor of citrus fruits, my mandarin orange salad is packed with bright orange flavor! 

Another favorite light and lemony dessert is lemon raspberry bundt cake.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Lemon – For this pound cake recipe, I use a combination of lemon juice and zest to create a vibrant citrus flavor.
  • Whole milk – When the acids in the lemon juice come in contact with the milk, a chemical reaction causes the milk to curdle.

    The sour flavored milk acts and tastes like buttermilk, but it’s less expensive than buttermilk.

    Unfortunately, it’s difficult to create buttermilk with low fat milks, so substituting those won’t give you the same result.  
  • Almond extract – The almond flavor adds a boost of brightness, and it compliments the lemon flavor perfectly!

    If you don’t care for the flavor of almonds, or you have a nut allergy, feel free to leave it out, or use vanilla extract instead.

    Or, you could make a scrumptious cherry limeade pound cake instead!

What to Serve with Lemon Loaf Cake

Most pound cakes are delicious topped with a scoop of ice cream! With lemon pound cake, 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 Pans for Cake

  • Loaf Pans– Both aluminum and glass loaf pans are great for baking.

    The difference is, aluminum heats up more quickly, which helps cakes to rise quickly, while also baking evenly.

    I prefer uncoated aluminum pans, but non-stick pans are fine too.

    Glass retains heat better than aluminum, does so glass pans are perfect for creating the golden color on loaves of homemade bread.

Lemon Pound Cake Recipe FAQ

What is the secret to a moist pound cake?

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.

For this lemon pound cake recipe, using regular whole milk works just as well. This is because the acid in lemon juice curdles the milk, creating a version of buttermilk.

Why is it called lemon pound cake?

When pound cake recipes were first created, making 2 loaves called for one pound each of butter, sugar, and flour. This is how the name pound cake came to be! The ingredient amounts changed over the years and nowadays, most recipes don’t call for that same 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.

Storing Leftovers

This lemon pound cake recipe calls for a good amount of butter, which is why the cake is so moist. So, as long as you store it in an airtight container, the cake should stay fresh and perfectly moist for 4-5 days at room temperature.

Freezing Instructions

If you want to store it for a longer time, just wrap it 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. 

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Other Simple Lemon Desserts

Bursting Lemon Pound Cake

Donna Elick
Our Lemon Pound Cake is tender, moist, and bursting with citrus flavor. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy with coffee or as a light dessert!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Method Oven
Servings 12 slices


  • 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!


Serving: 1 slice | Calories: 269cal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 143mg | Sugar: 29g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg

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.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally published July 2013. Updated and republished May 2022.

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  1. I made this for guests over the 4th of July weekend, and it was a huge hit. This is very likely the best pound cake recipe I've ever made or even tasted. I followed the instructions exactly, including combining the lemon juice and milk and letting it stand for a few minutes, despite my reservations about that.

  2. Just wanted to drop aline and say I made this last night for the first time. We have our first crop of meyer lemons ready, so I was eager to make something with them. Ohhhh what a wonderful pound cake it turned out to be! Not overly powerful and not too understated on the lemony part, actually quite refreshing on the pallet. An easy cake to make with little fuss. I will certainly be making this one again. Many thanks for sharing this recipe.

  3. Hands down the BEST lemon pound cake recipe!!!! Light, flavorful, with a perfect lemon taste! Just follow the instructions precisely and the lemon zest is a must!!! Yummy good!!

    Question for those of you who have baked this little gem…What what type of loaf pans you guys are using (light or dark) can anyone tell me which is best for this recipe?

  4. This lemon pound cake is just as described: the best lemon burst pound cake EVER. The whole loaf went poof! by my guests who raved as they gobbled it up. My husband said, hands down, the best lemon cake I ever made. I wondered about mixing the lemon juice with the milk and letting it sit, but no harm to the finished product. This is a really outstanding, moist, beautiful, and absolutely delicious lemon treat.

  5. just found this recipe but in viewing the pic, seems the cake is a little more than moist, a little pasty. interested in making this for breakfast and wonder if it is heavy for early morning.

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