Moist Lemon Cake Recipe

This moist Lemon Cake Recipe is fluffy, tangy and so easy to make from scratch! Every bite of this supremely moist pound cake is bursting with fresh lemon flavor and the easy lemon glaze on top will have you hooked after just one bite.

Moist Lemon Cake Recipe

This homemade lemon pound cake tastes even better than the Starbucks Lemon Loaf!

If you like the Starbucks Lemon Loaf then you’ll love this delicious, moist lemon cake recipe that’s made completely from scratch in less than 10 minutes. It’s one of my favorite afternoon or breakfast treats and it always gets rave reviews, everyone loves it! It’s gone in minutes whenever I make it.

This batter is made with freshly grated lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. When it the cake comes out of the oven it is infused with a homemade lemon syrup to give it an extra lemon kick, and then after cooling down the pound cake is topped with the most delicious lemon glaze.

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This easy lemon cake is not dry and not fudgy, it’s perfectly moist while still being fluffy and it keeps fresh for a few days! A perfect cake for every occasion. If you like lemon desserts, you have got to give this cake a try!

Better than Starbucks Lemon Loaf Cake

Tips and Tricks for Making This Easy Lemon Cake Recipe

  • You can also make this recipe in a bundt pan. It looks prettier than in a loaf pan but make sure to grease your bundt pan generously so that your cake will come out of the pan.
  • Don’t leave out the lemon zest, that is what gives it the wonderful lemony flavor! I always use organic lemons and my favorite grater that I’ll like below.
  • For the best flavor use freshly squeezed lemon juice! Don’t use the bottled stuff, trust me fresh lemon juice tastes so much better.
  • When you make the lemon glaze for this pound cake don’t add too much liquid. You want the glaze to be nice and thick not runny. Start with 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp milk and add the remaining 1/2 tbsp as needed.
  • This cake keeps well covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Moist Lemon Pound Cake with tangy lemon glaze

Looking for more Lemon Dessert Recipes?

You might have realized by now that I love lemon desserts. My husband even complained that all I do is make lemon desserts … until he tried today’s recipe and demanded more. Bahaha! If you love everything lemon like me check out my whole collection of recipes with lemon there is even a delicious lemon risotto.

Easy Lemon Bread

Tools used for making this Recipe:

Loaf Pan: I can recommend all the baking pans from this brand! They’re super easy to clean and cakes bake evenly.
Citrus Zester: This one easily zests the rind without the pith, I really love this tool. It’s perfect for zesting citrus fruits, grating hard cheeses, and ginger.
Lemon Squeezer: This tool makes it super easy to juice lemons AND limes. It is a 2-in-1 tool that is super sturdy and easy to use. You’ll be amazed at how much juice you’ll get out of a lemon.

Want to try this Lemon Loaf Recipe?

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Homemade Lemon Loaf Cake with Lemon Glaze Recipe
Print Recipe
4.82 from 48 votes

Moist Lemon Cake Recipe

This moist Lemon Cake Recipe is fluffy, tangy and so easy to make from scratch! Every bite of this supremely moist pound cake is bursting with lemon flavor. If you like the Starbucks Lemon Loaf then you'll love this homemade lemon pound cake!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Baking
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lemon Cake Recipe
Servings: 10
Calories: 306kcal
Author: Julia

Ingredients

For the lemon pound cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (190g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature (115g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (120ml)

For the lemon syrup:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

For the lemon icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar sifted (120g)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9x5-inch (or 8x4-inch) loaf pan.
  • In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using an electric mixer) cream the butter and sugar together at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • With the mixer running on low-speed, add the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat on medium-high speed until combined.
  • With the mixer on low, add about one-third of the flour mixture and mix until almost combined, then add half the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Repeat with another third of flour mixture and then the last half of the buttermilk, ending with the last third of the flour. Beat until just incorporated.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out mostly clean with only a couple moist crumbs. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours.
  • Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Stir together the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar for the lemon syrup. Carefully invert the loaf pan, and transfer the cake to a cooling rack, then brush the syrup on the cake while it’s still warm. Allow cake to cool completely.
  • When the cake is cooled, combine all the icing ingredients, start with 1 tbsp lemon juice and milk and add the remaining lemon juice as needed. The icing should be thick and not runny. Pour icing over cake and let dry before serving.

Video

Notes

You need two organic lemons for this recipe!

Nutrition

Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 144mg | Potassium: 98mg | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 7% | Vitamin C: 1.1% | Calcium: 4.8% | Iron: 5.9%
Nutrition Facts
Moist Lemon Cake Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 306 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 15%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 58mg 19%
Sodium 144mg 6%
Potassium 98mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 49g 16%
Sugars 34g
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 7%
Vitamin C 1.1%
Calcium 4.8%
Iron 5.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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92 Comments

  • CJ


    I just made this recipe and it is AMAZING! I missed having the lemon loaf from Starbucks (I have an egg allergy), so I’m very happy this turned out just as lemony as that cake. I used oil to substitute the eggs, but I think I’ll have to add some cornstarch next time to let it bind together a bit more. Thank you so much! It was wonderful being able to have lemony pastry with my chai again.

  • Erin


    This cake is fantastic and it really is better than Starbucks! It has a gorgeous, soft velvety crumb and slightly crisp sides and bottom – I love that contrast! I really wanted a punch of lemon flavor throughout the cake so I doubled the lemon syrup, and then after the cake had cooled for the requisite 10 minutes I poked holes with my cake tester all over the top and poured the sugar syrup over to soak in, like a tres leches cake. That was the only change I made and it took it a little over the top. Next time I’ll just stick with the amount of syrup as written, but this was made for a friend that is a lemon freak.

  • Diane Clark


    This cake is so delicious with such an awesome lemon zing! I make a lot of baked goodies for breakfast on-the-go in my house. I made this recipe for the first time this week and my picky, breakfast-hating teenage daughter told me it was her favorite thing I’ve ever made her in the morning. She packed up an extra slice to go and munched on it all morning at school.

  • Chris in VA


    Julia:

    I tried this recipe last night and it was very good and extremely close to Starbucks but it wasn’t as moist as theirs. Any suggestions what I could add to it to make it more moist? I took it out of the oven early after reading some of the comments so it definitely wasn’t over cooked. My husband and I really enjoyed it, I’m just still on the search for the perfect, melt in your mouth lemon cake recipe and yours is the closest so far :) Thank you for sharing! I look forward to trying more of your recipes :)

    • Julia

      Happy you liked the recipe even though it was not 100% what you were looking for. Did you use the lemon syrup? I find it adds lots of moisture to this already pretty moist cake. Another way to add even more moisture is by using oil instead of butter, but this would require changing the recipe quite a bit. I love the flavor that the butter adds so I prefer to use butter instead of oil. Measuring the flour correctly can also help, cup measurements are not the best for baking because we tend to use too much flour, so you could try using a scale. Overmixing the batter also results in a drier cake. Hope this helps! – Julia

  • Hue Reynolds


    Made this for the first time and even doubled the recipe to make two loaves. Didn’t put the lemon frosting, but did drizzle with the lemon glaze. Absolutely delicious!

  • Dadi


    Hi,
    I tried this recipe today. Amazing taste , very moist everybody loved it thanks !! But I had an issue with the icing, the result wasn’t the same as yours, the icing wasn’t thick enough I tried to add more sugar, but it didn’t want to get thick as on your video. Any advice on that ? Would you help me with European measures ? Thanks a lot <3

    • Julia

      Happy that you liked it! Adding more powdered sugar always works for me so I’m not sure what went wrong. Did you start with only adding 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to the powdered sugar as the recipe says? Sometimes depending on your powdered sugar, you might need to use less liquid that’s why I start with only adding half of the liquid and then gradually add the rest. As for the European measurements, you can toggle between US Customary and Metric just below the ingredients. Hope this helps!

      • Dadi

        In fact, I put the lemon juice and the milk first and then I added gradually the sugar. Was it important to add the lemon juice + the milk (I used semi-skimmed milk) to the sugar and not the other way round? Thanks for your reactivity this helps a lot!

        • Julia

          It’s best to always start with all the sugar in a bowl then gradually add the liquid, this way you can stop adding liquid when the desired consistency is reached. Hope this helps! – Julia

          • Charity


            It can also depend on the temperature of your environment. If it’s too warm in your kitchen, it will never thicken up

    • Julia

      Cupcakes would work for sure, you just have to reduce the baking time to about 20-30 minutes. I’m not sure about the 9×13 pan, it will probably be not enough batter so you might have to double the recipe and the baking time might be a bit longer too so keep an eye on the cake and test frequently with a toothpick for doneness. Hope this helps!

  • La


    This recipe is FANTASTIC. I could honestly sit and eat the whole thing in one sitting.
    I think I am going to try it again as mini loaves to give as gifts. :)
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Juliana


    Hello Julia! I just made this amazing recipe a few days ago for my family! It was a major hit! It came out amazingly delicious. Thanks for the recipe and the video helped a lot too! You’re awesome.
    I added double the amount of lemon zest in the recipe, as well as for the icing. We love lemons! lol
    I’m looking forward to trying out more of your recipes!!

  • Corissa

    Read through all comments… thinking of using this recipe for my layer crunch cake. First was uncertain if it would be too dense but I think it will be a nice combination, especially once I saw the comment regarding buttercream frosting, which is what I use for the layer cake… just not sure on the syrup… maybe a half recipe of syrup… what do you think? Ty! I’m definitely excited! HAPPY HOLIDAYS !

  • Jade


    This recipe is still going strong! Thanks for providing it.
    I made this cake for a get-together recently and it was a hit! Have also made it for myself alone, which is also a hit every time 😁 It’s becoming my favourite one to make and share.
    After taking it out of the oven today and trying to flip it from the pan, it seems to be falling apart a bit. Any tips to avoid that?
    thanks!

    • Julia

      So happy you like it! Have you tried lining the pan with parchment paper? This always helps with getting cakes out of the pan especially moist cakes like this lemon cake. I leave an overhang on each long side so I can easily lift the cake out of the pan. Hope this helps!

  • SG

    Is there a substitute for buttermilk? I don’t have it at home and I really want to make this cake right away, I have a sudden lemon cake craving :)

    • Julia

      Yes, you can make your own buttermilk by mixing 1/2 cup milk and 2-3 tsp lemon juice together. Let it sit for a few minutes and then use in the recipe.

  • H


    It was delicious but thr only problem it was bery dense , though baking poweder is fresh and oven was preheated , i used icing suger instead of granulated suger in the batter , does that cause the cake to be that dense?

    • Julia


      Using powdered sugar will definitely alter the texture of the cake because powdered sugar contains cornstarch and you won’t be able to cream the butter and sugar together. Creaming the butter and sugar together is a very important step in this recipe because it aerates the batter and acts as a leavening agent making the cake lighter (that’s also the reason why this recipe doesn’t need more baking powder).

  • Sidra Ahmed


    I just made this cake in a 8 x 4 loaf pan. It was a small cute cake, literally fit on a dinner plate. Directions were perfect; I used a stick blender to mix everything. The lemon icing was a bit sweet so I didnt completely cover the top, just drizzled. That was good since my hubby doesnt like sweets that much (he scraped the icing off). I personally liked the tart sweet taste. Thanks for an easy fast and tasty recipe!

  • Ms. New stay at home MOM


    Forgot to add that my grandparents loved it & its good to eat alone or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side when serving it.

  • Ms. New Stay at home MOM


    I made this last night & it is delicious! Im writing this recipe down & keeping it in my recipe book! I did exactly like the recipe but added just a pinch more of baking powder & salt to make sure it would rise after reading comments but didn’t need to since my baking powder was just bought I just wanted to be on the safe side. THANKS ALOT FOR RECIPE I CAN’T EXPRESS HOW HAPPY I AM WITH THE THE OUTCOME PLUS IT WAS SUPER EASY!!!

  • Natasha


    I’ve made the cake 3 times now and they’ve all been perfect and I wondered what you would think about doing a lime cake with a pineapple glaze?

    • Julia

      So happy you liked the cake, Natasha! A lime cake with pineapple glaze sounds delicious, might have to give this a try because I love these flavors!!

    • Julia

      It depends on how thick you are cutting the slices. You get 9-10 slices if you cut slices that are a little bit less than an inch thick but you could cut them thinner to feed more.

  • Bev

    I messed up and used juice of an entire lemon in the cake. Should I use one half lemon juice for the syrup to compensate?

  • liam


    Just made this and it is really yummy! Super easy to make as well, really moist and not over powering with the lemon flavour!!

  • Tanu Chopra


    The cake tastes really great. I used half butter and half oil. But while slicing the cake it’s not coming out in a clean cut. It’s too soft to have clean slices. Hope you will help.

  • Hannah B


    I loved making this cake! I baked for 43 minutes (my oven tends to burn quickly) and when I inverted the pan to remove the cake, the entire thing split in half horizontally. I’m trying to use the frosting to paste it together. Any idea how or why that happened?

    • Julia

      Hi Hannah, I’m sorry this happened to your cake! Did you grease the pan or use parchment paper? It’s always important to prep you baking pans before adding the batter especially if you’re not using a non-stick pan. Using parchment paper makes it really easy to lift out the cake from the pan without the risk of it being stuck or splitting in half. – Julia

  • Kathryn


    I tripled this recipe and made a layered cake with blackberry jam between the layers and fresh blackberries on top. It was delicious! I will definitely make it again.

  • Josie


    Delicious, thank you! I doubled the recipe and made two, which worked well. So helpful to have the measurements in both grams and cups :)

  • Minu Augustine


    This is the first time I made it…..had to make something to substitute chocolate and cocoa flavours as my daughter is not allowed to have them due to health issues. …but this was a great success…loaf came out beautifully and my daughter loved it….

  • Lyma


    What a lovely recipe! I am so glad I stumbled upon it- definitely a keeper. Sometimes, I mix all the lemon parts with lime and top it with toasted coconut. It gives it a tropical twist :)

  • Laur


    Great, lemony recipe. I adore lemon desserts and this one ranks at the top. Even my sister who lives at Starbucks said this cake was better.

    I can’t wait to bake it again to give away as gifts. I’ll be the little lemon cake fairy.

  • Jennifer


    I was craving some sort of lemon cake and came across this. The lemon pound cake was my favorite at Starbucks! My bake time was 45 minutes using a 9 inch loaf pan. This is amazing, thanks for the great recipe!

  • Hanna


    The recipe worked really well and ended up tasting great. The cake was very light and fluffy and tasted SO good, definitely one of my favorite recipes!

    • Julia

      Does self-rising flour have baking powder and salt in it? If yes then you would have to leave out the baking powder and salt. I have never used self-rising flour before so I’m not sure.

  • Priscilla


    Thanks. I just made the cake. Superb! Didn’t listen to your advice so I kept it for 50 min. Too Brown but still moist and sweet and lemony and everything right. Amazing!

  • Sharon kerr

    How much in measurement is “juice of half a lemon”?. I have huge lemons that have about 125mls per half lemon

  • Edi


    I made this today and absolutely loved it!! I do have a question though: is it supposed to be slightly dense? I didn’t get too much of a rise and I wonder if I did something wrong or that’s just the nature of the cake. Doesn’t take away from the amazing taste of this cake.

    • Julia

      So happy you loved it, Edi!! Yes, it will be slightly dense like pound cake but it should rise in the oven. If it didn’t rise, it could be your baking powder, perhaps it is too old. I store mine in the fridge because I find it keeps fresh longer. Waiting too long between making the batter and baking it can also influence the rise because baking powder is activated as soon as it comes in contact with liquid. – Julia

      • Edi

        Awesome! It did rise but not as much as other cakes I have baked, so that made me wonder. My family loved it and I will be making the cake again on Monday. Thank you again for this wonderful recipe!!

  • Neha bhat


    Hey!! Tried the cake yesterday n I must say this is an awesome recipe.
    The moistness , melt in mouth texture n taste.. Beautiful cake recipe.
    I only made the cake n tht itself was suppperrrr flavourful.
    Hard to resist gobbling up the entire cake!!!

  • LIM SIOW FEN


    It’s a brilliant cake. Thank you for the recipe. However, for step 4. I can’t seem to be able to combine them at all, solid coagulation and lid suspension instead of combined mixture. Please advice?

    • Julia

      Adding one egg at a time and beating about 30 seconds after adding each egg should help with that problem. But it’s ok if the mixture looks a little bit curdled because it’s a large amount of fat and a large amount of liquid from the eggs. After adding the flour the batter will be fine even if it wasn’t 100% combined before. I hope that helps! – Julia

  • Tish


    Do you use the entire syrup? That seemed too much, as if it would make it soggy, so I just brushed it over enough to cover and then left it. My loaf pan was maybe a bit larger, so it was not as tall, hence it finished quicker (40mins). A lovely smelling, looking, and tasting cake! I am so happy I found this recipe! I was going to make a rose water glaze frosting, but not sure if it would work. Maybe another time.

  • Julia B


    I made this for the first time last night and it was delicious! My family loved it and I’m not an amazing baker so thumbs up! :)

  • Torrey

    I read that a bundt pan holds 12 cups, whereas a 9×5 inch loaf pan holds 8. Should I make a recipe and a half to convert to a bundt pan, or leave the amounts as is? Thanks!

    • Julia

      It depends on your bundt pan, I have a smaller one which holds about 9 cups so I don’t convert the recipe but if you have a larger one I would make a recipe and a half. Make sure to test with a skewer if the cake is done because it might take longer.

  • pk

    It says to invert the cake.. so does the lemon syrup go over the bottom of the cake, let cook.. then flip over to put the lemon icing on top?

    • Julia

      You invert the cake pan so the cake comes out of the pan. Then you put it on a cooling rack and the lemon syrup goes over the top of the cake.

  • Nancy


    I used Bundt pan…had dark coating on it so my cake came out dark on the bottom, grrrr!.I smelled it and quickly turned oven down. Besides that this lemon cake a dream!

  • Helen Lawrance


    The best lemon cake l have done and l think it was the buttermilk that did it. Be careful with the cooking temperature and time 160C fan oven and mine was ready in 40mins. Also icing measurements were wrong in my view, more icing sugar and not too much liquid, other than that it was beautiful ❤️

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