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.
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.
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!
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.
Looking for more Lemon Dessert Recipes?
- Easy Lemon Cream Pie Recipe
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
- Easy Lemon Raspberry Cake
- Easy Lemon Curd Mousse
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.
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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Moist Lemon Cake Recipe
For the lemon pound cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, see below for substitution
For the lemon syrup:
- 1/4 cup lemon juice, about 1 lemon
- 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
For the lemon icing:
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9x5-inch (or 8x4-inch) loaf pan.
- In a medium 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 4-6 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 15 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.
- If you don't have buttermilk you can make your own by combining 1/2 cup of milk with 1.5 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes until it starts to curdle
- The longer you beat the sugar and butter, the better the result will be because this process incorporated air into the batter and make the cake fluffy and tender
- I recommend using fresh lemon juice but you can also bottled lemon juice
- This cake would also taste great with lime juice or orange juice
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One of the fluffiest and most delicious cakes ever. It was moist, soft, and bursting with flavour. Thank you!!!!!
Deliciously summery & easy to make, I probably should’ve thought through the number of bowls as doing the dishes was not so fun :,) Honestly I think I preferred this to a certain coffee shop’s lemon loaf, the lemon flavor was better!
AMAZING.. I followed the directions as written.. this is another loaf to serve friends.. just AMAZING.. thank you for posting
Perfectly moist and sour
Tan Swee Leng says
I replaced the buttermilk with 90g greek plain yogurt and 30g of milk, and cut the sugar to 190g. I zested two whole lemons instead too. Fabulous cake, moist, dense but not too thick, lemony and a tad sweet. The glaz didn’t come together for me, it isn’t opaque as shown here, but it still tasted good. Popped into the fridge, and it is still amazing when cold.
Barbara Burkham says
Have made it twice the first time made it into large muffins and needed all the lemon syrup. The second time in a loaf pan and used about half, a little too lemony.
The texture is awesome. I’m going to make the large muffins again as just loved the look of them. Charming and delish.
Definitely a light, fluffy crumb. It was indeed tangy — too tangy for me personally with the addition of the syrup. For me, it soaked into the upper layer only, so it was quite a strong flavor. If you like sour things, you’ll probably love this :) I myself would omit the syrup, and keep the crust that forms on top (which of course softens with the syrup).
I made these as muffins (baked 35 mins) and using your buttermilk substitute hack, and I had no problems. I also doubled the lemon zest, but it was still more tangy than fragrant. Overall a good recipe :)
I love this recipe. I came out so good and moist. But the icing came out crunchy, I don’t know why. Is there any solution for this ?
Julia Foerster says
This type of icing will dry on top of the cake and be crunchy. But if you feel like the texture itself is crunchy you can sieve your powdered sugar before using it.
Just made this recipe and it is currently in the oven, so far looks great but am a little worried that my milk didn’t curdle with the lemon juice, will that make a big difference?
Can i make this dairy free with non dairy butter and soya milk? Keeping the eggs and everything else?
Julia Foerster says
I haven’t tried that so I’m not sure. Let me know if you give it a try!
How much of the lemon syrup do you brush on? Do you use all of it or just brush a little bit on?
Julia Foerster says
I use all of it but you can use as much as you like.
Alda Underwood-Jackson says
It was absolutely fabulous! She was right about not necessarily needing all of the lemon juice in the icing in order to make it thick enough and not runny. I was also concerned about the buttermilk. I was expecting it to curdle up, but it did not. It did thicken up after adding the vinegar to the 2% milk. It’s my new dish to take to the party and sit back and watch the reactions. Thank you very much!!
Highly recommend using a 9″ spring pan for this recipe! I used one, with a circle of parchment on the bottom, and it came out like butter! Plus, you can put the cake back in the spring pan to put the icing on. Loved the recipe, I’ll definitely be making it again!
I’m making this cake for the second time. The flavor is great and the texture of this pound cake allows it to be sliced thick or thin. I prefer thin slices and it sliced perfectly. Nothing I would change. I’ve tried it with whole milk and vinegar and buttermilk. Either works equally well. 😊
Finally, a lemon loaf recipe that delivers!! I’ve tried a few and was ready to give up. This was delish, such an intense lemon flavour and the icing glaze is perfect on top. I’ll be trying my best not too make this too often. Thank you!
Akanksha Sinha says
Could this cake also be used as a layer cake if I baked it in round pans? Or would it be too moist to stay together?
Julia Foerster says
I haven’t tried it myself but other commenters wrote they used this recipe for a lemon layer cake and it worked well.
I tried baking in a bundt pan and thought I oiled it well enough but came out in pieces! But the taste was awesome…will definitely be making again probably just in a loaf pan :)