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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.

Two slices of moist lemon cake with lemon glazing lying on a white plate with a fork garnished with two lemon wedges. A wooden cutting board with the rest of the cake is in the background.

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!

A loaf of moist lemon cake on a wooden cutting board, line with parchment paper. Two slices have been cut off and are lying in front of it. Next to it, there\'s half a lemon and two lemon wedges next to it.

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.

A slice of moist lemon cake with lemon glazing lying on a white plate garnished with two lemon wedges. A fork has taken out a piece of it. There\'s a wooden cutting board and half a lemon in the background.

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.

Close-up of a loaf of moist lemon cake on a wooden cutting board, line with parchment paper. Two slices have been cut off and are lying in front of it. Next to it, there are two lemon wedges.

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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4.97 from 1476 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 Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10

Ingredients 

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

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9x5-inch (or 8x4-inch) loaf pan (see note).
  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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 incorporates air into the batter and makes the cake fluffy and tender
  • I recommend using fresh lemon juice but you can also use bottled lemon juice
  • This cake would also taste great with lime juice or orange juice
  • Some readers have commented that their cake stuck to the pan. If you're unsure how well your cake pans perform, line the pan with parchment paper. In my experience, this cake always comes out of the pan easily if it is greased well. I use these OXO cake pans (affiliate link).

Nutrition

Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 144mg | Potassium: 98mg | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 0.9mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1.1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!
Nutrition Facts
Moist Lemon Cake Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 306 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 58mg19%
Sodium 144mg6%
Potassium 98mg3%
Carbohydrates 49g16%
Sugar 34g38%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 350IU7%
Vitamin C 0.9mg1%
Calcium 48mg5%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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About Julia Foerster

Hi, I'm Julia! Born in Germany, I call Canada now my home and love to share my favorite dishes with you! Here you'll find hundreds of recipes, all made from scratch, with lots of tips and detailed step-by-step instructions.

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1,132 Comments

  1. Hi – cake sounds great.

    Can you include metric as well as imperial measurements? Your amounts are all imperial but your oven temp is both.

  2. I made this cake today and it’s amazingly good. My family loved it. I will definitely be making it again.

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe! One quick question, do I put the syrup on the top or the bottom of the loaf? Little confusing!

  4. Is the icing on this pipeable? I have someone who wants it as a number cake and I’m trying to decide if the icing would need to be poured or if I could pipe it? Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    I made this and it was delicious. The only thing I might point out to other bakers is that I didn’t use much of the syrup for the cake. There was a lot left over. But this was delicious and moist and I would definitely make this again.

  6. This was delicious! Definitely a keeper. It will be my go to lemon loaf. I used Meyer Lemons in it and wow! Thanks for such a great recipe!

    1. I believe you can add blueberries to this but I love how it tastes as it is. If you wanted to add blueberries you can lightly toss them in some flour before gently folding them into your prepared batter. This coating of flour will prevent all of your blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the lemon cake. Sorry this is so long but I hope it helps.

  7. If I don’t eat dairy, is there a way to substitute soy milk (with vinegar or lemon juice) for the buttermilk and oil for the butter?

    1. 5 stars
      i would use coconut oil or crisco instead of oil. and as far as the milk i’ve never had a problem subbing regular milk for oatmilk and i’ve tried it with a decent amount of recipes. i would assume soy is the same

    2. 5 stars
      I regularly use non-dairy milk with vinegar or lemon juice to make “buttermilk” and it works really well in recipes. I haven’t tried oil in this recipe, but if I use oil instead of butter in baking, I substitute at 3/4 the amount of butter.