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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 white plates.
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4.96 from 1276 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 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Baking
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10
Calories: 306kcal


For the lemon pound cake:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice about ½ lemon
  • ½ cup buttermilk see below for substitution

For the lemon syrup:

  • ¼ 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 (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.



  • If you don't have buttermilk, you can make your own by combining ½ 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).


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