This lemon pound cake is easy, moist, and full of fresh lemon flavor! It's glazed with lemon icing & flavored with lemon juice & lemon peel!
This lemon pound cake is so easy to make and incredibly moist! It's full of fresh lemon flavor and glazed with an easy, two ingredient icing!
It's one of my favorite citrus cakes to make for any occasional, especially for Easter! The bright, citrus flavor from the lemon gives it the perfect tang while complementing the rich, buttery taste of this pound cake.
This is also a great cake to make during the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas! It can be made ahead and frozen or kept in the fridge for several days.
Why this recipe works
Making this lemon pound cake from scratch couldn't be any easier! The texture is light and fluffy, and it tastes incredibly buttery with a nice tang from the lemon juice and lemon zest.
In fact, this recipe was handed down to me from my mom, who's a retired pastry chef. The most important tip when making a good pound cake is to fully cream the butter and sugar. That's how you get a moist lemon pound cake with a light and fluffy texture.
When creaming the butter and sugar together, rub the mixture between your fingers. If you feel any sugar granules, it needs more time. There should be no visible sugar granules once you're done.
Next, I place thin slices of lemon on top of this pound cake for a beautiful presentation. It's finished with a lemon flavored glaze that's drizzled on top made with just powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice.
It's so delicious and so much better than any lemon pound cake I've had, including Starbucks' lemon pound cake. We make this for Easter every year!
Ingredients you'll need
- Lemons - pick lemons that are soft when gently squeezed as that indicates they have lots of juice. Use fresh lemon juice in this recipe and avoid pre-squeezed juice.
- Butter - I used unsalted butter for this recipe.
- Milk powder - this adds a creamier taste and texture while helping the cake brown due to the added sugars from the milk powder. You can leave this out if it's not available to you but if you can find it, I recommend it.
Step by step instructions
- Start with room temperature butter and cream the butter and sugar together. Take your time with this step as there should be no sugar granules present when you're finished. Take a bit and rub it between your fingers and check for any grittiness. There should be no visible sugar in the butter.
- Next add the eggs one at a time and wait for the eggs to be fully incorporated before adding the next one. Adding them too fast can result in the batter breaking apart due to the high amount of fat in the batter.
- Sift in the remaining dry ingredients and fold it in gently, being careful not to overwork the batter. Lastly, add in the lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Add the batter into a non-stick loaf pan and create a well in the center. This helps the pound cake rise during the bake. If desired, place very thin slices of lemon on top of the batter.
- Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for the first 10 minutes. This helps the cake achieve an 'oven spring', which is when it rapidly rises and achieves volume during the initial part of the bake.
- Then, lower the temperature to 338 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the pan once it's cool enough to handle and let it completely cool before adding the glaze. You should see a deep split on the top of your lemon pound cake.
- Mix together the powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice to create a glaze for the lemon pound cake. Once the lemon pound cake is completely cooled, use a small whisk or fork to drizzle the glaze on top of the cake.
- Let the glaze set completely before slicing and serving.
Expert tips & tricks
- Fully cream the butter and sugar. This is how you get a moist lemon pound cake with a light and fluffy texture.
- Baking at a higher initial temperature creates more rise and volume in the oven, called 'oven spring.'
- Creating a well in the batter before baking helps the cake rise.
- Using milk powder creates a fine, delicate crumb while helping the crust get a golden brown color.
You can add nuts, extracts, and different fruit to this recipe. Some suggestions are:
- Lemon pound cake with blueberries - coat the blueberries in flour and then add it to the batter at the same time as the lemon juice.
- Add nuts - walnuts, almonds, pecans
- Add extracts - add a teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract
Frequently asked questions
This recipe gives you a very moist, tender, and fluffy cake due to the amount of butter in the batter. The most important tip in getting a moist cake is not to overbake it. It's ready when it has a golden brown crust and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Yes, you can freeze lemon pound cake. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and then place it in an airtight freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months.
You can refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 to 5 days or freeze leftovers for up to 2 months.
Want more? Check out these recipes:
Moist Lemon Pound Cake with Glaze
- 1 ⅔ cup all purpose flour - - (200 grams); sifted
- ¾ cup sugar - - (155 grams)
- 1 ¼ teaspoon milk powder - - (4 grams); See Note 1
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder - - (5 grams)
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter - - (178 grams); softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large lemon - - zested and juiced (about 3 Tablespoons)
Glaze and Decoration
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 thin slices of lemon - - cut ⅛ inch thick for placing on top
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Add the softened butter and sugar to a stand mixer and cream it together using a paddle attachment on medium high speed. (Or use a hand mixer with a whisk attachment). Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved as there should be no granules. Take your time with this step.
- Add the eggs one at a time while mixing on medium low speed. Add the next egg only when the previous egg has been completely incorporated. This helps prevent any separation between the eggs and butter. Keep mixing until fluffy and the color turns ivory.
- Sift the flour, milk powder, and baking powder together. Add them into the batter and fold it in until it's combined.
- Next, gently fold in the zest and juice of one lemon, which should be about 3 to 4 Tablespoons of juice.
- Pour the batter into a loaf pan, and using a spatula create a well in the center. This will help the pound cake rise fully. (Optional: top with 3 to 4 thin slices of lemon, about ⅛ inch thick. See Note 2.) See Note 3 about whether to line or butter your pan.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for the first 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 338 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack.
Make the glaze
- Mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until you get a thick but runny glaze. Add more powdered sugar if it's too thin or add more lemon juice if it's too thick. Once the cake has completely cooled, drizzle the glaze on top using a whisk or fork.
✎ Recipe Notes
- Milk powder - this adds a creamier taste and tender texture while helping the cake brown due to the added sugars from the milk powder. You can leave this out if it's not available to you but if you can find it, I recommend it. It's what professional bakeries use to get better taste and texture.
- Optional lemon slices: If you choose to decorate the pound cake with lemon slices, slice them very thin as the peel can get tough while it bakes. Otherwise, you can opt to remove the peel.
- If using a non-coated metal pan, I recommend buttering or lining the insides of your pan with parchment paper. Nonstick pans should release the pound cake due to the amount of butter in the batter, but if it's an older pan, I recommend buttering or lining your pan.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.