Easy Lemon Pound Cake
Lemon lovers, this delicious citrus recipe is for you! Add this easy lemon pound cake to your springtime dessert menu. It’s SO scrumptious and perfectly soft and moist with a golden exterior and a tangy lemon glaze. Your families will LOVE this simple, yet elegant dessert recipe that’s perfect for a birthday, Easter, or any other special occasion.
my favorite spring dessert
The time has arrived for all things lemon! I don’t know what it is about springtime and the approach of Easter, but this time of year always gives me a hankering for lemon recipes of any kind, and particularly desserts. And this year, that means a delectable, from-scratch, but oh so easy lemon pound cake recipe!
When there’s a special celebration, it’s inevitable that someone in my family requests a lemon cake… usually my son. I’m happy to oblige because this is one of my very favorite desserts! The cake has the most perfect lemon flavor and the tangy lemon glaze really makes this treat beyond incredible! I love it even more than classic pound cake!
This lemon loaf has the perfect soft, tender crumb, plus sweet, slightly tart flavor from both fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Butter. I prefer to use unsalted butter in my desserts and then add in extra salt. If you only have salted butter available, simply leave out the 1 teaspoon of salt this recipe includes.
- Sugar. Regular granulated sugar is best, so as not to overwhelm the lemon flavor.
- Eggs. You’ll need four eggs to ensure the two lemon loaves bake properly.
- Lemon zest. The lemon zest is very important to the flavoring of this pound cake, so don’t skip it. Here’s the inexpensive zester (affiliate link) I use.
- Flour. This lemon cake calls for regular flour. I do not recommend using any other flour other than all-purpose flour.
- Baking essentials. We’re using baking powder, baking soda and salt to ensure the cake bakes up with the perfect rise and texture.
- Lemon juice. I recommend freshly squeezed lemon juice for this recipe. Lemon concentrate, is too potent and may have an overly sour taste.
- Buttermilk. Adds moisture and richness to the lemon cake.
- Lemon extract. For even more bright lemon flavor!
- Glaze. Powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice is all you need for a bright and flavorful glaze.
what we love about this recipe
It’s hard to beat a good pound cake, but sometimes it’s not so simple to create one. Luckily, today’s recipe is beyond good… it’s downright delicious. Annnnd it’s easy to make, to boot!
This classic lemon pound cake gets its soft, dense texture and moist crumb from a combo of butter, buttermilk, and four eggs. It’s perfectly sweet with a wonderfully crisp, golden crust. And the added touch of a lemon glaze topping, is simply divine.
To put the lemon in this lemon pound cake, I added lemon zest, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, and a splash of pure lemon extract. And then, of course, there had to be a puckery-sweet glaze to put everything over the lemon-lovin’ top, which was as simple as stirring more fresh lemon juice into powdered sugar.
how to make a lemon-flavored loaf cake
This recipe makes two loaves, so it’s the perfect dessert to serve a crowd. You could also freeze the extra one for later or give it to a friend! I recommend using either a hand or stand electric mixer, so that you can beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. I love this hand mixer or this KitchenAid mixer, (affiliate links) which is well worth the investment!
- Prep. Start the recipe by preheating the oven and preparing your loaf pans.
- Wet ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and the lemon zest too.
- Dry ingredients. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Stir together all ingredients together. In another bowl, combine the lemon juice, buttermilk, and lemon extract. Gradually add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternatively to the batter, stirring as you go, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Bake. Divide and pour batter into the loaf pans and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean. My cake was cooked completely in 50 minutes.
- Cool cake. Allow the lemon cakes to cool for at least 10 minutes and then remove them from the pans. Place them on a wire rack set over a tray or sheet pan.
- Make the glaze. Mix the glaze and while the cakes are still slightly warm, pour glaze over the tops and allow it to drizzle down the sides. Cool completely and then slice and enjoy.
Once the glaze has completely hardened, cover in plastic wrap and store leftover cake for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
can you freeze this cake
This lemon pound cake freezes beautifully for up to 3 months! Once the cake has completely cooled, wrap the entire loaf in aluminum foil and then place it in a freezer-safe baggie. When you’re ready to enjoy the cake, allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before adding the glaze and serving.
tips for recipe success
This lemon pound cake is really very easy to whip up, but here are a few tips to make sure your cake is perfect every time!
Buttermilk makes this cake impossibly tender!
You can always count on me to make little improvements to any recipe, and this one is no exception. I swapped out regular milk for thick, tangy buttermilk, the cultured kind you can find in your regular grocery store. I love the stuff – it makes such a difference in so many recipes. Buttermilk is acidic, and actually tenderizes cakes, but also adds lots of flavor.
If you don’t have buttermilk, here’s how to make your own buttermilk.
- Add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to a cup of whole milk. Let sit for 15 minutes before using. While this doesn’t result in the thick, cultured-style buttermilk you find at the grocery store, it works in a pinch.
Use a premium butter!
- I highly recommend a premium, super high-quality butter, like Plugrá. Plugrá is specially made for optimal baking performance, with the right balance of moisture and fat for fluffy rising cakes.
Use ingredients at room temperature.
- Using room temperature dairy products and eggs when baking pound cake (and most baked goods) gives them the best texture and ensures you’ll get that light, airy, fluffy texture. The butter will also whip together with the sugar more easily.
- Sit out: Allow the butter, eggs and buttermilk to sit out on the counter for about 1-2 hours before beginning your recipe. The amount of time depends on the weather and how cool you keep your kitchen.
- Test it: To test the butter, poke it with your finger. Your finger should make an indent without sinking or sliding down into the butter. The butter should not be shiny or greasy. It will be cool to touch, not warm.
Measuring ingredients properly is imperative.
- When measuring flour, use the “spoon & level” method. Do not scoop the flour out of the container/bag with your measuring cup. Scoop the flour and you could end up with 150% of the correct measurement. Rather, using a spoon, scoop the flour into the measuring cup. Do not pack the flour down and do not tap the measuring cup– both cause the flour to settle in the cup. After you’ve spooned the flour into the measuring cup, use the back of a knife to level off the top of the measuring cup.
Use fresh baking powder & baking soda.
- Shake up the baking powder and baking soda container a bit. Using a measuring spoon, lightly scoop out of the container. Use a knife to level it off. Baking powder and baking soda expire after 6 months, though I find they begin losing strength after 3 months. Write the date on the container so you know when to replace.
Don’t overmix ingredients.
- Once you start adding in the flour, you don’t want to overmix the batter. This may cause the cake to become too dense and have a tough texture. Mix just until there are no more pockets of flour. And maybe a few more seconds to rid any big lumps.
Grease the pans properly.
- Some people swear by a no-stick baking spray that contains flour, but I think the safest way to ensure that your pound cake will release from the pan is to very generously grease and flour the pan. Once my pound cakes cooled for 10 minutes, I ran a butter knife around the edges and then keeping one hand over the top of the cake, I turned the pan over and let the cake gently fall out into my hand. My pound cake came out of the pan without a problem.
This sweet treat is the perfect antidote for any springtime lemon cravings. The whole family goes crazy over this dessert too! Landen, my son, loves this lemon cake so much that he has made the complete recipe himself! Madelyn, my youngest daughter, (who’s not the biggest fan of lemon desserts) prefers her cake without the glaze. Everyone who tries this pound cake recipe, simply cannot get enough. So, by popular demand, this loaf recipe will definitely be on my Easter menu!
Don’t feel like you have to stop at Easter, though. How lucky would the mamas in your life feel if you presented them with a lovely lemon pound cake for Mother’s Day? You could even skip the lemon glaze and deck this cake out in red, white, and blue — with whipped cream and fresh berries — for Memorial Day or the Fourth of July. And it is definitely a hit at any cookout or pool party or BBQ all summer long!
If you try this easy pound cake recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Easy Lemon Pound Cake
- 1 cup (8 ounces, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup grated lemon zest, 3 to 4 large lemons*
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
For the glaze:
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.
- Cream the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine lemon juice, buttermilk, and lemon extract. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, stirring as you go, beginning and ending with the flour.
- Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean. Mine took 50 minutes to completely cook.
- When the cakes are done, allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan.
- For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing well until smooth. While cakes are still slightly warm, pour glaze over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides. Allow cakes to cool completely before slicing.
- Cover and store leftover cake at room temperature for up to 3 days or up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
This lemon pound cake recipe was originally published April 2019. It was republished January 2021 with new content and updated photos.