Lemon Pound Cake

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Flavored with lemon zest and juice, and drizzled with a tart lemon glaze, this lemon pound cake is the ultimate dessert for lemon lovers.

Lemon Pound Cake

This lemon pound cake is the ultimate dessert for lemon lovers. Lemon zest and lemon juice are added to the batter, which lightly perfume the cake with lemon. Then, while the cake is still warm from the oven, I douse it with lemon syrup to further enhance the lemon flavor. Finally, I drizzle the cake with a tart lemon glaze, which adds a pop of intense lemon flavor to every bite.

The cake can be made in a Bundt pan or two 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pans. Before deciding which pans to use, please see the notes at the bottom of the recipe. The cake keeps well for days on the countertop, and it freezes well, too. Many thanks to my longtime reader Karen Tannenbaum for inspiring the recipe.

What You’ll Need To Make Lemon Pound Cake

ingredients for lemon pound cake

STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Start by zesting and juicing your lemons. And be sure you zest the lemons first, otherwise it will be impossible once they are juiced. The best tool for zesting is a rasp grater but any fine grater will do.
zesting lemonsCombine the flour, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. I always add dry ingredients in little piles so I don’t forget what I’ve already added.

dry ingredients in mixing bowlWhisk and set aside.

whisking dry ingredients

In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Set aside.

buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest in bowl

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

creaming butter and sugar

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

beating in the eggs

With the mixer on low speed, gradually alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the batter.

It’s important to add these ingredients gradually because the butter base of the cake does not absorb a lot of liquid easily. If you rush it, the batter may separate, which will cause your cake to be heavy.

mixed lemon pound cake batter in mixer

Transfer the cake batter to the prepared bundt pan and smooth with a rubber spatula. As you can see in the photo below, to prep the pan, I grease it with vegetable shortening and then dust with sugar. It works beautifully and leaves no floury residue on the outside of the cake.

lemon pound cake batter in prepared Bundt pan

Bake the cake for 65 to 75 minutes, until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.

baked lemon pound cake out of the oven

Let the cake cool in the pan for about ten minutes. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then stir in the lemon juice.

making lemon glaze

Invert the cake onto a wire rack. (Note: be sure to pop the cake out of the pan after ten minutes, as cooling too long in the pan will cause the cake to stick.) Slip a piece of parchment paper, aluminum foil, or paper towels underneath for easy clean-up.

cake inverted on rack

Gradually brush the cake with the syrup, allowing it to soak in as you go. Try not to rush — some of the syrup will drip off but you want the cake to absorb as much as possible.

brushing the syrup on the cake

Leave the cake to cool completely, about one hour, before glazing. To make the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir until well combined. Add more confectioners’ sugar or lemon juice if necessary to make a thick but pourable glaze.

how to make lemon glaze

Once the cake is cool, drizzle the syrup over top, letting it drip down the sides.

glazing the cake

Let the glaze set, then serve.

How To Freeze Lemon Pound Cake

The cake can be frozen without the glaze for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw the overnight on the countertop before serving. (Add the syrup before the cake is frozen and add the glaze after the cake is thawed.)

Lemon Pound Cake

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Lemon Pound Cake

Flavored with lemon zest and juice, and drizzled with a tart lemon glaze, this lemon pound cake is the ultimate dessert for lemon lovers.

Servings: One 10-inch Bundt cake, about 16 servings
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes, plus about 1 hour cooling time

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with a knife
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (low fat is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest, packed (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2-1/4 cups granulated sugar, plus more for the pan
  • 3 large eggs

For the Syrup

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or beaters), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, beat in one-quarter of the flour mixture, then one-third of the buttermilk mixture. Beat in another quarter of the flour, then another third of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat with another quarter of the flour and the remaining buttermilk mixture. Finally, beat in the remaining flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and give a quick mix to make sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
  6. (See note below before completing this step.) Thoroughly grease a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray or vegetable shortening, making sure to get into all the crevices. Coat the greased pan generously with granulated sugar, making sure the entire surface of the pan is evenly coated.
  7. Spoon the thick batter into the prepared Bundt pan and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a tester comes out clean.
  8. Set the cake on a cooling rack. Carefully run an offset spatula or table knife around the edges of your pan, between the pan and the cake, to loosen the cake from the pan (don't forget the center tube). Cool the cake in the pan for ten minutes. (Set a timer because if it stays in the pan too long, it may stick.)
  9. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  10. Invert the warm cake onto a rack. Slip a large piece of parchment paper, aluminum foil, or paper towels under the rack for easy clean-up. Gradually brush the hot syrup over the cake, letting it soak in (a little syrup will drip off, but try not to rush so that most of it is absorbed). Allow the cake to cool completely, about one hour.
  11. When the cake is cool, carefully transfer it to a serving platter. To make the glaze: in a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice. Add more confectioners' sugar or lemon juice as necessary to make a thick but pourable glaze (it should be a little thicker than you'd think, about the consistency of molasses or honey). Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.
  12. Note: You'll need 4 to 5 large lemons for the entire recipe.
  13. Note: As the recipe indicates, I grease the Bundt pan with vegetable shortening and then dust it with sugar. It has always worked beautifully for me, but a number of readers have mentioned problems with the cake sticking. If you’d prefer to use a different method, treat the pan by generously coating it with butter and then dusting it with flour, or use a nonstick baking spray with flour like Pam with Flour or Baker’s Joy. (Also, it's best not to use a Bundt pan with an intricate design for this cake, as they are more prone to sticking.) Another option (that is foolproof) is to use two 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pans instead of a Bundt pan. Loaf pans are much less prone to sticking, and you can line them with parchment paper for extra insurance. To prepare the loaf pans, spray them with nonstick baking spray, line the bottoms with parchment, and then spray them again. The bake time will be 50 to 60 minutes, and you will only need half of the soaking syrup.
  14. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cake can be frozen (without the glaze) for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving. (Add the syrup before the cake is frozen and add the glaze after the cake is thawed.)

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (16 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 313
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 59g
  • Sugar: 40g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Sodium: 143mg
  • Cholesterol: 51mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • Hi Jenn
    I am wondering if I can make this into mini Bundt cakes.

    • — fanny on January 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Fanny, You can make mini Bundts with this recipe; the baking time will be less so keep a close eye on them!

      • — Jenn on January 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • Mine stuck to the pan using granulated sugar for dusting. Anyone tried confectioner instead? Also, the texture was a fluffy cake instead of dense pound cake. Is it supposed to be like that? If not, what did I do wrong? Newbie here. Overall, it was yummy! 😋 Thought I would freeze some but no need! 😂 Thank you for the recipe.

    • — Grace on January 18, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Grace, Sorry to hear it stuck to the pan! I wouldn’t recommend using confectioners’ sugar instead. Take a peek at the note below the recipe for some alternatives to treating the pan with sugar. Although it’s a pound cake, the texture shouldn’t be terribly dense, so you may not have done anything wrong. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • By no means am I a cook. I received a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas and this is what I made first. Absolutely delicious!! Followed the instructions to the letter and it turned out great!! I am so proud of myself. Thank you for sharing!!

    • — Tomeka J on January 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • I just wanted to add that my daughter in law is on an absolute 100% gluten free diet. None ! I made this cake using the recipe with no alterations at all except ONE. I substituted corn flour for the wheat flour. We all thought it was done . . . and was just not quite . . . the very top (would have been brown) layer stayed in the cake pan . . . but the rest was well done and tasted fantastic. I’m sure with your expertise you could find a way around my small problem . . . but even with it’s problem . . . it is good . . . and we’ll eat it anyway. The picture of the cake with bright yellow parts . . . brown parts and the white glaze . . . it is beautiful. Saved a picture it for future use. Thanks for the recipe and placing it here.

    • — Dwight Cimino on January 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this today and it is amazing! I had a little leftover zest, so I sprinkled it on top after putting the glaze on.

    • — Rick Edwards on January 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi want to do the 2 loaf pans version. May I bake them at the same time?

    • — Ava on December 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yep — enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • I baked it a few times and have been getting orders for people for birthdays, etc. and I could go on. I follow it to the “t”, never changing a thing. It is perfect. However, I do go ahead and prepare about 8 lemons and freeze any excess juice and zest. Thank you.

    • — Mary Q on December 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I need to thank you for this recipe, I feel it’s long overdue. I have made it several times, and it NEVER fails to wow anyone that gets to enjoy the finished product. The texture of this cake is so light, it defies being an actual “pound cake” and I mean that as a compliment. It has the perfect amount of sweetness and superb lemon flavor.
    I made this recipe today to bring to Christmas breakfast at my in-laws but made a few tweaks, only because I wanted to make it more breakfast friendly, and it worked beautifully. I added dried blueberries and divided the batter into jumbo muffin cups. I had to adjust the temp of my oven (increased to 350) and of course, the baking time (about 45 mins) and they came out PERFECT!!
    I have saved quite a few of the recipes that you have posted and I hope that you continue to share more.
    Wishing you and yours good health and much happiness for the new year!

    • — Lisa on December 24, 2021
    • Reply
  • This lemon cake is the ultimate. I made it for my son’s birthday and then everyone else requested it for theirs too! I do a lot of baking and this is simply the best lemon cake I’ve made. Thanks for the recipe. Is this recipe included in your cookbook?

    • — Mindy on December 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like it! This is not in either of my cookbooks. I actually have a “stamp” in the bottom left corner of the main picture for any blog recipe that is also in one of the cookbooks. See the Peruvian Chicken as an example. Hope that helps and keeps you from printing anything unnecessarily! 😊

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • This recipe is brilliant! Always a crowd pleaser. My question for Jenn is can I somehow incorporate ricotta into this recipe? I need to make an Italian dessert but I adore this recipe. What’s your thought?

    • — Terrie Williams on December 14, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like it! I wouldn’t recommend using ricotta here — sorry! I believe there are a lot of lemon ricotta cake recipes online if you want to use one of those. I do have a cake that uses ricotta if you’re not married to lemon. You can check it out here. Hope you enjoy whatever you make! 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 14, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thank you! ❤️

        • — Terrie Williams on December 16, 2021
        • Reply
  • This is my go to pound cake. My family love it. I make mine in 2 lined loaf tins. Turns out great every time.

    • — JT on December 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can I make this recipe into cupcakes if yes how many?

    • — Fanny on December 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Fanny, cupcakes will work. I think it will make 24 cupcakes give or take. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2021
      • Reply
  • I am a baker. I tried this recipe a few weeks ago, and it stuck in the pan. I attempted it again today and really coated the pan. It still stuck. Not a fan!

    • — Renee on December 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • I followed this recipe exactly and it split. Only thing I did was add blueberries. Think that might have been the cause? Otherwise it tasted fantastic and I definitely will be trying this again. Still a 5 star from me.

    • — Amber McInvale on November 26, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Amber, Glad it tasted good. Can you clarify what you meant by split?

      • — Jenn on November 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • If you are going to put a negative comment like… It didn’t have enough lemon make a suggestion.
    I am not for negative comments without a solution.
    I made the cake and it turned out well. If you can make a better cake post it and don’t hide behind negative comments

    • — Karen on November 26, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Jenn,
      Can I make this into 2 layer 8 or 9-inch cake pans?
      What do you recommend?

      • — Fanny on December 6, 2021
      • Reply
      • Hi Fanny, I think you could make this into an 8-inch layer cake, but keep in mind that it will be more dense than your typical layer cake. The bake time will be shorter, so keep a close eye on it. Please LMK how it turns out!

        • — Jenn on December 7, 2021
        • Reply
    • Ditto! Karen I agree.

      • — SamPac on December 10, 2021
      • Reply

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