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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Reviews & Comments

  • I made this for Easter. It was good but I wished it was moister. (Like starbucks lemon pound cake) The flavor was there but a little dry. I was thinking next time I might poke holes in the cake and double the syrup so it soaks in more. Any other tips to make it moister? I would make again with a few changes. Thanks

    • — Stacey on April 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Stacey, Sorry you found this to be a bit dry. Dryness is usually caused by measuring the flour incorrectly. Did you use the spoon and level method to measure the flour? Even a few extra ounces can make a big difference. This article/video explains it nicely. Please LMK if I can help in any other way.

      • — Jenn on April 5, 2021
      • Reply
      • Yes I used that method and fluffed the flour first. Next time I will weigh the flour and cook for a shorter amount of time. I cooked it for 65 min and the outside was pretty dark so maybe the cook time was too long. What about adding 2 eggs yolks for one of the whole eggs? Will that change the texture?

        • — Stacey on April 5, 2021
        • Reply
        • If the outside was dark, I suspect it was a bit overbaked so I;d pull it out a few minutes earlier next time. I wouldn’t bother with adding two egg yolks instead of one of the eggs but think it couldn’t hurt to make a little more syrup and, as you suggested, poke some holes in the cake for the syrup to go down into. Hope you find it more moist next time around!

          • — Jenn on April 7, 2021
          • Reply
  • Five stars is not enough for this amazing recipe! I made this for an early Easter dinner. The recipe is perfect without adding anything. So moist and just the right amount of lemon. My husband said I could make it anytime I want! Great job Jenn!

    • — Jana on April 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this for my mom’s birthday and it was a giant hit. My dad says it might be the best cake he’s ever had. I did jazz up the syrup a little with honey and vanilla bean but otherwise I followed the recipe. A+ cake

    • — Emma on April 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi, how early can I make this cake? How do I store if made early?
    Thanks heaps

    • — Seeds on March 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi, This keeps well for 3 to 4 days. (I’d store it in a cake dome on your counter.) Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 31, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi there,
    Would this recipe work in a 9″ bundt pan? Thanks!

    • — Shelley on March 25, 2021
    • Reply
    • I wouldn’t recommend it – I think it will be too small – sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 25, 2021
      • Reply
      • Hi! I’m confused . What size Bundt pan are you suggesting then? You mentioned loaf pans or Bundt pans to be used . Thank you!

        • — Maggi Sokoloff on March 29, 2021
        • Reply
        • Hi Maggi, You’ll need either a 10-inch bundt pan or two 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pans. Hope that clarifies!

          • — Jenn on March 30, 2021
          • Reply
  • Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I made it yesterday and it was amazing, moist, flavorful, simply delicious.

    I did have trouble with the glaze as it didn’t turn white as you show in the picture. I am not sure what went wrong. It gave the cake a shine. Any idea what the problem was?

    Thank you again.

    María

    • — María on March 24, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Maria, so glad you liked it! It sounds like your glaze wasn’t thick enough. If you make it again, I’d add more confectioners sugar until it gets to a texture similar to honey. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 26, 2021
      • Reply
  • Love the scale – do you think I could substitute blood orange juice and zest – then maybe a dark Chocolate glaze ?

    • — Robbie on March 16, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Robbie, I think those tweaks would work. I think lemon provides a bit more zing, but some readers have commented they’ve made this with orange and have been happy with the results. Please LMK what you think if you try it!

      • — Jenn on March 17, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thanks – trying it this weekend – will let you know

        • — Robbie Hardy on March 18, 2021
        • Reply
        • I did try it with Blood oranges and it is delicious – I made 2 smaller bundts from this recipe as always and it is sweeter so I put a dark chocolate ganache drizzle on top of one and it was amazing.. For the other I did a blood orange drizzle and it was also amazing but quite sweet.. its a nice twist, the cake & drizzle are pinkish from the blood orange so it is visually appealing.. thanks as always for such great recipes and pictures – you are amazing.

          • — Robbie on March 26, 2021
          • Reply
  • I’ve made it a few times – it’s delicious!

    • — Jill Sphar on March 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I made this recipe yesterday with store-bought egg replacer and turned out so good! I couldn’t believe how well it turned out without eggs. I usually stay away from egg recipes because they don’t turn good. But this Lemon cake was exceptional!!
    My daughter who has egg allergies now enjoying the lemon cake🥰
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!

    • — Y.M on March 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • Buttery texture, perfect density, and flavor. Made this for our family’s Sunday Dinner. Everyone enjoyed the cake. This will be my go-to recipe for Lemon Pound. Thanks for the recipe!

    • — Christian on March 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • Love this flawless, foolproof recipe and have made it repeatedly. Quick question, I have a lemon blueberry ‘project’ that I am going to use this recipe for. The project requires a layered cake so I was wondering how long would you bake this recipe in 2 x 8″ round pans? Also convection or regular ?

    • — Taylor on March 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Taylor, Glad you like this! You can bake this in two 8-inch round pans. Bake time will be shorter but I’m not sure by how much so keep a close eye on them. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on March 8, 2021
      • Reply
  • OMG! I can’t express this is the BEST Lemon Pound Cake I ever had!

    • — Brittany on March 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’m a beginner! So, maybe obvious question but I’m going to do the 2 loaf pan option since don’t have a Bundt pan. How do you put the glaze on at the end to make it look pretty? When I look at a picture of the lemon blueberry loaf it looks like you made a cut in the top of the loaf to let it soak in?

    • — Sarah Jackson on February 19, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Sarah, happy to help! For the glaze, just take spoonfuls of it and go back and forth across the top of the loaves letting it drip down the sides. The cut that you see in the lemon blueberry loaf just happened naturally during baking; I didn’t make it so that the glaze could soak in. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 22, 2021
      • Reply

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