Partially sliced lemon pound cake on a plate.

Lemon Pound Cake

This lemon pound cake is the ultimate dessert for lemon lovers.

Servings: Two 8½ x 4½-inch loaves, about 16 servings
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour 25 Minutes, plus about 1 hour cooling time


For the Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with a knife
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (low-fat is fine) (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) grated lemon zest (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs

For the Syrup

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

For the Glaze

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


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Spray two 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line the long sides of the pans with parchment paper “slings” and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray again.
  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. Divide the thick batter into the prepared pans and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the top is golden and a tester comes out clean.
  7. Set the cakes on a cooling rack, and cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife along the unlined sides of the pans to loosen the cake from the pan. Using the parchment slings, lift the cakes out of the pans and place onto the rack, leaving the parchment paper in place under the cakes. Let cool for about 1 hour.
  8. When the cakes are almost cool, 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.
  9. When the cakes are cool, carefully transfer them to serving platters.
  10. Gradually brush the warm syrup all over the cakes, including the sides, letting it soak in as you go.
  11. 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. Let the cakes sit for about one hour to allow the glaze to set before serving.
  12. Note: If you’d like to make your own buttermilk, check out the easy method here.
  13. Note: You'll need 4 to 5 large lemons for the entire recipe.
  14. Make-Ahead/Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cakes can be made up to 1 day ahead of time and stored in a cake dome or airtight container at room temperature. They can also be frozen (without the final glaze) for up to 3 months. After they are completely cooled, double-wrap securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place them 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

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  • 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