Lemon Pound Cake (Lemon Loaf)
This easy iced Lemon Pound Cake is made with sour cream and fresh lemon zest for a moist lemon loaf perfect for spring brunch and summer potlucks.
There are so many things I love about this lemon pound cake. It’s a moist, tender cake bursting with a citrusy lemon flavor. It’s my copycat version of the Starbucks Lemon Loaf and I think it’s pretty amazing.
The lemon glaze is just plain heavenly, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit to doing an extra taste test before frosting my cake. Trust me, when you taste that lemony sweetness, you are going to want to do the same thing.
If you want to go a little less sweet, you can also skip the glaze and top it with fresh summer strawberries and whipped instead.
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Ingredients You’ll Need
- Butter – Make sure your butter is room temperature so it creams together with the sugar easier.
- Sugar – white granular sugar is essential for a pound cake.
- Sour cream – this creamy addition adds a little bit of tartness to balance out the sweet.
- Salt – a pinch of salt boosts the flavor.
- Baking soda – This gives the cake its rise.
- Flour – all-purpose flour is the main ingredient of this delicious pound cake.
- Eggs – Eggs bind all of the ingredients together and help the cake rise.
- Flavoring – Vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon zest gives this cake its signature lemon flavor.
- Powdered sugar – You’ll mix this with the milk to make a delicious icing.
- Whole Milk or Heavy Cream – We suggest whole milk or heavy cream because it makes a nice white icing but you can use skim milk or water in a pinch.
Why Is It Called A Pound Cake?
In Europe, dating back to the 18th century, they made a delightful cake that was called a pound cake. The reason they referred to it as a pound cake is because they used one pound of each of the ingredients that were added to the cake. Eggs, butter, flour, and sugar were the original ingredients.
Over the years, the ingredients and flavors have changed, but the newer pound cakes still have that same classic texture.
How Do You Make Pound Cake From Scratch?
Step 1 – Cream the butter. In the bowl of your stand mixer cream butter and sugar together.
Step 2 – Sour Cream. Add sour cream to the butter mixture and combine thoroughly.
Step 3 – Dry ingredients. In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda.
Step 4 – Bring it together. Slowly add the flour to the sour cream mixture adding ½ cup at a time alternating it with the eggs until all of the flour and eggs have been incorporated.
Step 5 – Add the flavor. Add vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon zest.
Step 6- Prepare the pan. Prepare a loaf pan by greasing and flouring it and lining it with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom.
Step 7 – Bake. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes – 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Step 8 – Cool. Let cake cool completely on a cooling rack, then spread the icing over the cake and place it in the refrigerator to firm up.
How Long Do You Beat Pound Cake Batter?
To get a nice tender cake that isn’t too dense you want to make sure you don’t overmix your batter. This is why we break the mixing down into separate parts so you can mix some ingredients longer without effecting the results.
Start by creaming together the butter and sugar. Getting these two ingredients well combined might take a little extra work so we mix them first. Go ahead and mix them as long as it takes to get them well mixed then add the sour cream and continue mixing until it is well incorporated.
The delicate part begins when you add the flour mixture and eggs. Alternate between the two mixing after each addition until the yellow of the egg begins to blend in.
Add the vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest and continue to mix for about 1 minute on medium low and then stop.
Do I Have To Use Sour Cream For This Lemon Pound Cake?
No, there are some substitutes you can consider using instead of sour cream if you want. Before I get to those, I want to take a second to explain why sour cream is so amazing in this moist lemon pound cake.
Due to the high fat content in sour cream, it helps your cake be so moist and dense, just like a pound cake should be. When the sour cream and the baking soda get together, they activate, which results in a beautiful and tender crumb that we can’t get enough of.
Okay, now onto the alternatives for using sour cream. Keep in mind anytime you substitute sour cream in baked goods; it is going to adjust the texture and flavor at least some. This is completely fine, but I wanted you to know.
- Yogurt – Either plain or Greek is the best substitute I have found. It’s going to give you the closest result to regular sour cream.
- Cottage Cheese – I know it sounds a little strange to add cottage cheese to a cake, but it really works. You will need to add the curds to the food processor and blend it, so it’s not as chunky of texture first.
- Buttermilk – You can use buttermilk in many baked goods, and it doesn’t really change the flavor because it’s similar to sour cream. It’s a lovely alternative.
Could I Substitute Different Fruit?
Yes, absolutely! If you are feeding a crowd and want a variety of pound cakes, you can, for sure, substitute the lemon for any citrus fruit. I would stick with lime or orange because they make both of them in an extract. Then you can use the zest off of the fruit. This is an excellent way to change the flavor but stick to using the basic recipe as the base.
An orange loaf cake is delicious, we even have this Cranberry Orange Bread that is perfect for Christmas!
Can This Lemon Loaf Cake Be Made Into Cupcakes?
Yes, indeed, you can easily make this pound cake recipe into cupcakes. You can even make them into miniature bundt cakes too. When baking the pound cake in a loaf pan, it takes somewhere between 40 minutes all the way up to an hour. However, when you are making something smaller like cupcakes or mini bundt cakes, you don’t need to bake them for near as long. I would start checking them at around 15 minutes. They may take as long as 25 minutes, but you want to be sure not to overbake them. If you do bake the cupcakes for too long, they will become dry and lose their appeal.
How Do You Store Homemade Pound Cake?
Pound cake is pretty versatile when it comes to storage options. You can leave it at room temperature, and it will last 1-2 days. Or if you’d rather, you can put it in the fridge, and it will last anywhere from 4-5 days. Surprisingly, you can even freeze the lemon cake for up to 6 months.
The biggest key to storing the lemon pound cake loaf is properly wrapping it up. Using heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap to wrap it first is a great idea. Then you can place either pieces of the pound cake or the entire thing in a storage container. It’s vital that you keep it airtight. You never want to keep it near heat or sunlight, or it will go bad sooner.
To serve the lemon cake after it’s been frozen, simply set it on the counter to allow it to defrost. Then once it’s defrosted, it will be ready to eat.
Looking for More Easy Cake Recipes?
- Sour Cream Pound Cake
- Sock It to Me Cake
- Pina Colada Cake Bites
- Yellow Butter Cake Recipe
- The Best Coconut Cake
- No Bake Strawberry Summer Cake
- Hummingbird Cake
- Red White and Blue Zinger Cake
- More Cake Recipes…
Lemon Pound Cake
- 1 cup Butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cup Sugar
- ½ cup Sour cream
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 ½ cup Flour
- 3 large Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 tablespoon Lemon extract
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoon Butter, room temperature
- 1½ cup Powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoon Whole Milk or Heavy Cream
- 1 teaspoon Lemon extract
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer cream butter and sugar together.
- Add sour cream to the butter mixture and combine thoroughly.
- In a small bowl mix together flour, salt, and baking soda.
- Slowly add the flour to the sour cream mixture adding ½ cup at a time alternating it with the eggs until all of the flour and eggs have been incorporated.
- Add vanilla, lemon extract and lemon zest.
- Prepare a loaf pan by greasing and flouring it and lining it with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 minute – 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let cake cool completely on a cooling rack then spread or drizzle the icing over the cake and place it in the refrigerator to firm up.
- Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.