My go-to lemon loaf recipe for years! This delicious Glazed Lemon Pound Cake Loaf is always perfectly moist and lemony!
I have been making this same lemon loaf for years. It’s my “go to” when only lemon loaf will do. The fact that I’ve never posted it to this point is simply my belief that maybe the internet didn’t really need another lemon loaf recipe. But what the heck. It’s good, it’s tried and tested (many, many times!) and for anyone who has yet to find their “go to” lemon loaf, it’s definitely worthy of consideration.
I suppose lemon loaf is somewhat subjective. What makes this loaf a winner for me is the lovely texture (not too light, not too dense), the perfect level of moistness (not too oily, never dry) and just the right amount of lemon. With this one, the hit of lemon actually comes more from the glaze than the cake, though there is obviously some lemon in the cake. But it’s in the lemon glaze that the the perfect balance is struck, so definitely don’t skip that.
The final point I love about this loaf, is that it needs only 1 large lemon and pretty much typical pantry and fridge items to make it. That means I’m always stocked to make this one, which has come in handy many times when I needed a little something special to share or gift.
Featured Review: I made this lemon pound loaf today and it tastes incredible! I was worried that it wouldn’t have much lemon taste because of the small amount of lemon juice that goes into the batter. There was no need to worry though, the lemon taste is the star of this loaf. This recipe is pure perfection! – Krista
When it comes to baking loaves like this one, there is really just one secret to success. Follow the instructions :) Take it from someone who has (in the past :) skipped certain instructions like “at room temperature”, “whisk together well in a separate bowl” and “add alternately” … yet had what I considered (at the time) to be a reasonably fine result.
It was only when I started following those instructions that I discovered the reason they were there. There’s fine and then there’s great. I learned I prefer the great, so I am willing to be a bit more organized and patient. It’s a small price to pay for great lemon loaf :)
So the moral of that story … be sure to take your eggs, butter and sour cream out of the fridge 30 minutes before you start baking. Be sure to combine the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a separate large bowl and whisk it together well. You will be rewarded!
This lemon loaf freezes beautifully. Freeze it whole in a freezer bag, or slice it first and freeze it. Slicing first means you can grab a slice when you feel the need, instead of trying to cut/thaw a slice from a frozen whole loaf. To thaw a slice, simply set a frozen slice on the counter on a piece of paper towel and it will be ready to enjoy in 20-30 minutes. To thaw a whole loaf, set on the counter inside the sealed freezer bag until thawed.
Get the Recipe: Glazed Lemon Pound Cake Loaf
- 1/2 cup (113 g) butter, salted, or unsalted, at room temperature
- 1 cup (190 g) white sugar
- 3 large (3 large) eggs, at room temperature
- 2 Tbsp (2 Tbsp) lemon zest, from about 1 large lemon
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
- 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp (1/4 tsp) table salt
- 1/4 tsp (1/4 tsp) baking soda
- 1/4 tsp (1/4 tsp) baking powder
- 1/3 cup (75 ml) sour cream, removed from fridge 15 minutes before using
- 1/2 cup (70 g) icing/confectioners' sugar
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice, plus more, as needed
- Preheat oven to 325 F. (not convection bake). Spray an 8x4-inch loaf pan with baking spray and line with a piece of parchment paper that covers the bottom and long sides, with an inch or so extending past the top of the pan (these will be the "handles" to lift the loaf out of the pan).
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar at medium speed (about "4 or 5" on a KitchenAid mixer) until light coloured and fluffy. (Don't skimp on this process. It should cream about 3 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time and beat in well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed. Beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together well the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. With mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream, starting with 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the sour cream, 1/3 of the flour, last of the sour cream, then finally the last of the flour.
- Scrape into prepared 8x4-inch loaf pan and level batter. Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife along the short ends and use the parchment paper edges to lift and remove from pan. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.
- While loaf is still a little warm, prepare the glaze by stirring together all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl, adding enough lemon juice to make a pourable glaze. Place a baking tray under the cooling rack to catch any drips and spoon glaze slowly over top of loaf, allowing it to drip down the sides a bit. Cool completely, then slice and enjoy.
LOVED IT! I didn’t have lemon zest and did 3 tablespoons of organic lemon juice and it doesn’t taste very lemony- so if you don’t have the zest use more lemon juice than me!
Glad you enjoyed it, Eden :) Just a word of caution in that you can’t really just put in more lemon juice to replace the flavour from the lemon zest, as it will add too much liquid to the batter and affect the finished texture of the loaf. Lemon extract would be a better option if zest is not available.
Hi Jennifer, Great recipe! Besides making this loaf with my family, I have also been giving it as a hostess gift.
I really like the texture of the cake and would like to use it to make cup cakes
Will this recipe work for cup cakes? If so, what should the bake time be?
Hi Liz and so glad you are enjoying it! As for cupcakes, I’d just be guessing, as I haven’t tried it, but cupcakes are generally baked in the 20-25 minute range. Of course, it depends on the size, so watch carefully and check often :)
Can i skip the vanilla? Or substitute it with vanilla sugar or something?
Sure. You can substitute a couple of teaspoons of the regular sugar with vanilla sugar, if you like.
Literally, just put it in the oven….the batter itself uncooked is so delicious! I followed the recipe almost exactly, the only thing I did differently was to add LorAnn Lemon Emulsion 1.5 teaspoons.
My first time using it…hoping for the best. Thank you for the recipe!
Enjoy, JP! Thanks :)
I did! It was soooo good! Am making it again now….but going to use my new bundtlette pan…this is a “keeper” recipe….
Has anyone added blueberries to this??? I want to try!!
Hope you are doing well.
I made this pound cake and just from the LITTLE corner piece I got to try it was the BEST very flavorful.
The pound cake was only done for 20 minutes and after i cut that one corner my middle daughter ate the whole thing!
That just lets me know that your recipes are keepers!
Keep them coming! Thank you!
Hi Jeannette and doing great here, thanks! So glad you all enjoyed the loaf (your daughter especially ;)
I have made this recipe many times and am making again today at the request of my husband. Definitely one of his favorites! So easy and delicious every time!
So glad to hear, Lya :) Thanks so much!
This recipe is amazing, everyone try it now. My family and I loved it it was finished before I could even get a second piece. I tweaked the recipe a little bit, by browning the butter so it can add a nutty flavor to the loaf. Thank you for the amazing recipe.
So glad you enjoyed it, Danielle :) Thanks so much!
So so so delicious! Turned out PERFECT my first time. My very picky toddler loves this and is asking me to make more today. Thankyou so much for a awesome recipe!!👍👍
So glad to hear, Leanne :) Thanks so much!
This was my first time making any type of lemon cake/bread. I followed the recipe exactly, except I was little short on the 2 tbsp of lemon zest. Baked for 1 hour and it tasted great! The lemon flavour was just right. Thanks for a great recipe.
So glad to hear, Virginia :) Thanks so much!
I have an almost full carton of buttermilk to use up. Could I substitute it for the sour cream in this recipe, or will it affect the moistness too much?
If not, do you have any good recipes to use up that buttermilk – besides banana bread? (Since that it what I used it for in the first place!)
Hi Julia, I don’t think this loaf is the best use for that buttermilk. Buttermilk is very low in butterfat and so yes, it will affect both the moisture and the texture of the loaf.
As for what to do with it, my favourite is buttermilk pancakes. You can make them, then freeze them to enjoy anytime! Also, it’s great as a marinade for fried chicken. Sorry, that’s all I’ve got :)
This loaf turned out great! Was looking for something similar to the Starbucks loaf so I can make it at home and save money. So good. I used a high grade lemon essential oil instead of zest like I normally do with recipes that call for zest. Very moist and flavourful. Freezes great!
So glad to hear, Amanda :) Thanks so much!
A great recipe…I made my cousin in Gilroy, California two loafs last night. I am surprising her. Perfect loaf! Will mail out tomorrow….I had made her one last year and she loved it! So moist and lemony 🍋🍋🍋
So glad you are enjoying it, Yolanda :) Thanks so much!
Followed instructions to a T, except I substituted yoghurt for sour cream ( not available here…. Great result ! Crunchy crust and good moisture. Had to control myself from overindulging after the first bite. Definitely my new GoTo lemon pound cake ! Thank you !
So glad to hear :) Thanks so much!
Can I substitute yogurt for the sour cream?
Hi Carol, in a pinch you can, but understand that yogurt is much lower fat than sour cream, so the resulting loaf will reflect that in terms of moistness and texture.
Please don’t cringe, but can I use bottled lemon juice for this recipe and skip the lemon zest? Just had to ask.
No cringing, Dena. Sometimes we’ve got to make do with what we have :) So yes, you can use the bottled juice in place of the fresh lemon juice. Obviously, the bottled juice won’t have the same bright flavour, but will work just fine. Don’t be tempted to put more juice in to replace the missing zest though, as you can easily alter the liquid balance in the loaf, which might produce undesirable results. So overall, it will likely be a little less lemony, but will still be a perfectly enjoyable loaf!
This is an amazing cake! It baked beautifully, has a lot of lemon flavor and the glaze just makes it even more amazing. I have tried so many different lemon pound cake recipes and this one is by far, my very favorite! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!
So glad you enjoyed it, Bree :) Thanks so much!
I have made this recipe 3 times. The loaf itself is so good, I don’t find the need to use the glaze at all.
So glad you are enjoying it, Rachel :) Thanks so much!
Whenever I want to try baking something new, it’s always overwhelming choosing between all the recipes I find on google😭 BUT GIRL, I’m so glad I chose this one. I had to bake this pound cake two days in a row because my family finished them up so quick. I buttered my loaf pan (w/ non-salted butter) then sprinkled pink salt—giving the edges a nice crisp…the end pieces always get eaten first lol. I also added salt into the frosting, because it brings out the flavours; the salt & lemon juice work well to counteract the sweetness of the powdered sugar😊
Sounds lovely, Elaine. So glad you enjoyed it :) Thanks so much!
I’d like to make in advance and freeze. Can I glaze and then freeze or is it better to glaze after thawing?
Hi Kellie, while you can freeze it with the glaze on, I always prefer to glaze after thawing myself.
Reduced sugar by 1/4. Baked roughly an hour. Slightly dry on outer pieces, the rest was perfect. Added extra lemon juice to batter and icing for more citrus flavor. Tasty cake to pair with tea!
So glad you enjoyed it, Rose :) Thanks so much!
Hi Jennifer! This is very tasty. I made this twice, and followed the recipe to the t’s. Both time I baked for 60 minutes, and it came out not cooked through – it’s from the top down 1″, in the middle that’s the highest point of the cake. I use glass pan. What would you suggest?
Hi Cindy, generally when you use a glass pan, you would reduce the temperature by 25 degrees F. Did you do that at all? If not, did you test the loaf before taking it out? Did it test clean?
Hi. My cake looked pretty but it’s not really moist. What did I do wrong?
Hi Doris, if your cake is dry or dry-ish, the most common cause is over-baking. It may have tested clean, but it may also have tested clean 3 or 4 minutes earlier. Even just a few minutes of over-baking can dry a cake. Baking time is never exact, as pans and ovens vary, so it’s probably just getting to it a little earlier and testing until it just tests done. If you don’t think that’s the issue, this issue can often be traced back to ingredient substitution – using yogurt instead of sour cream, using low-fat sour cream (or yogurt) or reducing the sugar amount.
I just want to say thank you for this recipe. I made it a few days ago and it was thoroughly enjoyed in my home.
So glad you all enjoyed it, Tosin :) Thanks so much!
I have a guest who is celiac. Can I use gluten free flour for this recipe?
Hi Nancy, I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour. I really don’t know if it would work with a straight out swap for GF flour. It is rarely that simple, unfortunately. Maybe someone has tried it and can weigh in for you.
Hi Jennifer and Nancy.
Excellent recipe, Jennifer. Thank you.
Nancy, I made this recipe gluten-free for my spouse. I have been baking gluten-free for years. I used all purpose gluten free flour and about an eighth of a teaspoon more baking powder then what it calls for. That was so it could rise a little more. It turned out great. Definitely follow the steps of the recipe.
Thanks so much for weighing in :) I am out of my element with gluten-free baking. Thanks so much!