Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Iced Lemon Pound Cake

Bake my lemon strawberry crumb bars next.

Luscious and moist lemon pound cake with sweet lemon icing. Simple and satisfying, this tastes incredible with fresh berries! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

It’s that time of the year again.

And I’m not referring to all the healthy eating we’ve got on our minds each January. No no no. Rather, it’s time to whip out our citrus zesters because life’s popping up lemons everywhere.

Luscious and moist lemon pound cake with sweet lemon icing. Simple and satisfying, this tastes incredible with fresh berries! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This citrus season, I know exactly what you should make first: grapefruit Greek yogurt cake. And if grapefruit isn’t how you roll than iced lemon pound cake is a home run. I brought a 2nd loaf of this pound cake to our friends on Saturday. It was a dreary winter night for umbrellas and staying warm by the fire, but as we sat around the table sampling cookies and gobbling up this lemon cake, it somehow felt like spring wasn’t so far away. ♥

Spoiler alert: it is.

Basically, this sunshine sweet lemon pound cake is the dessert to serve at a dinner party in the dead of winter.

Lemons for lemon pound cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Batter for lemon pound cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Last year, I posted brown butter pound cake on my blog. In that post, I chatted about why I love baking pound cake but why it’s not really my top choice dessert to eat. Preparing it is, well, a piece of cake. Easy ingredients, pour into a loaf pan, and bake. The thing is– pound cake can taste sorta boring. That’s why I created a brown butter version. And why we’re looking at a lemon variation today.

Also, I have a lemon loaf recipe in my first cookbook. It’s one of my favorite recipes in the entire book. It’s a lighter-crumbed quick bread– soft and airy like birthday cake, but with big and bright lemon flavor that hits as soon as you take the first bite. Today’s recipe has the same wake-up-your-tastebuds flavor, but the texture is completely different. It’s unapologetically moist, very dense without tasting heavy, super rich, and has a smooth velvety crumb.

 

Batter for lemon pound cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Today’s recipe is a lot like the brown butter pound cake, but I cut back 1 egg to make room for lemon juice and a little sour cream. The sour cream went into test batch #2. The 2nd pound cake rose a little higher than the first and produced an even moister cake crumb, if that was even possible. The stars aligned– it was definitely the winner.

Note: if you don’t have sour cream, you can use milk instead. Keep in mind your pound cake won’t have a super tight crumb signature to pound cakes. The cake will have a lighter texture.

Luscious and moist lemon pound cake with sweet lemon icing. Simple and satisfying, this tastes incredible with fresh berries! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I believe the saying goes… when life hands you lemons, make lemonade glaze. The icing on top of the pound cake adds a whole other level of lemon flavor. It’s thick and will set after a couple hours, producing this mouthwatering sweet and zingy layer you’ll want to save for last. You’ll need some heavy cream (or half and half or milk), lemon juice, and confectioners’ sugar.

Serve the lemon pound cake alone or under a mountain of fresh berries (there’s our health food!)– or thaw some frozen berries out this time of year. Top with vanilla ice cream or even a drizzle of raspberry sauce over the icing. It’s all as happy as a summer picnic even if it’s freezing rain outside the window right now.

Spoiler alert: it is.

Luscious and moist lemon pound cake with sweet lemon icing. Simple and satisfying, this tastes incredible with fresh berries! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Iced Lemon Pound Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (187g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (172g; 1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • zest of 1 lemon1
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Lemon Icing

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (22ml) lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) heavy cream or milk

Directions:

  1. Lower the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on high speed in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, then beat in the sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and the vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients just until combined. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat for 10 seconds to rid any large lumps. Do not overmix.
  4. Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Pound cakes are dense and, therefore, take awhile in the oven. This takes about 48 minutes in my oven. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out *mostly* clean. A couple moist crumbs may remain.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool for 1 hour, then carefully remove from the loaf pan.
  6. Make the icing: Whisk all of the icing ingredients together and pour over slightly warm cake. Allow cake to cool completely before serving.
  7. Cover and store leftover cake at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Make ahead tip: You can make the pound cake ahead of time by freezing it. (I suggest icing it right before serving.) Bake it, cool it, then wrap it in aluminum foil and freeze the loaf as a whole. Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before topping with icing and serving. The cake freezes well up to 3 months.

Recipe Notes:

  1. I usually use zest from 1 and 1/2 lemons instead of just 1. I like a lot of lemon flavor and if you do too, zest more than just 1 lemon.

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SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Zester | Kitchenaid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Farberware Nonstick Loaf Pan | Kitchenaid Loaf Pan | Eat Dessert First Fork

Love lemon? Try making homemade lemon curd.

Here's how to make lemon curd the simple way-- only 5 ingredients needed and it comes together on the stove in 10 minutes! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pays me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Luscious and moist lemon pound cake with sweet lemon icing. Simple and satisfying, this tastes incredible with fresh berries! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
Luscious and moist lemon pound cake with sweet lemon icing. Simple and satisfying, this tastes incredible with fresh berries! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

185 comments

  1. Hi Sally, made this recipe and it was delicious! But now I would like to try it as a vanilla cake, can I leave out the lemon juice and zest and make this as a vanilla cake instead using vanilla beans? Thanks

  2. Hiya,
    This looks delicious! Lemon in anything is a winner with me 😉
    Can the sour cream be substituted for anything? I don’t often have it in the house. 
    Thanks! 

  3. Hi Sally, I tried this recipe but it wasn’t as lemony as I anticipated. I didn’t smell or taste the lemon. All the lemon flavoring was from the icing. Still I loved the over all flavor and texture of the cake.

    • Hi Tricia! Thank you so much for trying this lemon pound cake. If you ever want to make it again, you can add another Tbsp of juice and a little more zest then see how you like the flavor. Thank you for reporting back!

  4. Hi Sally. I have to tell you, I haven’t made this recipe, but I’ve made your Glazed Lemon Loaf out of “Sally’s Baking Addiction” and OMG is that recipe a HUGE HIT!!!! I’ve made it several times with fresh lemons off my tree and everybody raves about it, literally! It has more lemon juice and lemon zest in it than the pound cake recipe and it’s just heavenly!!! Thank you so much for all the amazing recipes you create. I LOVE that I can ALWAYS go to your website or one of my three Sally’s cookbooks for a recipe that I can depend on, sweet or savvory. If I’m using one of your recipes, I know I don’t have to worry about the end result. (Unless I mess it up, lol 😉 ) Anyway…THANK YOU SO MUCH and please keep up the great work. “Happy 2018!”

  5. If I wanted to make this as a Bundt cake would I have to increase the ingredients, or could I use the recipe as is?

  6. Hi
    I have to say this recipe is the best lemon cake ever. It’s absolutely delicious. I add more lemon as I love it and the sponge is so light and has a lovely consistency. My family adore it so I bake it regularly. Thank you for sharing and I highly recommend it. 

  7. Made the cake for my brother’s birthday he loved it and so did I!!!!

  8. This looks like a wonderful recipe and I would love to try it. I usually make pound cakes with cake flour rather than all-purpose. Do you think a 1:1 substitution of cake flour would work for this recipe, or should I alter the amount (or just stick with AP flour). Thanks!

    • Hi Rachel! You can definitely try it. I haven’t, so I’m not sure if I’d use a little more cake flour or keep it the same. I really love this lemon pound cake with all-purpose if you want to try it as written.

  9. I just baked this and it came out amazingly moist and delicious! The tartness is perfect and it oozing with lemon flavor without being too sour. Yummy!
    I have tried so many of your recipes and my goodies always turn out perfect. 
    Thank you!

  10. This recipe is fantastic! All my “taste-testers” claimed it was way better than Starbucks lemon loaf and the best lemon cake ever! I’ve had success with all of your recipes— thanks so much! People think I’m a great baker, but actually, I just find great recipes… 😉

  11. Hi Sally! 

    Can I replace some of the butter content for oil? If so, what would be an appropriate ratio that you recommend? 

    Thanks! 

    • Hey Karen! It’s worth a shot, but I haven’t tried it. I prefer a base of creamed butter/sugar in pound cake. Please let me know if you test anything.

  12. Yum! I used yogurt instead of sour cream (it was all I had), used 2 lemons of zest in the cake, and 1 lemon of zest in the icing. Everyone devoured it and they are begging me to make another one.

  13. Love pound cake and lemon so this will be a winner for me! I’d like to bake a key lime pound cake for my sister and wondered if I could substitute key lime juice (the one you use in your key lime pies) and lime zest for the lemon. Thanks for any advice!

  14. I made this last night and wasn’t as happy with it as I am with most of your recipes… I baked it for 40 minutes and my edges were burnt and the cake actually seemed dry. This happened for the carrot cake cupcakes I made for Easter last week (which was surprising considering the carrot and coconut in the recipe), too. I’m so bummed. I almost always bake things for less time than needed and I’m so surprised this happened twice this week with SBA recipes.

    That being said… lemon pound cake #2 is in the oven this morning. I added way more lemon zest, extra sour cream and will bake it at 325 for less time. Don’t worry0 I’m not discouraged yet! This cake looks too good to not try again… especially in April when it’s supposed to be spring and yet it’s snowing (again) in Ohio!

  15. Can your Lemon Loaf cake you mention be found on your website? I searched to no avail. I like your description of it being a lighter version.

  16. Can I use white whole wheat instead of all purpose flour to make your iced lemon pound cake.

    Thank you

  17. So good! I added some frozen blueberries, took a little longer to bake but otherwise complimented the cake quite well 🙂
    Thank you for always having recipes that I can rely on that they will turn out awesome! 
    Spring Greetings from Europe 🙂

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