Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Iced Lemon Pound Cake

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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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

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

134 comments

  1. Sally, could you suggest a smaller size baking pan and how to determine the amount of batter in the pan, for the lemon pound cake? I’d like to take 6 smaller loaves to a women’s guild meeting. They look wonderful, I can’t wait to make them.
    (A temperature and baking time would also be greatly appreciated for smaller pound cakes.)
    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Andrea! It’s hard to say without knowing the size of the pans you are using– what are the dimensions of the smaller loaf pans? In my experience, breads baked in mini loaf pans like these take about 25 minutes to bake.

  2. How did you read my mind? I was thinking of making a lemon loaf like the one at Starbucks. This recipe will do the trick! Thanks Sally!!

  3. Dear Sally,
    I’m love making your chewy fudgy homemade brownies! I would like to know if we can replace sour cream with normal cream or is their any other substitute for it in this recipe? Thanks

    • Could try greek yogurt for a sour cream substitute? It might add more tang. I thinking regular cream would make this a little dense? Sally, am I wrong?

      • Greek yogurt would be fine, but the pound cake may taste a little more dense than with sour cream. I don’t suggest actual cream. Milk works, but the cake will have a lighter crumb.

  4. I made this tonight and it was super tasty! 48 minutes to the second, also. I want to try substituting goat cheese or something a little tangy in for the sour cream but the derault recipe is perfect and easy to follow. Would be lovely with a little lavender essential oil spritzed on top too.

  5. Lemon in dessert is one of my absolute favourite things! This loaf looks amazing and just what I need to brighten my day after a huge snowfall…..and maybe a cup (or two) of coffee, lol 😀

  6. Yummy! Going to make today-it will brighten up this dreary day! I was thinking of adding poppy seeds for a bit of a crunch. Would that work? And if so-how much do you recommend? Thank you!

  7. Hi, Sally! This cake looks delicious!! 
    I was wondering if I could use some of the raspberry sauce you suggested but as a middle layer in the cake? Would that work? 
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Trish! Do you mean baking the raspberry sauce as a layer inside the cake? I haven’t tested that before so I can’t be sure of the results. But please let me know if you do. I can’t see any issues with it.

  8. Wow, this lemon pound cake sounds fabulous! I wish I could grab a slice to enjoy with my tea right now. At least I have the recipe and I can’t wait to make it. Thanks for the recipe, Sally! 🙂

  9. I just baked this today. It’s perfect. I made 1/2 of the lemon icing and it was sufficient. I weighed out the flour rather than measuring cups because I find despite spooning flour into the measure cups, it still is off (too much flour-too dry of consistency). Sally your baked goods are truly and addiction.

  10. seriously. EVERY SINGLE ONE of your recipes make me want to run to the kitchen! beautiful pictures – looks amazing sally!!

  11. In the oven. Mmmmmmm. Can’t wait

    • Let me know how you like it!

      • I brought this into the office, and I have a few girls hooked on your blog page now. We enjoyed every tender, silky crumb that melted with sunshine on our tongues:) It’s cold here, and this brightened our day! Thanks again for another outstanding recipe. I’m never disappointed by you!

      • This makes me so happy 🙂 Thanks for making it!

  12. I’m the only one in the house who loves lemon cookies and cakes. So, I don’t make them because I’ll be the only one eating them. Well, I’m going to make this pound cake. It just sound too good to pass up. Thanks for another great recipe.

  13. Do you think this could work with raspberries folded into the batter? Thinking of making it for a friend’s birthday (who doesn’t like glaze or icing) and thought maybe that could spruce it up a little for her? 🙂

  14. How much milk could I substitute for the sour cream? 

  15. Hey Sally! You made a pretty good argument for this lemon pound cake so I made it last night – delicious!! I loved the addition of the heavy cream/milk to the glaze (I used half/half) but my glaze didn’t turn out all beautifully thick like yours. It ran down the sides pretty quickly and I applied the run-off glaze again but still had quite a bit leftover that had drained off the cake. I applied the glaze when the cake was still slightly warm – do you think I’d have better luck if the cake was completely cool? Or let the glaze still for a minute or two before applying? Thanks again for an awesome recipe!

  16. Hi Sally! Made your Iced Lemon Pound Cake & its amazing!! Love the taste, the texture…. a perfect pound cake recipe for the warm humid Singapore. A go to recipe. Been keeping most of your recipes for future baking…; )

  17. I LOVE LEMON. My mom doesn’t have a microplane and I was going nuts over the holidays….I would put lemon zest into everything if I had it my way!

    IN FACT, I put lemon zest into my lemon glaze (along with lemon juice) – so fabulous!

  18. omg !!it’s so delicious even though I didn’t use the egg yolks still came out moist and yummy.

  19. Made this last night to bring to work as a Friday treat and people are loving it! Another great recipe in the books. Thank you!!

  20. i’ve been looking for a lemon cake recipe that uses natural lemon only and not flavorings and extracts. Thank you for this recipe, I made this cake this morning for guests and it came out really yummy. everyone loved the real lemony taste! will make it again next week!

  21. Tasted perfect but had a big crack down the middle, any idea what I may have done wrong?

    • Absolutely nothing wrong! Loaves are supposed to have cracks down the center. It’s the air escaping that forms the cracks.

  22. Used Meyer lemons, very refreshing and very citrus-y. Mmm. Also, added a few Tablespoons of poppyseed for crunch.
    Used a technic that me mom taught me when she made “poke cakes”. As soon as the cake came from the oven, she would use a toothpick to poke numerous holess in the cake. Then, she would drizzle the glaze over the warm cake and let the glaze soak through the cake. When the cake was completely cooled, she would then frost the cake with the remaining icing.
    This worked perfectly for your Iced Lemon Pound Cake. Now…this is a new family favorite. Wish I could post a photo of this gem. Thanks Sally.

  23. Loved this! Lemon is about the only thing left that I can taste  after radiation to my neck several years ago! So so yummy! I bought 2 of your cookbooks at Christmas time! My family is raving about the treats! Now I can too! 

  24. This was very yummy! It really hit the spot on a gloomy winter day! It definitely has that homemade taste compared to the store bought version that I had grown so accustomed too. Thanks Sally!

  25. Can we substitute lemons for oranges? Oranges are in abundance in pakistan at the moment…

  26. For the icing could I use almond milk????

  27. I made this for a dinner party using Meyer lemons from Trader Joe’s.  It was a big hit!  Thanks!

  28. I made it last night, and it was really awesome! Thank you for the recipe. May God bless you.

  29. Can i use pure lemon oil instead of fresh?

  30. Hi Sally! I was wondering if you are able to make this recipe in a bundt cake pan instead of a loaf pan? If so, do you have to change the recipe or cooking time at all?

    Thanks!

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