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

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

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

Batter for lemon pound cake on

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

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. (Went from 4 eggs to 3 eggs.) 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.

Deliciously moist lemon pound cake recipe on

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

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


Iced Lemon Pound Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: serves 8-10
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


This iced lemon pound cake is moist and rich, feels like springtime, and tastes incredible under a thick layer of lemon glaze.


  • 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 lemon*
  • 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


  1. Lower the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9×5 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.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: Zester | KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Farberware Nonstick Loaf Pan | USA Bakeware Loaf Pan | Eat Dessert First Fork
  3. Lemon Zest: 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.

Keywords: lemon pound cake, lemon cake, pound cake

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


  1. Wow! This is a beautiful cake! I made it last weekend, and went for the extra zest as you mention in your note. It was so good (and disappeared so rapidly), I’ve got two of them baking in the oven now! I may have put too much lemon juice in the icing, as it was a bit too runny last time, so I’ll try not to go overboard with it! Thanks for yet another winner, Sally!

  2. Made for dessert with our Sunday supper a couple of nights ago and it was a HUGE hit! The dense, moist crumb you want with a pound cake, and the perfect lemon pucker. My hubby said it’s the best pound cake he’s ever had, and they’re his fave. Made in a fancy loaf pan, so lots of nooks and crannies for the icing to pool, and more crunch (my favorite part). Have another in the oven now, on the special request of a pregnant friend, ha!

    1. You can add fresh blueberries without changing the other ingredients. If you use frozen do not thaw before adding but you might have to add a few extra minutes to your bake time.

  3. Dear Sally: I loved this recipe!! It’s a super soft cake!! Absolutely enjoyed it, even without the icing as I’m not really into them. I added 2 lemon zest from my very own lemon tree as I really enjoy the lemon scent. As always, your recipes are the best!!

  4. Hey Sally! Do you think I can switch the lemon juice for regular milk to make it a plain vanilla batter? And can I put it into cake pans for making cake layers instead of a pound cake?

    1. Hi Michelle, for a lemon bundt cake– this lemon bundt cake is my favorite:
      You can leave out the poppy seeds. The texture/taste is similar to this pound cake.

  5. Hi, Sally, Last year I made your mini-vanilla pound cakes for Thanksgiving dessert, and they were a huge hit. This year I wanted to try the your lemon pound cake, and wanted to know if I could use mini Bundt pans for this as well, using the same directions? Thanks!

  6. The photograph of this pound cake with its loose crumb made me decide to bake it for a friend’s b’day. It baked to a beautiful appetizing color.
    After cooling it felt like a heavy brick, I thought it felt dense and heavy.
    I was afraid I had done something completely wrong. But when I cut into it
    to serve, the cake was loose with a beautiful crumb and it was a delightful, delicious surprise. By the way, I was a professional food photographer with national companies as clients. Your photograph alone sold me on making this lemony beauty. Thanks.

  7. This recipe was amazing! I actually used non-dairy (Earth Balance) butter alternative, and almond milk in place of sour cream (dairy allergy in the family). My extended family (Thanksgiving gathering) couldn’t tell that I had replaced anything. I also doubled the amount of lemon zest in the batter, and I added a little bit of lemon zest to the glaze as well.

    Overall, an easy and very tasty recipe! Thank you!!!

  8. The actual printed recipe says to use three eggs….you state in the wording that you reduced to one egg….

    I just made it using the 3 eggs and it is a little dry….

    I cooked for 45 minutes.

    Please clarify.

    Bruce wells

  9. excellent recipe! Didn’t do syrup or glaze because it would be too sweet for me, but simply sprinkled confectionery sugar. PERFECT Thank you!!!!!

  10. I love it! I have made the lemon cake with cream cheese and the pound cake, one in the oven! I received well over 200 lemons and have been a baking fool and freezing these cakes for future use. I gave out well over 200 lemons and have plenty more on hand. Learning how to bake and enjoying and utilizing your site. Look forward to many more days with you~!

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