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. 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. I baked this recipe to use in your Lemon Berry Trifle. The cake is only about 1 1/4″ in height when baked. My baking powder has not expired but could that be the problem? Or, I did use kosher salt as my salt. Do you think that could have caused the cake to not “rise” up very much? Anyway, I’m going to use the cake in the trifle but will have to use another pound cake in order to have enough for the trifle. The flavor is good but am disappointed in the final results. 🙁

    1. I baked this cake last night and mine was also short….but I actually expected it to be because of the pics shown above…. I think it’s just the way this cake is! Tastes great to me!

  2. Hi Sally! I made this pound cake, as well as several others in the past, and it tasted great. However, I can never get my pound cakes to bake all the way through. They always end up burned around the edges and underdone in the middle. I’ve tried putting foil over the top to stop them from burning. Do you have any suggestions as to what I’m doing wrong? Thanks so much for your help and all of your amazing recipes!

    1. Have you ever used an oven thermometer to test your oven? It might running a bit hot but with an inexpensive thermometer it can be an easy fix! Also be sure you are using the right size pan 🙂

  3. i made this for the first time today. My loaf was done at about 55 minutes, however, I started checking it at about 42 minutes as my oven tends to bake things quicker. ( I do have an oven thermometer.) I felt the end product was just a bit dry, however, I did test it several times in between and a toothpick didn’t come out clean until about 55 minutes. I didn’t want to over bake it, so I watched it closely, but I will cut the baking time a bit next time. However, it was still very good and everyone liked it! I was very happy with this recipe, and I have tried many like it! Thanks.

  4. First time I tried to bake this lemon pound cake according to the recipe. But two days later my husband requested it once again (it was so good!). But I didn’t have any butter at hand so I came up with an idea to use coconut oil instead. It worked out so well. And that coconutty flavour – it was delicious))

  5. Hi sally!

    I made this cake yesterday and it was PERFECT. So easy and came together quickly with a great lemon flavour. I made it again today and it came out quite a bit more dense and didn’t rise. Any idea how this could have happened?

    1. Hi Kirst! I’m so happy you loved the lemon pound cake! I’m unsure what could have happened between the 1st and 2nd loaf. Did you change anything? Even the smallest change: the oven rack position, the loaf pan?

      1. Nope! Everything was the same, and all ingredients came from the same batch. Could it be an over mixing issue?

  6. I have a Freinds birthday coming up and he requested a lemon cake. I was thinking about making this since I won’t have a lot of time beforehand to make a more fancy layered cake. Do you think if would work to bake it in a different pan? For example a bundt pan to get a more fancy shape?
    I love all your recipes btw and am super excited to test this one out since lemon cakes are my favourite.

    1. If you would like to make a bundt I would suggest this recipe that has the right amount of batter for that particular pan:

  7. Could I use cake flour instead of the all purpose with baking powder? Also could I separate the eggs to make it more lighter? Or is this a pretty airy cake already?
    I seriously love all your recipes!! You have taught me so much.

    1. Hi Ruth! This is a dense pound cake. You can certainly play around with the recipe using your best judgment for an airier cake 🙂

  8. Hey! Have you ever made a keto version of this pound cake? If so I would love to know. My daughter is doing keto and I just tried to make one I found and it did not turn out right. We love pound cakes and I make them about once a month. Thanks!

  9. Made this today as I suddenly got the urge to bake something. Lemon cake is my favourite and this did not disappoint. Used milk in both the cake and the icing as I had it to hand. It was so delicious! Your recipes never disappoint.

  10. Hi Sally,
    It’s Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and we don’t love pumpkin pie in our house (shocking, I know) I was thinking of trying the lemon pound cake recipe but in my mini bundt style molds.
    I have made two or your recipes this past month and they both turned out beautifully.
    So glad I finally found you!

  11. First I want to say that you are a major source and inspiration for me and my baking and I have yet to have a recipe of yours disappoint! I often like to experiment and play with your recipes too. I love, love, love this pound cake but tonight I experimented and put a mix of lemon, lime, and orange zest/juice in and then also make it into cupcake tins. They baked for about 25 minutes and came out so perfect! Had the same great density and moistness like it does in the loaf tin! And the mix of citrus was so fun! I really just adore your recipes. (If you’re ever looking for suggestions or ideas can I throw Italian rainbow cookies at you? They’re my FAVES)

    1. Thank you so much for the kind comment, Leigh! Your citrus cupcakes sound delicious! And I love suggestions from readers for recipes – thank you so much for the idea!

  12. Hi, I want to say I am a huge fan! Is it possible to add blueberry into the recipe if I wanted to make a blueberry and lemon pound cake?

  13. Hi Sally! I am going to be making this recipe for a large party in a couple of days. I am going to double the recipe, do you have any tips, like, should I make two separate batches, or could I just double the ingredients and use two pans? Also, I will need to make this 3 days in advance. Should I ice it and then store it, or ice it the day I am serving it? Thanks!

    1. Hi Isabella! I strongly recommend making 2 separate batches for best taste and texture. I recommend covering and storing without the icing, then icing the day you are serving it.

  14. Hi Sally,
    I tried your many recipes and they came out so perfect!
    I would like to know is there any substitute of sour cream or can I make it at home by using common ingredients.

  15. Sally, would this be something I could mail to my daughter stationed overseas? Always trying to find new baked goods to send her. Thanks

  16. Such a delicious pound cake! The perfect amount of lemon, this would be amazing without the icing but that just brings it to the next level in my opinion! I thought I overbaked it but it looks just like yours & it’s so yummy!

  17. I have searched like crazy for 9 x 5 loaf pans and can never find them. I have several 8.5 x 4.5 loaf pans. Will this change the cooking time or the amount I should pour in?

  18. Hi Sally! I made this today and it was so fresh and lemony, I loved it! I needed a smaller recipe for when I want something lemon without a huge cake and this fits the bill perfectly! I have a question…I noticed you asked another baker if she had used a dark coated pan. That’s what I had at home and used…do you actually recommend the lighter coated pans like the links you shared? Would my results be even better? (Perhaps a little more rise or slightly less dark on the outside?). It was still Delphi but I’m always looking to improve the next time. I’m far from an experienced baker!

    1. Hi Krisha! I’m so glad you love this lemon pound cake, thank you so much for taking the time to share! Lighter or glass pans don’t brown the crust as much and I usually prefer them for loaves, which require a longer bake time and thus, could easily burn on the outside. Does that help? 🙂

  19. I discovered this recipe two weeks ago, and will be baking it for the third time tonight! Thank you for sharing! It is the perfect spring dessert!

    1. Milk will slightly thin out the batter, so the pound cake won’t be as dense. That being said, use the same amount (1/4 cup which is 60ml).

      1. But in the description of your recipe you have written to use milk . I am a bit confused. What do you suggest I should use then ?

      2. Hi Prachi– sorry, I should have been more clear. You can use milk, but the texture of the pound cake will change. It will have a lighter crumb since it will thin out the batter. Plain yogurt is my recommend substitution.

  20. I made this today for my sweet neighbor as a thank you for all her cuttings from her garden to my garden. It was wonderful.

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally