Lemon Pound Cake

Tall, buttery, moist, dense. This pound cake is classic. This easy to make basic and delicious old fashioned lemon pound cake is flavorful and dense but not dry. It buttery soft but with a tight crumb - Just enough lemon flavor in this great dessert .

Lemon Pound Cake Sliced and Close Up

The lemon glaze and the lemon syrup are optional but recommended for extra lemony/citrus flavor. Most modern’ish pound cake recipes call for adding leaveners like baking powder or baking soda to the batter and that is fine but a traditional pound cake has neither - the lift and rise from the cake come from the eggs and air in the butter. The original recipe for pound cake called for 1 pound of sugar, 1 pound of butter, 1 pound of eggs, and 1 pound of flour, thus the name but this would likely yield and uber dense, rich and dry cake - more modern takes on an old fashion pound cake have adjusted the amounts of those staple 4 ingredients to create a more balanced cake while keeping that dense tight texture but keeping it soft, more moist and buttery.

Lemon Pound Cake Ingredients Layed Out

Lemon Pound Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • CAKE FLOUR: This finely milled, bleached flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour. Gives cakes and desserts a soft, tender texture and an excellent crumb - perfect for a pound cake. Make sure to sift as well before using. Technically you can substitute it with all purpose flour but the texture will not be as soft and tender.
  • BUTTER: I use unsalted butter and the butter must be room temperature. If your kitchen runs hot this shouldn’t take long. You want it soft enough to indent your finger into it but when pressing it your finger should not go right through. It will indent easily, but not be oily.
  • EGGS: You will need 4 large eggs and these you want room temperature as well. Eggs will make this cake rise. You do not need baking soda or baking powder in this cake.
  • SUGAR: I use granulated sugar for this recipe
  • YOGURT: Plain yogurt is all you need or a good swap is sour cream - either one you use must be room temperature.
  • LEMON JUICE& LEMON ZEST: Freshly squeezed and zested is best
  • SALT: Just a pinch for flavour
  • VANILLA EXTRACT: I use pure vanilla extract for best flavour.

Lemon Pound Cake Step By Step Instructions part 1

Lemon Pound Cake Step By Step Instructions part 2

How To Make Lemon Pound Cake

To get that traditional pound cake texture that’s crusty on the outside with a dense, moist, soft inside make the recipe as written.

  1. SIFT FLOUR: Then whisk it with the salt
  2. WHISK WET INGREDIENTS: Whisk tother the yogurt or sour cream with the vanilla, lemon juice and zest
  3. CREAM BUTTER & SUGAR: for 3-5 min over medium speed until pale in colour light and fluffy (use paddle or whisk attachment either or will work here - I have tested with both)
  4. ADD EGGS: Add them into the batter one at a time or if whisking them together 1 tablespoon at a time - mix very well between additions. Be patient with this part to prevent batter from splitting.
  5. ADD FLOUR MIXTURE AND WET INGREDIENTS: Alternate adding the dry ingredients and sour cream mixture in stages, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Once flour is added into the batter, only gently work it and stop mixing once the flour is incorporated because gluten formation begins as soon as flour is hydrated.
  6. POUR BATTER INTO PAN & BAKE: You want to remove the cake from the oven when the tester comes out with a few moist crumbs. The residual heat will continue the cooking process even after the cake is out of the oven. If you wait to pull the cake out until it is completely dry and no crumbs on toothpick tester in the middle, you will have a very dry pound cake.

Lemon Pound Cake Sliced and Glazed

Lemon Pound Cake Tips

  • The most important thing when baking your pound cake is to make sure that you do NOT over-bake it. The cake will continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove it from the oven. To ensure a soft, tender cake, try to catch your cake slightly before it’s done. Look for the skewer to come out with a few moist crumbs and immediately remove it from the oven.
  • Your eggs and other dairy ingredients also need to be at room temperature. They will incorporate much easier into the other ingredients at room temperature, making for a lighter, fluffier cake.
  • Mix until the ingredients are combined but do not over-mix! An over-mixed batter results in a tough cake. Once flour is added into the batter, only gently work it and stop mixing once the flour is incorporated because gluten formation begins as soon as flour is hydrated.
  • In order to create an emulsion, the eggs must be added very slowly. The whole process usually take 5 min - this slow process prevents the batter from splitting or looking curdled (it is totally not the end of the world if this happens to your batter and once the flour is added in the batter will return to a creamy texture - but the splitting batter could affect the rise and texture of the cake slightly)
  • Serve with freshly whipped cream, ice cream, fresh berries, Blueberry Sauce or Citrus/LemonCurd
  • Or, the beauty of a pound cake is it is delicious and plain without any extra accompaniments. Enjoy!!

A Slice Of Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound Cake Storage & Freezing Recommendations

  • STORAGE: Wrap leftover cake in plastic wrap after fully cooled and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • FREEZING: Wrap cooled cake tight with plastic wrap then a layer of foil and place in an air tight container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge over night before serving.

Lemon Pound Cake Loaf Sliced with a 3 quarter view

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Yields: one 8x4 inch pound cake
Servings: 6-8
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 50-65 mins


For the Lemon Pound Cake

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup, (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, room temperature

For the Lemon Syrup (optional)

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

For the Lemon Icing (optional)

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position oven rack to the center position. Prepare your 8x4 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray and parchment paper with overhanging edges for easy removal. Or if doing butter only with no parchment dust lightly with flour or use a cake release spray.
  2. In a medium size bowl whisk together the sifted cake flour and salt and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl or right in the measuring cup whisk the yogurt/sour cream with the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or whisk, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer/hand mixer, add the butter and sugar. Cream together on low speed to medium speed until very light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl several times during mixing. The mixture should be nice and pale yellow after mixing.
  5. Next, while mixer is running, add in one egg (4 large eggs total), at a time mixing on medium speed and allowing each egg to fully incorporate before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently. Do not rush this process. (if you are worried about batter splitting then whisk the eggs together in a small bowl and add them in one tablespoon at a time while mixing)
  6. Alternate adding the dry ingredients into the bowl in three additions with the yogurt/sour cream lemon mixture in two additions, starting and stopping with the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed in between each addition until fully incorporated.
  7. Transfer the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 50-65 minutes until a cake tester / toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with moist crumbs. Tent with foil if top of cake starts to brown too quickly.

The Lemon Syrup

  1. While the cake is baking, make the lemon glaze. In a small microwave-safe bowl (or saucepan) whisk together the sugar and lemon juice. Microwave (or on the stove-top - cook until dissolved) for 20-30 seconds, whisking halfway through, until the sugar is completely dissolved and then set aside.
  2. Once cake is done remove from oven and place on a rack and brush top of cake with lemon syrup
  3. Allow the cake to cool for 10-20 minutes before turning out of the pan on to wire rack to fully cool and brush the bottom and sides of the cake with remaining syrup

The Glaze

  1. If glazing, place powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice and milk and whisk until smooth. Adding a touch more lemon juice as needed to get to the consistency desired.
  2. Pour/drizzle the icing over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides, slice and enjoy!
  3. Wrap leftover cake in plastic wrap after fully cooled and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

  • At least 30 minutes before mixing the batter, take the butter, eggs, and yogurt/sour cream out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. It is especially important that the eggs are room temperature for this recipe due to the large quantity. Measure out the rest of the ingredients.
  • If you are not too concerned with your batter curdling/splitting then feel free to skip the part where you whisk eggs together and add them 1 tbsp at a time - feel free to simply beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stop mixer and scrape sides. Mix again.

Lemon Pound Cake Sliced and ready to serve