Lemon Pound Cake
This Lemon Pound Cake is rich and buttery, with fresh lemon flavor. It’s dense and moist, yet has a tender crumb. And that sweet/tart lemony glaze? It’s pure sunshine!
The Best Lemon Pound Cake Recipe
I adore a good Lemon Pound Cake, infused with the sweet/tart flavor that only fresh lemons can give. And when it’s blanketed in a lemony glaze…well, I’m ALL IN!
My sister shared a super delicious recipe for cream cheese pound cake many years ago, and I’ve been a pound cake fan ever since.
This latest lemon pound cake recipe incorporates fresh, tart lemon juice and zest – and they’re in both the cake and the glaze. If you love lemon desserts, you simply must try this bright and sunny treat!
We mostly enjoy this homemade pound cake all on its own – it’s so good, it really doesn’t need anything more. But when we’re entertaining, I like to serve it with freshly whipped cream and a sprinkling of berries. So lovely!
Why You’ll Love This Lemon Dessert
Pound cake is a simple, classic dessert that tastes rich and decadent. It can be dressed up or down, and there’s a lot to love about it. Here are some reasons why you should make this beautiful cake:
- Simple ingredients. This lemon pound cake is one of those cakes where simple ingredients like flour and butter come together to make an irresistible cake with a dense, moist, velvety-tender crumb.
- Easily adaptable. If you like, substitute orange or lime zest and juice for the lemon juice and zest for a citrus cake with a different flavor.
- Easy method. This is a very straightforward recipe to put together and my detailed instructions will help you make it perfectly.
- Wonderful texture. You’ll love this cake’s dense yet tender crumb.
- Beautiful flavor. I adore how the rich, buttery flavor and fresh, bright lemon flavor play so well together!
What You’ll Need
Here’s an overview of everything you’ll need to make this fragrant lemon pound cake.
Scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredient amounts and full instructions.
- Unsalted Butter – Butter adds richness and delicious flavor to the pound cake. Make sure it’s fully softened (but not melty) so it incorporates smoothly with the sugar.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar sweetens the pound cake.
- Eggs – Eggs add richness and moisture, and help to bind the cake batter together.
- Sour Cream – I love using sour cream in baked goods. It adds richness and moisture and a wee bit of tangy flavor. Check out my recipes for sour cream banana bread and sour cream coffee cake with cinnamon ripple!
- All-Purpose Flour – Flour gives the pound cake structure. Make sure to measure using the spoon and level method.
- Lemon Juice & Zest – My goal was to have lots of lemon flavor in this pound cake, so I incorporate fresh lemon juice and zest. Using fresh lemon really makes the flavor of this cake pop!
- Vanilla Extract – Vanilla helps to round out the cake’s flavor, a nice compliment to the lemon.
- Salt – Salt helps balance out the sweetness of the pound cake.
- Baking Powder – Baking powder helps the cake rise just slightly so it isn’t overly dense. Pound cake doesn’t traditionally include baking powder but I like to add just a bit in this recipe.
- Powdered Sugar – Powdered sugar adds sweetness and structure to the glaze. You can turn the glaze into a spreadable icing by adding more powdered sugar – feel free to make whichever you prefer!
How to Make Lemon Pound Cake
Here’s my fail-proof method for making lemon pound cake:
For the Pound Cake
- Heat the oven and prepare the pan. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a loaf pan with nonstick baking spray.
- Cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest together until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes.
- Beat in the sour cream and eggs. Add the sour cream and mix just to combine. Then add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the lemon juice and vanilla and beat well. Next add the lemon juice and vanilla extract, and mix to combine. It will have a curdled appearance; that’s just fine.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix just until evenly combined.
- Place the batter in the pan. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake the pound cake. Bake for about 70 minutes. The top center of the pound cake should be domed, cracked, lightly browned, and just lightly firm (not jiggly) to the touch.
- Cool the cake. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack and cool completely before adding the glaze.
For the Lemon Glaze
- Make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients.
- Add the glaze and let it set. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled pound cake. Allow the glaze to set completely before slicing, at least 15 minutes. Enjoy!
Why is My Homemade Pound Cake Dry?
If your lemon pound cake turns out on the dry side, it’s probably over-baked. I recommend setting a timer for 10 minutes earlier than suggested in the recipe card, and testing for doneness. Keep watch on it, as oven temperatures can vary significantly.
Also, be sure to use the ingredients and ingredient measurements I’ve detailed. Alterations can impact the final outcome of the cake. For example, if you skimp on the sugar, the cake can also come out a bit dry.
A pound cake is called a pound cake because its original recipe called for one pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. This results in a rich, dense cake.
No. A sponge cake has its eggs separated and the whites beaten separately, which results in a lighter, spongier cake. A pound cake is a dense cake that does not separate the eggs.
A butter cake calls for different amounts of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs. A pound cake calls for equal amounts of these ingredients.
Because pound cakes are dense, the outside bakes faster than the rest of the cake. This gives it a firmer, browned texture (which I love!).
Unlike other cakes, pound cake is supposed to crack on top. Again, this is because the batter is more dense. The batter on the outside bakes first, and as the center heats up and expands, it pushes up and out, which forms a crack.
Store the pound cake at cool room temperature, in an airtight container, for 3 to 4 days.
I’m always the person who likes a chilled dessert – so if you’re like me, tuck it away in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Can You Freeze Lemon Pound Cake?
Yes – pound cake freezes well!
You can store the whole lemon pound cake, in an airtight container in the freezer, for up to 3 months.
If you are baking the pound cake with full intention to freeze it, I’d suggest not adding the glaze prior to freezing. First wrap the cooled cake tightly in plastic wrap, then place it in a freezer-safe baggie or other freezer-safe container. Thaw it overnight in the fridge, then add the glaze.
You can also freeze individual slices, tightly wrapped in plastic and placed in a sealable, freezer-safe bag, for up to 3 months. Defrost the cake in the fridge before serving.
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For the Pound Cake
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
- ½ cup full-fat sour cream
- 4 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
For the Lemon Glaze
- 1¼ cup powdered sugar (measure it like flour, by first fluffing it and them spooning it into the measuring cup - then level with the edge of a knife)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Pound Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan (I recommend a metal pan that's light colored) with nonstick spray; set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through.
- Add sour cream and mix just to combine.
- Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the egg yolk, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Next add the lemon juice and vanilla extract, and mix just to combine. The mixture will have a curdled appearance.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix just until evenly combined. Do not over mix.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and gently smooth the top.
- Bake for about 70 minutes (1 hour 10 minutes). The top center of the pound cake should be domed, cracked, lightly browned, and very lightly firm (not overly jiggly) to the touch. I recommend that you start checking the pound cake for doneness at 55 minutes, as oven temperatures can vary - you don't want to over bake this cake.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before adding the glaze. If the cake is still warm when you add the glaze, the glaze will get melty and thin out, and run off the cake.
For the Lemon Glaze
- In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until smooth. It should be thickened, yet slowly pourable. If too thin, add more powdered sugar. If too thick, add just a little more lemon juice. Drizzle over the cooled pound cake.
- Allow the glaze to set completely before slicing, at least 15 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 440Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 165mgCarbohydrates: 87gFiber: 1gSugar: 62gProtein: 7g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.