If you love lemon, you’ve gotta try this lemon pound cake recipe! Just bursting with tangy lemon flavor and so moist! Made with all butter, for a velvety texture that practically melts in your mouth.

A tall slice of buttery lemon pound cake on a white plate over a yellow napkin, with a silver fork alongside.

Original publish date: March 20, 2018.

Spring cannot come soon enough for me!

I’m craving bright, sunny flavors to get me through these last few weeks of bitter cold! This lemon pound cake is just what the doctor ordered.

When I set out to make a lemon pound cake recipe, I’ve got a few things in mind. Namely, it should be:

  • Moist.
  • Buttery.
  • Lemon-y!

That last one is a biggie! Nothing bugs me more than a dessert that lacks flavor.

Not an issue here, my friend. This lemon pound cake recipe is made with the zest and juice of two whole lemons! Plus there’s a little lemon extract in there too, just for good measure.

There’s no mistaking that this is a lemon pound cake. So bright, tangy, and sunshine-y!

And the “moist” and “buttery” are covered, too. It’s made with all butter, which makes the recipe simple and straightforward, and makes the final cake so moist and velvety!

A sliced lemon pound bundt cake, dusted with powdered sugar, on a cooling rack with a yellow napkin. Cake server, fresh lemons, and lemon juicer are off to one side, and there is a text overlay.

Table of Contents

Jump to Recipe

What is lemon pound cake?

Lemon pound cake is a dense, moist cake typically made with butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and lemon zest or lemon extract.

The traditional recipe calls for a pound of each of these main ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, and flour.

The lemon flavor comes from the addition of lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract, giving the cake a bright, citrusy taste.

Why this is the best lemon pound cake recipe

  1. Flavorful: This recipe boasts a prominent lemon flavor that comes from fresh lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract. You’ll taste the lemon in every bite!
  2. Simple: The use of simple, wholesome ingredients like butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and lemons, makes it easy to prepare and accessible to all bakers.
  3. Easy: This recipe requires no advanced baking skills. It’s perfect for a novice baker!
  4. Versatile: This recipe is highly customizable, allowing you to use it as a base and really get creative with add-ins and adornments!.

Ingredients

Butter: Provides richness and flavor to the cake, and keeps it meltingly moist. I like unsalted butter best because it allows you to control the amount of salt. Different brands can have different amounts of salt, so this way you get a consistent result. For a vegan or dairy-free lemon pound cake recipe, use a plant-based butter that can substitute for dairy butter 1:1. This recipe works best if you allow the butter to come to room temperature first. You can set it out on the counter a few hours ahead of time, or you can microwave it for 10 seconds, turn it over, and microwave it again for another 8 seconds.

Sugar: Granulated white sugar sweetens the cake but also contributes to its texture, tenderness, and browning when baked.

Eggs: Act as a leavening agent, helping the cake rise and providing structure. Eggs also contribute to the cake’s richness and moisture. Use large, whole chicken eggs, preferably at room temperature (although I don’t find this to be critical), or a plant-based 1:1 substitute.

Flour: I like cake flour in this recipe. Cake flour has a lower protein content so it gives you a more tender, delicate crumb. If you’re unfamiliar with this product, click here: What is Cake Flour? For gluten-free lemon pound cake, swap in a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend.

Lemon: Lemon juice and zest provide the cake with its distinctive lemon flavor. The juice adds acidity, which reacts with the leavening agents to help the cake rise, while the zest contains aromatic oils that intensify the lemon flavor. I also like to add in a splash of lemon extract to bring that flavor out even more.

Salt: I like kosher salt best because it’s cheap, easy to source, and doesn’t have any bitter-tasting additives like iodine.

Tools

How to make lemon pound cake

This easy recipe comes together in 4 simple steps.

Step 1: Cream the butter and sugar

Place the soft butter and sugar together in your mixing bowl and whip them up until they’re very pale and fluffy.

This typically takes no less than 5 full minutes, and you don’t want to skimp because this step incorporates a lot of air and will make your cake nice and light. I set a timer!

Step 2: Add liquids

Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to incorporate any stiff butter that may be clinging, then start adding the liquids.

Crack the eggs in one at a time, and stir each one in fully before adding the next. This will help avoid lumps.

The lemon zest, juice, and extract can also go in at this stage.

Step 3: Fold in dry ingredients

Add in the flour and salt, mixing in gently until just barely incorporated.

Step 4: Bake

Transfer the batter to your greased and floured cake pan, and bake it until it’s puffed and springy.

You’ll know it’s done baking when a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out clean or with a few crumbs.

How to serve

This lovely cake can be enjoyed for dessert or as an afternoon pick-me-up. It’s really nice with a cup of coffee or tea!

I like it at room temperature but it’s also really good warm or chilled.

I’ve garnished this cake with a dusting of powdered sugar, but there are countless other ways to enjoy it:

  • Whipped cream: Serve slices topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
  • Fresh berries: Top slices of lemon pound cake with fresh berries such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries.
  • Lemon glaze: Drizzle a lemon glaze (made by stirring lemon juice into powdered sugar) over the top of the cake for extra lemon flavor and a glossy finish.
  • Lemon curd: A spoonful of lemon curd or homemade jam really brings something special!
  • Ice cream: Top the cake with a scoop or two of ice cream or sorbet.
Overhead view of a sliced lemon pound bundt cake on a cooling rack over a yellow napkin, with cake slices on white plates with silver forks nearby.

Expert tips

Get creative: Feel free to adjust this recipe to suit your own personal taste. Try folding in poppy seeds or berries, or a unique spice such as ginger or cardamom. The sky’s the limit!

Whip in lots of air: It’s really important to whip a lot of air into the butter and sugar mixture. This will really help your cake to rise and have a light, airy texture. I set a timer and give it no less than 5 full minutes on medium-high speed.

Don’t overmix: Once the flour’s gone in, be careful not to overwork the batter. This could activate the natural glutens and result in toughness. Give it the fewest possible number of strokes to get things combined.

Keep an eye: Flip on the oven light and peek in on your cake as it’s baking. Once the center no longer looks wet, crack the door and give it a feel. If it’s springy, slip in a skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is done! Be careful not to overbake it or it could come out dry.

Cool completely: Once it’s cool enough to handle, flip the lemon bundt cake out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

FAQS

How do pound cakes differ from regular cakes?


Pound cakes traditionally contain equal parts (by weight) of four main ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.

Pound cakes have a dense and moist texture, with a tight crumb, while regular cakes can vary in texture depending on the recipe.

Why is my pound cake dry?


Pound cake is made with a delicate balance of ingredients, and if the ratio of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs is off, the cake can turn out dry.

The same can be true if they are baked for too long or at too high a temperature.

It’s important to measure accurately and follow sensory cues to check for doneness, rather than just relying on the times given (which are only meant as a rough guideline).

And don’t forget about carry-over cooking! This is the idea that foods will continue to increase in temperature for several minutes after they’ve been removed from the heat source. If you bake the cake even a minute or two too long it could come out dry.

Can this be made ahead?


This lemon pound cake is perfect for making ahead.

It’s big and it can really serve a crowd! So it’s nice to get a head start with recipes like this if you’re entertaining.

How to store?

Keep your lemon pound cake at room temperature (lightly covered or under a dome so it doesn’t dry out) for several days.

Or chill it in the fridge (tightly covered) for a week or so.

It will also freeze very well, and should last in the freezer for at least a month or two. Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature.

What is the serving size?


This cake can serve 16 people easily.

The nutritional info below is for 1/16th of the cake, and it includes the powdered sugar garnish.

A moist lemon pound bundt cake, dusted with powdered sugar, on a wire cooling rack over a yellow napkin.

A few more of my best lemon recipes

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A tall slice of buttery lemon pound cake on a white plate over a yellow napkin, with a silver fork alongside.
4.17 stars (60 ratings)

Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

Servings: 16 slices
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
If you love lemon, you’ve gotta try this lemon pound cake recipe! Just bursting with tangy lemon flavor, and so moist! Made with all butter, for a velvety texture that practically melts in your mouth.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (567.5 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar
  • 6 (264 g) eggs, large
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) lemon extract
  • 1/4 cup (61 g) lemon juice , (from about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons (12 g) lemon zest, (from about 1 lemon)
  • 3 cups (375 g) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons (12 g) kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon (8 g) powdered sugar, (optional garnish)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, generously mist a 12-cup bundt pan with non-stick spray, and dust with flour.
  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy (at least 5 full minutes).
  • Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl with a silicone spatula, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, allowing each one to become fully incorporated before adding the next.
  • Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl with a silicone spatula, then add the lemon extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice, mixing on medium speed until smooth.
  • Add the flour and salt, mixing on medium speed until just barely incorporated.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and bake until puffed and springy in the center (approx. 75 to 85 minutes). A bamboo skewer inserted in the thickest part of the cake should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  • Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Dust with powdered sugar for garnish.
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 510kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 138mg, Sodium: 319mg, Potassium: 61mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 38g, Vitamin A: 977IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert, Snack
Tried this recipe?Mention @bakingamoment on Instagram or tag #bakingamoment.

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Author

  • Allie

    Allie is the creator and owner of Baking a Moment. She has been developing, photographing, videographing, and writing and sharing recipes here since 2012.

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