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Lemon Pound Cake

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This Lemon Pound Cake recipe is a classic dessert that’s super easy to make for any occasion, especially family get-togethers, holidays, and birthdays!

Lemon pound cake and berries on a plate.

What is Pound Cake?

A lemon pound cake is one of those classic baking recipes I believe every home chef needs in their recipe book! Dating back to the 1700s, it originally got its name because the recipe called for a pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.

As you can imagine, that was a dense cake. As time progressed through the centuries, classic pound cake has evolved into a recipe more like this one that still calls for one pound of butter and good amounts of flour and sugar.

Even though it seems like the amount of ingredients in this cake would weigh it down or cause it not to rise, something magical happens in the baking process and results in an airy, fluffy cake that’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart.

I like to drizzle this Lemon Pound Cake with a powdered sugar glaze and serve with fresh berries, but freshly whipped cream or even vanilla ice cream would also be delicious! This Lemon Pound Cake recipe is a classic dessert that’s super easy to make for any occasion like family get-togethers holidays (especially Easter and Christmas), and birthdays!

Top down view of pound cake on a cake stand.

Homemade Lemon Pound Cake

There are lots of different pound cake recipes out there, and if I’m being honest, I haven’t met one I didn’t like. But this Lemon Pound Cake is a classic that never goes out of style. With just a handful of simple ingredients and a bundt pan, you can make this decadent dessert at home any time you’re craving something sweet!

What makes this pound cake special is the lemon flavor achieved by mixing in lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract. That may seem like a lot of lemon, but trust me. It evens out with the other ingredients and results in a beautifully smooth lemon flavor.

Key Ingredients

  • Butter: You’ll need one pound total, or 4 sticks, of unsalted butter softened to room temperature. This prevents lumps and lets you better control the amount of salt in the pound cake.
  • Sugar: Use white, granulated sugar for this recipe. It creams well with the butter for a light, fluffy texture.
  • Eggs: True to its name, you’ll need a lot of eggs for this pound cake recipe — 6 in total.
  • Cake Flour: You’ll want to use cake flour for this recipe because it contains less protein than all-purpose flour, which means less gluten formation.
  • Heavy Whipped Cream: Just half of a cup keeps this pound cake moist with a fine crumb, and keeps it from drying out.
  • Lemon Zest + Lemon Juice: You’ll need both for this Lemon Pound Cake recipe! Make sure to wash your lemons well and roll them on the counter before zesting and juicing.
  • Lemon Extract: You’ll need 2 teaspoons total, which may not seem like a lot, but a little bit goes a long way!
  • Powdered Sugar Glaze: Make your own sweet glaze for this pound cake by whisking together milk or heavy cream, powdered sugar, melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract. You could also use lemon extract or lemon juice and zest in place of the almond extract.
Pound cake drizzled with icing on a cake stand.

How to Make Lemon Pound Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 300ºF, and grease a 10-inch tube pan. Set aside. Then, cream together your room temperature unsalted butter with the sugar until creamy and smooth.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well until incorporated after each addition.
  3. Add the flour to the butter mixture, alternating with the heavy cream, beginning and ending with flour. (Tip for cakes: you always want to start with the dry ingredients and end with the dry ingredients when alternating with the wet ingredients.) Mix just until combined after each addition. It’s OK to see some streaks of flour.
  4. Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer, and mix in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract by hand.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared tube pan, and bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes. The cake is finished when a bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
  6. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with the powdered sugar glaze, serve by the slice, and enjoy!
Collage showing how to make lemon pound cake.

Tips and Variations:

  • Flour: All-purpose flour can be substituted in place of cake flour or a mixture of the two can be used. All-purpose flour will yield a slightly lighter cake. I don’t recommend using self-rising flour since it contains leaveners and this cake doesn’t use leaveners.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Heavy cream, buttermilk, or even whole milk can be used in place of heavy whipping cream. If whole milk is used, the cake will be slightly drier in texture since the fat content is lower.
  • Pans: This can be made in a 10 or 12 cup Bundt pan or 2 (9 x 5-inch) loaf pan. If using loaf pans, adjust the bake time slightly and cool a few minutes less. Check the cake and cook longer only if needed.
  • Extracts: If you’d prefer to not use lemon extract, leave it out and add extra lemon zest. For a slightly different flavor try adding vanilla extract or almond extract.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: The refrigerated ingredients work best if they’ve had time to set out for 30 minutes or so, and come up to room temperature a bit.
  • Removing the Cake from the Pan: Make sure the pan is well greased before adding the batter. After the cake bakes, allow it to rest in the pan for about 15 minutes before inverting the pan onto a wire rack. Don’t try to pry the cake loose. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to release, since there are still some warm areas. If needed, gently run a butter knife around the edge of the pan if the cake doesn’t release after several minutes.
  • Don’t Overmix: Don’t overmix the ingredients; otherwise the cake can become tough and dense.
Slice of pound cake on a white dish.

Storage Recommendations:

Room temperature: Store this cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. However, DO NOT add the glaze if you’re going to store it at room temperature. The glaze has dairy which needs to be refrigerated.

Refrigerator: The cake and glaze can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Just be aware that the cake firms up quite a bit due to the butter. It’s best served slightly warmed, so microwave it for 15 to 20 seconds to soften it before enjoying.

Freezer: To freeze the baked cake, wrap it in plastic wrap then wrap it a second time in aluminum foil. It will stay good in the freezer for up to 2 months. Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator then set out at room temperature before serving.

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Slice of lemon pound cake with fresh berries.

Lemon Pound Cake

Yield: 1 Pound Cake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cool Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

This Lemon Pound Cake recipe is a classic dessert that's super easy to make for any occasion, especially family get-togethers, holidays, and birthdays!

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Optional Glaze

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF, and grease a 10-inch tube pan. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the flour to the butter mixture, alternating with the heavy cream, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until combined after each addition.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, and salt.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared tube pan, and bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes. The cake is finished when a bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
  7. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Glaze:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk, butter, almond extract, and vanilla. Add additional milk to reach the desired consistency.
  2. Drizzle the glaze over the cake.
  3. Slice and serve with fresh berries or whipped cream.
  4. Please see the post for various storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1/16 of the cake (1 slice). Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 581Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 107mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 1gSugar: 48gProtein: 6g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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