Lemon Pound Cake


The ultimate dessert for lemon lovers.

Lemon Pound Cake

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins

Pound cake is the unfussy cousin of the layer cake. This lemon pound cake doesn't shy away from the lemon flavor—it has lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract in the cake, syrup, and glaze. But it's not nearly as complicated as a layer cake.

A lemon layer cake requires planning and skill to make the frosting, and then you have to get it all stacked properly. A pound cake, on the other hand, requires you to be good at brushing on a syrup and drizzling a glaze. For people who are intimidated by the frosting of a layer cake, the pound cake is a gift.

It's also a gift to anyone who loves the tender, moist crumb of cake without gobs of frosting. This has plenty of sweetness from the a syrup that's brushed on the top and sides, and more comes from the powdered sugar glaze. But all are equally lemony as sweet, which makes this a balanced dessert for people who appreciate sweet-tart flavors.



  • 1 1/2 cups (about 6 3/8 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for loaf pan

  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

  • 3 Tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus 1/4 cup fresh juice (from 4 large lemons), divided 

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for loaf pan

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp. lemon extract

Lemon Syrup

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup (about 4 oz.) powdered sugar

  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)


  1. Gather ingredients:

    Let butter and other ingredients soften.

    ingredients for pound cake overhead

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

  2. Prepare the Cake:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour sides and bottom of an 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. 

    loaf pan coated with cooking spray

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

    Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl until combined; set aside. Whisk together sour cream and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth; set aside.

    bowls of ingredients beside loaf pan coated with cooking spray

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

  3. Cream butter and sugar:

    Beat sugar, butter, and lemon zest with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape down sides as needed, about 45 seconds. Beat in vanilla and lemon extract until incorporated, about 15 seconds.

    butter and sugar creamed in a mixing bowl

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

  4. Pour batter into prepared pan:

    Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until combined after each addition.

    pound cake batter in a mixing bowl

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

    Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan, and smooth top with a spatula. Gently tap loaf pan on counter to release any large air bubbles.

    loaf cake batter in a loaf pan
  5. Bake pound cake:

    Bake in preheated oven until Cake is golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes.

    baked pound cake in a loaf pan overhead

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

  6. Prepare the Lemon Syrup:

    While Cake is cooling, stir together sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring often, over medium-low until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 minute; remove from heat.

    lemon simple syrup

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

  7. Spread syrup on pound cake:

    Brush about one-third of the Lemon Syrup evenly over top of Cake. Let stand 5 minutes. Turn out Cake from loaf pan onto a wire rack, brushing bottom and sides of cake with remaining Lemon Syrup. Let Cake cool completely, top side up, on wire rack, about 1 to 2 hours.

    brushing syrup on pound cake
  8. Prepare the Lemon Glaze:

    Whisk together sugar and salt in a small bowl. Gradually add lemon juice, one teaspoon at a time, whisking until smooth and desired consistency. 

    glaze in a bowl

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

    Drizzle Lemon Glaze over cooled Cake.

    drizzling glaze over pound cake

    Let stand until Lemon Glaze is set, about 15 minutes. Slice and serve.

    lemon pound cake with glaze drizzled over it

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

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