Lemon Pound Cake

This lemon pound cake is the ultimate dessert for lemon lovers packed with three layers of lemon! 

This lemon pound cake recipe is rich, buttery, tender and most importantly, packed with bright lemon flavor!  It’s essentially a butter poke cake spiked with lemon juice and lemon zest in the batter then infused with luscious lemon butter syrup that soaks through the cake and finally it’s smothered with an irresistible cream cheese lemon glaze. This tender lemon Bundt cake is easy to make and tastes even better the next day – perfect for stress free entertaining or holidays (like Easter!).  Tips and tricks, Step-by-Step Photos, How to Make Ahead, How to Freeze all included!

Spring and summer means bright and fresh lemon, blueberry strawberry and carrot cakes! Some of our favorite Easter cakes include: Lemon Blueberry Cake, Strawberry Shortcakes, Strawberry Shortcake Cake, Hummingbird Cake, Carrot Cake with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting and Cream Cheese Stuffed Carrot Cake.

lemon pound cake recipe video

 
top view of lemon pound cake with glaze for lemon cake

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Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

Can you believe Easter is around the corner – the perfect excuse to whip up this lemon pound cake recipe!  Lemon desserts have my heart, more than chocolate, so it’s safe to say, I am a lemon dessert critic- and this lemon pound cake is 5 stars fabulous in my opinion.

This lemon pound cake recipe is based off of my Kentucky butter cake.  My Kentucky butter cake is one of my favorite desserts and definitely the dessert I make the most often because it’s a make-ahead friendly, no-fuss cake without any layering or frosting, just a glaze.  When I was making the butter cake a couple months ago, I had the epiphany that it would be incredible as a buttery lemon pound cake!  And I was right.  So, now that it’s spring, I’m ecstatic to share the recipe with you! 

To transform that recipe into this lemon pound cake recipe, I kept the same cake base with the addition of lemon juice and lemon zest, delivering a lemony velvet pound cake – not too tart and not too sweet- and rich, tender, dense and decadent in texture – the perfect sponge for the sweet buttery lemon syrup.

To prepare for the lemon syrup, we poke the bottom of the lemon cake with holes, but instead of drenching it with butter sauce like in Kentucky butter cake, we douse it with lemon syrup, which is essentially butter sauce with added lemon juice.  The syrup seeps into the rest of the cake, both intensifying the lemon flavor and creating the most wonderfully moist lemon pound cake you ever did taste. 

Finally, the lemon pound cake is crowned with a velvety cream cheese lemon glaze kissed with lemon juice for a creamy, silky, sweet, citrus glaze that is one of my favorite things ever. 

With the three layers of lemon – in the cake – in the syrup – and in the glaze – you get a crazy tender, buttery lemon pound cake with intense lemon flavor in every bite that’s the perfect balance of sweet and citrus.  I hope you love it as much as us!  

up close of a slice of lemon pound cake recipe showing how moist it is

Why you’ll love this Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

There are thousands of lemon pound cake recipes out there – but my recipe is different.  It uses a different cake recipe, techniques, and ratios. Here is what makes this lemon pound cake AMAZING:

  • Triple lemon:  As previously discussed, this lemon Bundt cake is a triple threat with lemon in the batter, syrup and glaze!
  • Greased with sugar:  Have you ever buttered and “floured” your pan with sugar?  It creates a delightful sugar crust like a doughnut and definitely elevates this recipe!   
  • Buttery cake:  Combine lemon, butter and sugar and you have magic! This cake begins with my favorite butter cake recipe that is has more butter and one more egg than most lemon pound cake recipes which creates a richer, more velvety cake.
  • Fool proof technique: This recipe uses room temperature ingredients (more on that below) and creams the butter and sugar which creates a much more tender, fluffy cake instead of just mixing the ingredients all in one bowl like many recipes. 
  • Poke lemon cake: Every pocket of lemon butter syrup is the highlight of the lemon Bundt cake!  And unlike most lemon syrups, this one has butter!
  • Zero stick:  Poke cakes are notorious for sticking because the syrup essentially creates a glue.  I have found the key so your cake doesn’t stick is to remove the cake from the pan while it’s still warm, just like you do all Bundt cakes.  Now you’re guaranteed a lemon pound cake that comes out in one piece!  So, you can eat piece after piece after piece…
  • Versatile This lemon pound cake is versatile as well!  I will show you how you can add blueberries, poppy seeds, almonds etc. to make the recipe that fits your mood every time!

Lemon bundt Cake ingredients

To make this lemon pound cake recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients, many of which repeat in the cake, syrup and glaze:

  • Lemon juice:  Use only freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Microwave the lemons for 15 seconds and be amazed at how much easier they are to juice!
  • Lemon zest: Add concentrated lemon flavor. Make sure not to get the white pith or it will taste bitter.
  • Butter: Unsalted is typically best for baked goods so you can add the precise amount of salt. If you only have salted, butter, you will need to reduce the salt in the recipe.
  • Sugar: Use granulated sugar in both the lemon cake and the syrup to let the lemon really shine.
  • Eggs: Need to be at room temperature!  More on that below.
  • All-purpose flour: I’ve never made this lemon cake with anything other than all-purpose flour, so I can’t speak to whether gluten-free flour, etc. would work here, but I assume gluten free baking flour such as Bob’s Red’s Mill 1 to 1 would work fine.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: Helps tenderize the cake and make it rise in the oven.
  • Buttermilk:  Is more acidic than milk which helps tenderize the gluten, giving the cake a softer texture and more body. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can create a sour milk substitute with milk and vinegar.
  • Cream cheese: Thickens the glaze so it doesn’t slip right off and adds that pop of tanginess to perfectly complement the bright citrus and sugar. Use full-fat brick-style cream cheese for best results but ⅓ less fat can also be used.
  • Powdered sugar: Make sure to sift the sugar before making the glaze, otherwise it can whisk up lumpy.
lemon pound cake on a platter sliced  with lemon glaze for cake

DIY BUTTERMILK

I never keep buttermilk on hand – but I ALWAYS want to make this lemon pound cake!  Buttermilk is crucial for a tender crumb because the lactic acid reacts with the baking soda to leaven the cake. 

Fortunately, you can make DIY buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon white vinegar to a measuring glass then adding enough milk to equal one cup.  If you only have reduced fat milk, add some half and half or heavy cream to give it body if you have it on hand.  Give mixture a stir and let sit 10 minutes.  The milk will curdle so you know it’s ready. 

From there, you’ll mix the lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla extract into the sour milk/buttermilk.

HOW TO JUICE A LEMON FOR MAXIMUM YIELD!

You will need 7 tablespoons lemon juice for this lemon pound cake recipe – for the cake, syrup and glaze. Fresh lemon juice is always best, so it is important to know how to juice a lemon for maximum yield.

First, you need to break down the membranes inside the lemon. The membranes hold all the juicy goodness we want!

  • Start with room temperature lemons. Microwave the lemon for 15-30 seconds if needed; or simply let warm in a bowl of war water. Allow to cool down and proceed.
  • Vigorously roll the lemon on the counter top for a few seconds.
  • Use a lemon squeezer or reamer to extract more juice.
a slice of lemon pound cake on a plate with lemon glaze for cake

HOW TO MAKE lemon pound CAKE

This lemon pound cake takes less than 15 minutes to mix – so please don’t be intimidated by the thorough tips and tricks!  It takes another 20-30 minutes to make the syrup and the glaze and pour them over the cake – the rest of the time is waiting for the cake to cool.  Here’s how to make it:

GREASE BUNDT CAKE PAN well

You will need a 10-inch, 12 cup nonstick Bundt cake pan for this lemon pound cake recipe. I usually love using nonstick cooking sprays with flour to grease my pans – but please do NOT use a spray for this cake because the cake is too sticky! 

Instead, you can use good old shortening or butter with flour OR add in a little sugar. I like to butter, sugar and flour my pan for this lemon Bundt cake because it creates a divine sugar crust like on a doughnut! 

Also, please be aware that older Bundt pans have a tendency to stick, especially if the coating has rubbed off in any area and will NOT work for this sticky recipe unless you omit the syrup.

To grease, sugar and flour your pan:

  1. Brush an even layer of softened butter all over the inside of the pan (about 1 ½ tablespoons).  Make sure you get every nook and cranny!
  2. Next, sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar – starting with the top edges of the pan so it trickles down the pan – make sure you do the same to the tube too, and tap and turn the pan to evenly coat. 
  3. Repeat with one tablespoon of flour.  Tap a few times to remove any excess. 

You can also follow the same technique and omit the sugar and just use 2 tablespoons flour but you’ll be missing that coveted crackling sugar crust.

showing how to make lemon pound cake recipe by greasing a cake bundt pan with butter and flour

USE ROOM TEMPERATURE INGREDIENTS

You will need room temperature butter, buttermilk and eggs for this lemon pound cake recipe.  Room temperature ingredients help the emulsion be more successful between the butter, sugar and eggs, or in other words, they will mix much easier together (so it’s harder to overmix) and whisk to a higher volume which results in a softer lemon Bundt cake with maximum volume.

Room temperature eggs also create a runnier batter which is easier to spread/not overwork so the lemon cake has more lift and rises more evenly.  Cold eggs can break the emulsion of the sugar and butter, so the batter loses air cells, resulting in a baked cake that is grainy or flat in texture, dry or dense.

CREAM butter and sugar UNTIL FLUFFY

One of the keys to a soft lemon pound cake is to cream your sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  You should beat your butter and sugar at medium – high speed for at least 3-5 minutes.  I suggest setting a timer because 3 minutes will seem extra-long but you don’t want to cut it short.

This step is so important because it is the only time you want to whip air into the lemon cake batter to create bubbles.  The bubbles will expand as the cake bakes, resulting in a lighter cake.  If you don’t cream them enough, your cake will be denser, not as tender, or rise as high.

a collage showing how to make lemon pound cake recipe by creaming butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy

BEAT EGGS LOW AND SLOW

Once you’re done creaming the butter and sugar, you want to add the eggs one at a time and beat slowly which gives the batter time to thicken and emulsify because eggs and butter don’t mix naturally. Mixing slowly adds emulsifiers from the egg yolks and will not break the fat (from the butter and egg yolks) and water emulsion (from water contained in the butter or fat and eggs). It results in a creamy batter that holds in the air bubbles in, previously created through creaming and beating.

Overbeaten eggs can also create a fragile crust that crumbles and separates from the cake as it cools.

showing how to make lemon pound cake recipe by beating eggs into the batter

Alternate Dry and wet Ingredients

Now it’s time to incorporate the dry and wet ingredients.  The dry ingredients are whisked together separately so they can be evenly divided into the batter without over working it.  They dry ingredients include:  flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  The wet ingredients include buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla extract all whisked together in a pourable liquid measuring cup.

You will want to alternate slowly adding the dry and wet ingredients to the batter in order to keep it stable.  If you add all of the wet ingredients at once, it can break the emulsion and cause the batter to separate. If you add all of the dry ingredients at once, the batter will be too thick which will result in overmixing and a tougher cake. Instead, adding them in alternating thirds beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, keeps the batter stable and easy to mix.

showing how to make lemon pound cake by adding lemon zest and lemon juice to buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup

Don’t overbeat the cake batter

Once you add the wet and dry ingredients to the cake batter in thirds, stop mixing as soon as you see most of the streaks of flour disappear.  Overmixing cake batter causes the gluten in the flour to form elastic gluten strands which result in a dense, chewy texture.

showing how to make lemon pound cake recipe by lending batter until smooth


DON’T PEEK

I know it is going to be hard not to peek at your beautiful lemon pound cake, but please don’t open the door!  Opening the doors can cause your cake to cook unevenly and to fall.  Only check on your cake at 55 minutes.

a collage showing how to make lemon pound cake recipe by adding batter to a bundt pan and baking until golden

DON’T OVERBAKE

One of the main reasons people complain of dry cakes is because they over bake their cake   You want to remove your cake when there are just a few crumbs clinging to a toothpick.  Check your lemon pound cake at 55 minutes then continue to cook as needed, setting a timer so you don’t overbake it.

POKE HOLES in the bottom of the cake

Here comes the fun part!  Let the lemon cake rest for 5 minutes then poke holes all over the bottom of the cake, about 45 holes.  I have found the thin end of a chopstick to be just the right size.  Skewers are too thin and the back of a spoon is too big.

If you don’t have chopsticks, try and find something similar in size such as the back of a utensil.  If all else fails, you can use a skewer but wiggle it around a little to create a bigger hole. 

You will want to poke the holes about ¾ of the way down.  This allows the butter sauce to penetrate the lemon cake without oozing out the top and sticking to the pan. 

a collage showing how to make lemon pound cake by poking holes in the cake

MAKE lemon BUTTER syrup

Immediately after poking holes in the cake, make the lemon butter syrup by combining butter, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and cooking until the sugar mostly dissolves.

You don’t want to make the syrup too soon because it will thicken and even crystallize and harden.  Making the syrup when the cake comes out of the oven is perfect timing because it also gives the cake a few minutes to cool.

showing how to make lemon cake by mixing butter, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan for the lemon syrup

POUR SYRUP INTO the HOLES

Slowly pour the syrup into the holes of the cake.  You’ll want to work slowly so the it actually seeps into the holes of the lemon cake and doesn’t pool and drip down the edges into the pan. Tilt the pan as needed so the syrup doesn’t run down the sides of the pan because this will glue the cake to the pan and it won’t come out in one piece.

showing how to make lemon pound cake recipe by pouring lemon glaze into holes in the cake

REMOVE CAKE FROM PAN

After you’ve poured the syrup over lemon pound cake, let it sit for 15 minutes. This allows the cake to retract from the pan and become firm enough to remove without breaking.  If you leave it for too long, then it can become damp and stick to the pan and more importantly, the glaze can stick and harden like glue.

When you’re ready to remove the cake, run a knife around the edges of the cake. Firmly tap the outside of the pan a few times until you feel the cake is loose, then invert the cake onto a plate or cake stand. 

GLAZE CAKE

To make the lemon glaze, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons lemon juice until smooth.  Make sure to sift the powdered sugar into the bowl so you don’t end up with lumps.  Once the glaze is smooth, taste and add additional lemon juice if you would like a tangier glaze.

showing how to make lemon glaze for cake by beating sugar, powdered sugar and lemon juice together

Now the finishing touch!  Drizzle the lemon glaze all over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. I use a small gravy boat but you can also use a spoon or piping bag.  Some of the glaze will pool at the bottom of the cake, which just means extra glaze for that piece of lemon cake!

top view of lemon pound cake recipe on a white plate with lemon glaze for cake

TIPS FOR successful lemon pound CAKE

We’ve gone over most of the tips for success in the above section, but here are a few more areas to pay attention to:

  • Lemon yield:  An average lemon will provide you with about 2-3 teaspoons lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, so for this lemon pound cake recipe you will need about 3-4 lemons; go with 4 to be safe, more if they are small.
  • Lemon zest: Is a key ingredient in this recipe. This is the bright yellow outer layer of the lemon peel. Use a micro-plane or a box grater for grating. Make sure you only stop grating at the yellow part as the white under part (pith) is extremely bitter.
  • Use the correct size pan: You will need a 10-inch/12-cup Bundt cake pan for this recipe.  Make sure it is a nonstick pan in good condition otherwise your lemon pound cake will stick. 
  • Prep Ahead:  As with all recipes, carefully read through the entire recipe, and prepare any special ingredients, such as room temperature butter, eggs and buttermilk.
  • Room temperature eggs hack: Add warm (not hot) tap water to a bowl then add eggs (still in their shells) for at least 20 minutes.  You can microwave your buttermilk until room temperature (NOT hot).
  • Pre-Measure Ingredients:  This is optional but I like to pre-measure my ingredients before I start so that way, if/when I get interrupted, I haven’t lost track of measurements.
  • Don’t pack flour: Whenever you measure flour, don’t scoop it into the flour bag/container or else the flour will compress and packed flour yields denser, drier cakes.  Rather, scoop flour into measuring cup and then level.
  • Release air bubbles from batter:  Cake batter needs air in order to bake up light and fluffy, but you don’t want the air bubbles caused from adding the batter to the pan because too much air will create holes and cracks in the baked cake.  To help get rid of air bubbles, tap the pans on the counter a few times after filling them with batter and wiggle back and forth. This will make the air bubbles rise to the top of your lemon cake.
  • Bake cake immediately:  Don’t forget to preheat your oven before you start making the cake batter. Once the baking soda is added to the wet ingredients, a chemical reaction begins.  You need to take advantage of this reaction quickly before it passes otherwise your cake won’t rise as high or be as tender.
  • Invert cake onto parchment paper: Brush excess glaze on the bottom of the cake into the holes. If you have excess glaze on the bottom of the cake, you should invert the cake onto a parchment paper lined plate otherwise it can stick to the plate when serving.
  • Don’t microwave cream cheese or butter!   For the glaze, use cream cheese softened at room temperature.  If you soften the cream cheese in the microwave, it can be too runny.
  • Thicken glaze:  If your glaze is too thin, pop it into the refrigerator for 15 minutes to thicken up.  
  • Patch up any missing cake: I have never had a problem with any of my lemon Bundt cakes sticking, but if any cake is left behind in the pan, simply pick up the pieces and patch them back into the cake.  The glaze added to the top of the cake will hide any imperfections.

WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH lemon pound CAKE?

Lemon pound cake is fabulous in its citrus, buttery simplicity, but it’s also wonderful with fresh berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and/or blackberries, Vanilla ice cream (and berries!), or a dollop of homemade whipped cream (and berries!) are also tasty.

LEMON cake VARIATIONS

This lemon pound cake recipe is extremely versatile so you can bring your personal taste and mood every time you make this recipe!  You can use the recipe as a springboard to make lemon blueberry cake, lemon poppy seed cake, lemon almond cake and lemon pistachio cake:

  • Lemon Blueberry Cake:  I try to use smaller blueberries as they disperse more evenly and it seems to allow the batter to cook more evenly. Mix 2 cups blueberries with two tablespoons flour to help prevent them from sinking.  Fold blueberries into the cake batter at the very end of mixing. Your cake may require extra baking time because the blueberries add moisture to the cake.
  • Lemon Poppy Seed Cake: While I could never tire of the Lemon “trifecta” – it can become even more delicious with poppy seeds!  If you want to add poppy seeds to the mix, simply add ¼ cup poppy seeds with the dry ingredients.
  • Lemon Almond Cake: Another fabulous addition to lemon cake is almonds!  To make lemon almond cake, gently fold ½ cup slivered almonds into the batter before baking.  You can also add 1 teaspoon of almond extract to the glaze.
up close of a slice of lemon pound cake on a white plate with lemon glaze for cake

Make AHEAD Lemon cake

This lemon pound cake tastes equally delicious the next day, just hold the glaze!  To make ahead, cool the cake completely on a baking rack, then wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap.  Store at room temperature until ready to serve, then add the glaze and voila! 

Alternatively, you can make the entire lemon cake including the glaze, cover with a cake container or tent with foil, refrigerate (due to the cream cheese in the glaze) then let sit at room temperature for one hour before serving to remove some of the chill.  Even better, microwave individual slices for 20 seconds or so – SO good!  Microwaving individual slices makes them incredibly moist and soft – even better than freshly made!

HOW TO STORE lemon pound cAKE

Cover the lemon pound cake and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Cakes tend to dry out in the fridge, so be sure to wrap it tightly and microwave individual slices for 20 seconds to make it extra moist.

CAN I FREEZE lemon poud CAKE?

It is best to freeze lemon pound cake without the glaze (but with the syrup drizzled in the holes). To freeze:

  1. Double wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap. 
  2. Freeze cake for up to 3 months.   
  3. Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator then unwrap and come to room temperature on the counter before adding the glaze.

LOOKING FOR MORE EASTER CAKE RECIPES?

You can see all my Easter recipe cakes HERE. Here are a few to wet your palate:

a slice of lemon pound cake laying on on a plate showing how moist it is

Lemon Pound Cake

This lemon pound cake recipe is rich, buttery, tender and most importantly, packed with bright lemon flavor!  It’s essentially a butter poke cake spiked with lemon juice and lemon zest in the batter then infused with luscious lemon butter syrup that soaks through the cake and finally it’s smothered with an irresistible cream cheese lemon glaze. This tender lemon Bundt cake is easy to make and tastes even better the next day – perfect for stress free entertaining or holidays (like Easter!).  Tips and tricks, Step-by-Step Photos, How to Make Ahead, How to Freeze all included!

Ingredients

CAKE

  • 24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk* at room temperature see notes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

LEMON BUTTER SYRUP

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

CREAM CHEESE LEMON GLAZE

  • 4 oz. cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

FOR THE CAKE

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously and thoroughly grease and flour a 10-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan (I also sugar the pan.) Please see Notes.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • Whisk buttermilk with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons lemon zest and 1 tablespoon vanilla in a liquid measuring cup; set aside.
  • Add butter and sugar to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for at least 3-4 minutes (no less!), until light and fluffy, scraping down sides occasionally. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears after each egg.
  • Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternately with buttermilk mixture in between each third. Beat just until combined, giving the batter a final stir by hand to get any flour at the bottom.
  • Transfer batter to the prepared Bundt pan and tap the pan on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake at 325 degrees F until a wooden pick inserted near the center of cake comes out with a few crumbs, 65- 80 minutes.
  • Place cake on a wire rack and let rest 5 minutes then poke holes all over the cake, going about ¾ of the way down using the thin end of a chopstick. You may also use the back of a utensil or a skewer, but you’ll want wiggle it around so the holes become larger.

FOR THE LEMON BUTTER SYRUP

  • Immediately after poking holes in the cake, make the Lemon Butter Syrup. Add sugar, butter, lemon juice, water and salt to a medium saucepan. Heat on low until the butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Cook until the sugar is mostly dissolved, without letting the mixture boil, then stir in the vanilla.
  • Slowly pour or spoon the Syrup all over the bottom of the cake (which is currently the top), moving slowly so it has time to seep into the holes. Tilt the cake as needed so the syrup doesn't run over the edges of the cake or it will act like glue in the pan. Brush any extra glaze into the holes.
  • Let the cake cool for 15 minutes (no longer or the glaze can stick and harden like glue) then run a knife around the edges of the cake, shake a few times until loose then invert the cake onto a plate or cake stand. Take note that if you have extra glaze on the bottom of the cake, you should invert the cake onto a parchment paper lined plate otherwise it can stick to the plate when serving.
  • Let the cake cool to room temperature before adding the Glaze in the next step. You can also tightly wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and store at room temperature then add the Glaze the next day.

FOR THE CREAM CHEESE LEMON GLAZE

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons lemon juice until smooth. Taste and add additional lemon juice if you would like a tangier glaze. Drizzle the Glaze all over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

*Don’t miss the “how to make” recipe video at the top of the post!

How to GREASE and sugar pan

You need to grease and flour/sugar the pan very well because this is a sticky cake. Please be aware that older Bundt pans have a tendency to stick, especially if the coating has rubbed off in any area and will NOT work in this recipe unless you omit the syrup.

I like to butter, sugar and flour my pan for this lemon Bundt cake because it creates a divine sugar crust like on a doughnut, otherwise you can use good good old shortening with flour but you’ll be missing that coveted crackling sugar crust.

To grease, sugar and flour your pan:

  1. Brush an even layer of softened butter all over the inside of the pan (about 1 ½ tablespoons).  Make sure you get every nook and cranny!
  2. Next, sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar – starting with the top edges of the pan so it trickles down the pan – make sure you do the same to the tube too, and tap and turn the pan to evenly coat. 
  3. Repeat with one tablespoon of flour.  Tap a few times to remove any excess. 

More tips for success

  • DIY buttermilk/sour milk:  Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to a measuring glass then adding enough milk to equal one cup.  If you only have reduced fat milk, add some half and half or heavy cream to give it body if you have it on hand.  Give mixture a stir and let sit 10 minutes. 
  • Lemon yield:  An average lemon will provide you with about 2-3 teaspoons lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, so for this lemon pound cake recipe you will need about 3-4 lemons; go with 4 to be safe, more if they are small.
  • Follow the recipe:  Use room temperature buttermilk and eggs, don’t shortcut the creaming, add eggs one at a time, don’t overmix and don’t overbake.  There is science behind each of these steps (explained in the recipe post) which ensure a tender cake. 
  • Room temperature eggs hack: Add warm (not hot) tap water to a bowl then add eggs (still in their shells) for at least 20 minutes.  You can microwave your buttermilk until room temperature (NOT hot).
  • Don’t microwave cream cheese!   For the glaze, use cream cheese softened at room temperature.  If you soften the cream cheese in the microwave, it can be too runny.
  • Thicken glaze:  If your glaze is too thin, pop it into the refrigerator for 15 minutes to thicken up.  
  • Patch up any missing cake: I have never had a problem with any of my lemon pound cakes sticking, but if any cake is left behind in the pan, simply pick up the pieces and patch them back into the cake.  The glaze added to the top of the cake will hide any imperfections and can also be used as glue.

Make AHEAD 

This lemon pound cake tastes equally delicious the next day, just hold the glaze!  To make ahead, cool the cake completely on a baking rack, then wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap.  Store at room temperature until ready to serve, then add the glaze and voila! 
Alternatively, you can make the entire lemon cake including the glaze, cover with a cake container or tent with foil, refrigerate (due to the cream cheese in the glaze) then let sit at room temperature for one hour before serving to remove some of the chill.  Even better, microwave individual slices for 20 seconds or so – SO good!  Microwaving individual slices makes them incredibly moist and soft – even better than freshly made!

HOW TO STORE lemon pound cAKE

Cover the lemon pound cake and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Cakes tend to dry out in the fridge, so be sure to wrap it tightly and microwave individual slices for 20 seconds to make it extra moist.

CAN I FREEZE lemon poud CAKE?

It is best to freeze lemon pound cake without the glaze (but with the syrup drizzled in the holes). To freeze:
  1. Double wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap. 
  2. Freeze cake for up to 3 months.   
  3. Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator then unwrap and come to room temperature on the counter before adding the glaze.

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18 Comments

  1. Ramya says

    will be making this soon with few subs i never had lemon pound cake before as am a vegan will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    • Jen says

      Thanks Ramya, I can’t wait for you to try it!

  2. Deidre says

    Love the new site design..only someone as petite as you are could afford to eat this dreamy creation- that being said I’m going for it anyway..lol thank you so much for this post!

    • Jen says

      LOL! I’m glad you’re going to live on the edge and still indulge in a slice – you deserve it!

  3. Dayle says

    This comment isn’t for the cake. I won’t be baking the cake until April for a special birthday. This comment is for the way the recipe is written. Bravo to you, Jennifer!!
    Both my Grandmother and Great Grandmother were professional bakers so I am no stranger to eating and baking great cakes. In my 60 plus years of baking, I have never read a recipe as well written as yours. I love and appreciate the explanation you give for the various steps in the baking process. The “how” of the preparation was not new to me. What was new was the “why”. It’s a good day when you learn something new.
    This recipe would be a great primer for anyone who wants to bake a cake.
    Thank You!!

    • Jen says

      What a wonderful comment to wake up to, thanks Dayle! I’m honored a baker as experienced as yourself learned something new in this post! I hope you love it as much as us!

  4. Donna says

    Will definitely be making this cake but really wanted to comment on how much I love your new website! Great feature adding the videos too so please keep including them also. It really helps having a recipe demonstrated!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Donna, I’m so happy you’re loving the new design and the video! I have recipe videos for a few hundred of my recipes but they are at the top of the posts, so I’m slowly adding them to the bottom recipe card-one of these days it will be done ;).

  5. Yvonne says

    I baked this yesterday as a trial run before Easter and man oh man is it a keeper! The whole family loved it. It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart and is just as deliciously moist on Day 2 as it was yesterday. Thanks for a terrific recipe!

    p.s.: The video was glitching every time I tried to see it on two different browsers. Not sure if others have had the same trouble? From what I could see it looked very helpful!

  6. Yvonne says

    Thanks for sharing the FB link, that worked perfectly! I need to get tech support (aka hubby) to help troubleshoot the video viewing problem. The ad plays fine and then the content glitches. But I can watch Netflix, YouTube, etc without a problem so I didn’t think it could be a speed issue. I’m going to get to the bottom of this so I can watch your lovely videos!

    • Jen says

      Oh good, I’m glad the FB link worked, but I’m sorry the other still isn’t working! Good luck troubleshooting!

  7. Rhonda says

    I made the lemon poke pound cake with gluten free flour. It turned out wonderful!

    • Jen says

      Yay, I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks Rhonda!

      • Jen says

        Which brand of gluten free flour did you use? Thanks!

        • Jen says

          I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. Enjoy!

  8. Laurie says

    Would I be able to use a tube pan to make this recipe rather than a Bundt pan? I am looking to make this into a birthday cake with a surface to write on. Thanks in advance!!!

    • Jen says

      Absolutely! I would line the bottom of the tube pan with parchment paper to make sure it doesn’t stick.