Blog posts

My Favourite Lemon Cake

My Favourite Lemon Cake


I love lemons, and they love me.  Together forever — that’s me and my lemons.

At the top of the list of lemon love for me is a really good pound cake.  I don’t mean a stodgy old thing from the time when pound cake was made with a pound each of butter, flour, sugar and eggs. What I want is a light, tender and moist crumb with enough lemon flavour to purse my lips before the sugar takes that pleasant sourness to a sweet conclusion.

First step?  Go buy a bag of lemons, maybe even two.  You’re going to need at least 10 large ones for a single loaf. RealLemon in a bottle will not do.  Don’t even try it.

“Wow, that’s a lot of lemons,” you’re probably saying.

If you want a homemade replacement for Starbucks’s Iced Lemon Pound Cake (a favourite of lemon fans everywhere), it’s going to take a lot of lemons to produce the type of flavour that the coffee giant achieves using mysterious flavourings and a whole lot of corn syrup.  There is no food on the planet that should contain that many ingredients.  In my simple little brain, once I need a chemistry degree to understand a food label, it’s no longer even food.

And besides, even if lemons are out of season and stupidly expensive, it’s still going to cost you less to make a loaf than it is to buy an equivalent number of slices from Starbucks.

The second step is to clear a couple of hours.  The recipe is easy to follow, but involved, and the steps take a bit of time, especially on your first go.

Particularly fiddly is cutting the segments of lemon from their piths — but they make the cake – the segments evaporate away in the oven, leaving little holes through the cake that are full of tart flavour.

If it’s too much work for one loaf, double the recipe!  This cake freezes very well — just glaze it once it’s thawed.

lemon loaf-(Click on the title of the recipe for a printable version of the recipe.)

: My Favourite Lemon Cake

: A combination of recipes from Ina Gartner and Bill Yosse (former White House Pastry Chef) results in an iced, tender cake bursting with lemony flavour. Back off Starbucks — I don’t need your fake lemon flavouring anymore.


  • Butter – ½ Cup (125 ml)
  • Sugar – 1 Cup (250 ml)
  • Eggs, Large – 2
  • Lemon Zest – 3 Tble (45ml) (3-4 large lemons)
  • Lemon Supremes (segments), chopped roughly – from 2 large lemons
  • Flour – 1½ C (375 ml)
  • Baking Powder – ½ tsp (3 ml)
  • Salt – ½ tsp (3 ml)
  • Buttermilk – ⅓ Cup (80 ml) (see notes)
  • Fresh Lemon Juice – 3 Tble (45 ml) (2 large lemons)
  • Vanilla – ½ tsp (3 ml)

Lemon Syrup:

  • Fresh Lemon Juice – ¼ Cup (60 ml) (3 large lemons)
  • Sugar – ¼ Cup (60 ml)


  • Fresh Lemon Juice – ¼ Cup (60 ml) (3 large lemons)
  • Icing Sugar (Powdered Sugar) – 1 Cup (250 ml)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8”x5” loaf pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, then the lemon zest.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. In another bowl, combine lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Gently fold in the supremes, then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top and bake for 45-60 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
  4. Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan to make the lemon syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  5. When the cake is done, cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and set on a rack set over a tray or plate; spoon the lemon syrup over top. Cool completely.
  6. For the glaze, combine the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.
  7. Slice and serve. Store in a covered container for up to 3 days.


  • Buttermilk results in the most tender, flavour-filled cake, but you can use regular milk in a pinch (whole is best — skimmed milk was not made for baking).
  • Bottled lemon juice is not the same as fresh, for a number of reasons. It will not work in this recipe.
  • The recipe is easily doubled, and freezes well. (Glaze when thawed.)

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12

Copyright © © 2009-2012 Island Vittles/Theresa Carle-Sanders. Don’t Steal – Karma’s Real.