Slice into citrus perfection with a tried-and-tested recipe for Glazed Lemon Pound Cake starring an extra-moist and tender crumb flavored with lemon juice and lemon zest.
Lemon adds just the right amount of zip to my favorite sweet treats (I’m looking at you, Lemon Cheesecake Bars!) and this fluffy, moist dessert might be the best of the bunch. Lemon juice and lemon zest are added to the batter and the glaze, so you get a burst of citrusy flavor in every bite.
Unlike traditional pound cake, I’ve added sour cream and cream cheese to this batter, and the end result is an intensely moist and seriously dense cake with a tender crumb. Read on for the recipe and don’t miss my tips for recipe success!
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Incredibly moist.
- Densely rich and buttery.
- Tender crumb.
- Unapologetically lemony.
- Butter: Bringing the butter to room temp is essential so it will cream easily. Butter is considered room temp when you can make a small indentation with your finger by gently pressing into it. It should still feel slightly cool to the touch, not warm.
- Cream cheese: Make sure to bring the cream cheese to room temp. The easiest way to soften it is to remove it from the cardboard package and leave it on your kitchen counter for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Sour cream: Adds moisture. The acidity acts as a tenderizer on the gluten in the flour which, along with the natural fat found in sour cream, adds richness and results in a moist, fluffy cake.
- Lemon: The star of the show! Use fresh lemon because you’ll need the zest, but also to achieve the best flavor (bottled lemon juice is often bitter).
- Eggs: This is a large cake so you’ll need 5 eggs.
- Flour: Good ol’ all-purpose flour is all you need for this recipe. To ensure your cake is perfectly moist and not too dense, make sure you know how to properly measure flour.
- Baking powder: Gives the cake just the right amount of lift so it isn’t too heavy.
- Cream together the butter and cream cheese. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Be sure to get all the lumps out. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.
- Add wet ingredients. Add the sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
- Add the eggs one at a time. Beat on low speed between each addition, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next.
- Add dry ingredients and beat just until combined.
- Pour batter into pan. Transfer the batter into a greased 10- or 12-cup bundt pan.
- Bake the cake. Bake at 325°F for 70 to 80 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the cake is dark golden.
- Remove from oven, cool completely, then invert. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the pan (about 2 hours). Invert the pan onto a serving platter to release the cake.
Optional Add-Ins and Variations
What I love about this recipe is how versatile it is by switching up the citrus and extract. Here are a few of my favorite combinations.
- Almond extract.
- Fresh berries. Blueberries or raspberries would be a delicious addition to this pound cake. Simply toss two cups of berries with two tablespoons of flour before folding them into the batter.
- Orange juice and rum extract. Swap the lemon juice and zest for orange juice and orange zest as I did in my recipe for Glazed Orange Pound Cake.
- Lime zest and coconut extract.
How to Make Lemon Glaze
All you need is a few simple ingredients (confectioners’ sugar, butter, fresh lemon zest and lemon juice), a bowl and a whisk to make this sweet and tangy glaze. The butter allows it to set once fully dried. You can adjust the thickness by using more or less sugar and lemon juice. For thick ribbons of glaze, follow my exact recipe and instructions below.
Pro Tip: For a less translucent appearance (and a touch less tang), sub in whole milk or heavy cream for the lemon juice.
Tips for Recipe Success
- Use room temperature ingredients. They combine better than cold ingredients, which means your cake will be evenly textured instead of lumpy. Plus, when eggs, butter, cream cheese and other dairy ingredients are at room temp, they will form an emulsion when we beat them. This emulsion traps air that expands during baking resulting in a perfectly fluffy cake rather than a dense one.
- Don’t overlook the toothpick test. Once your cake appears fully baked, insert a toothpick at the thickest part. The toothpick should come out with a few moist crumbs.
- Freeze like a breeze. This cake is a freezer’s dream come true. Slice it into wedges, wrap them securely in plastic wrap then pop them in an airtight bag or container for perfect pound cake in minutes. (Hint: Reheating in the microwave is the best option!)
Frequently Asked Questions
Using acidic ingredients like sour cream, buttermilk or Greek yogurt are key to achieving that incredibly tender crumb you’re chasing after in a good pound cake. Why is that? The acidity acts as a tenderizer on the gluten in the flour which, along with the natural fat found in sour cream, adds richness and results in a lush, fluffy cake.
The best way to store pound cake is to seal it in an airtight container and leave it at room temperature in a relatively cool part of your kitchen for up to four days. It is possible to store it in the fridge to extend its shelf-life, however, the chilly environment can lead the cake to dry out more quickly.
Yes! An unglazed cake can be frozen for up to three months. Once cooled, wrap in plastic wrap then wrap in aluminum foil. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then bring to room temperature before slicing and serving.
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For the pound cake:
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the glaze:
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
Make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and lightly flour a 10- or 12-cup bundt pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Add the sugar and beat until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Add the sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract and beat until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed between each addition, just until combined.
- Add the flour, baking soda and salt and beat just until combined.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the cake is dark golden, 70 to 80 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the pan. While the cake cools, make the glaze.
Make the glaze:
- Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Add the melted butter, lemon zest and lemon juice and whisk until smooth. The frosting should be able to be drizzled into thick ribbons.
- Invert the cake pan on to a serving platter to release the cake. Drizzle it with the glaze and let it set for 10 minutes.
- Slice the pound cake and serve.
- For best results, use room temperature ingredients.
- The best way to store pound cake is to seal it in an airtight container and leave it at room temperature in a relatively cool part of your kitchen for up to four days. It is possible to store it in the fridge to extend its shelf-life, however, the chilly environment can lead the cake to dry out more quickly.
- An unglazed cake can be frozen for up to three months. Once cooled, wrap in plastic wrap then wrap in aluminum foil. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then bring to room temperature before slicing and serving.
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OMG YUM! This cake had the BEST TEXTURE EVER… not to mention the taste! The lemon was so bright and refreshing and it was so moist. Yummy!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Rhonda!
Looking for a pound cake I can bake in a large rectangular baking tin to make into a No. 5 for a birthday cake. Need it plain so I can layer it with chocolate ganache cream.
Hi there! I don’t know how this recipe would turn out in a rectangular pan, as you’d need to adjust the bake time significantly.