You're going to love this recipe for homemade Lemon Pound Cake. This is the recipe that my aunt taught to me and her cake is a family favorite. With its moist crumb, bright lemon flavor, and tart lemon glaze this cake will impress your family and friends. I not only share a full proof method for this cake but I also share the tips and tricks I learned from my aunt for the best lemon pound cake ever.
- Why You'll Love This Recipe
- The Ingredients You'll Need For Lemon Pound Cake
- How to Make Southern Lemon Pound Cake
- How to Make Lemon Glaze
- How to Store the Cake
- What Pan Should I Use for This Cake
- Pro Tips for Making this Recipe
- Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
- If You Love This Recipe Try These Other Lemon Recipes
- Southern Lemon Pound Cake
The first time I had this cake was when we were visiting family in Texas. My aunt made this cake for Sunday supper and I was blown away by how good it was. Her cake was tart, moist, delicious and the depth of lemon flavor was beyond anything I had ever tasted. And the glaze was thick and creamy and just perfect. She made one for us to take home and I ate half of my share while waiting in the airport.
For trhe next few years whenever we visited she made this cake at some point during out visit because we loved it so much. For me this cake is not only a great cake to make when you want a really good lemon pound cake, it's about making something with love to share with others.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
If you're a lemon lover, this cake is for you. It has a bright bold lemon flavor from the fresh lemon zest and lemon juice. The crumb is moist and fluffy. And the glaze is so tart, you'll definitely feel it at the back of your mouth.
It's the perfect cake for any time of year. It's not only great for special occasions, or family get togethers, but also for when you crave a lemon dessert or a really good piece of cake.
It’s hands down the best southern lemon pound cake recipe you'll ever try! And if you're looking for other pound cake recipes check out my recipes Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake and Meyer Lemon Cardamom Pound Cake.
The Ingredients You'll Need For Lemon Pound Cake
Here are the ingredients that you'll need for this delicious lemon cake:
- Cake Flour. Cake flour creates a tender crumb and is able to absorb all the liquid from the lemon juice, sour cream, and eggs. Make sure to follow the recipe instructions and sift the flour twice.
- Granulated Sugar. Adds sweetness and moisture to the cake and helps caramelize the outside of the cake, creating a nice golden color and a slight crispness to the edges.
- Unsalted Butter: Use unsalted butter that is at room temperature, 65-68 degrees. Don't use salted butter for this recipe.
- Lemon Zest. Zesting the lemon directly into the sugar captures the lemon oil and the lemon sugar increases the flavor by releasing the oils and distributing the flavor throughout the cake. Make sure to use fresh lemons that have a shiny peel.
- Fresh Lemon Juice. Adds that punch of lemon flavor. Don't use bottled lemon juice. It has a different flavor that is not as sharp as fresh lemon juice.
- Large Eggs. Eggs add fat, flavor, moisture, color, and structure to the cake. For all my recipes I use conventionally raised AA large eggs which weigh about 50 grams (without the shell) each. If you using larger or smaller eggs make sure to weigh them. The eggs should be at room temperature, about 65-68 degrees F.
- Baking Soda. Baking soda helps the cake to rise by enlarging the air bubbles that were created by creaming the butter and sugar.
- Sour Cream. Sour cream adds fat and flavor to the cake and helps create a tender crumb. Make sure to use full-fat sour cream. The sour cream should be at room temperature, the same as the butter and eggs.
- Kosher Salt. Salt elevates all the other flavors in the cake.
Full ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Southern Lemon Pound Cake
Start by brushing the interior of the bundt pan with the cake release. The cake release is a mixture of melted butter and flour, which allows you to brush the interior of the pan and ensures you get into every crevice of the pan without missing a spot.
For this recipe use the Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt Pan which is a 12-cup pan. Don't use a smaller cake pan otherwise the cake will overflow into the oven.
Step 1: Place all the dry ingredients - the cake flour, the baking soda, and the salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside the flour mixture.
Step 2: Crack the eggs into a separate bowl. The easiest way to measure out the sour cream is to weigh it into a small bowl.
Step 3: Place the sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Zest the lemons directly into the sugar. This step ensures you get the most flavor possible out of the lemon peel.
Step 4: Use your fingers to rub the lemon zest into the sugar until the sugar turns yellow and your kitchen smells like lemon.
Step 5: Place the lemon sugar and the unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar until the mixture is lighter in color and looks fluffy
Step 6: Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed after each addition until the egg is incorporated.
The sugar and butter are creamed together for this length of time because we are introducing air into the cake batter. This aeration when combined with the small amount of baking soda will help the cake to rise.
Step 7: Add the lemon juice and mix until just combined. Then add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix on low until most of it is incorporated.
Step 8: Next add half of the sour cream and mix on medium low speed until incorporated into the batter. Continue to alternate the addition of the flour and the sour cream.
We mix the flour on low because we want to minimize the development of gluten so that we have a tender crumb.
Step 9: After mixing in the last of the flour mixture, scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl and beat on low to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
Step 10: Spoon or pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. After adding all the batter to the bundt pan, use an offset spatula to even out the batter.
Step 11: Bake the cake for 55-65 minutes until it is done in the center. Start checking for doneness with a cake tester or instant-read thermometer at the 45 minute mark at the center of the cake, which is halfway between the outside edge of the pan and the center hole.
The bake time can vary from oven to oven which is why it's important to start checking the cake early.
When the cake is done remove it from the oven and place it on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. And no more than 20 minutes, otherwise you risk the cake sticking to the pan. However if you take the cake out too soon the cake make stick to the pan break apart when you invert it.
Step 12: Invert the cake onto a wire rack. To invert the cake place a large piece of parchment paper on top of the cake. Then place a cooling rack over the parchment paper and invert the cake so the cake is now on top of the parchment.
Let the cake cool completely, about 2-3 hours, before adding the lemon glaze.
How to Make Lemon Glaze
This simple easy lemon glaze is tart, delicious, and has just two ingredients:
- Powdered Sugar: We're using powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar because it easily dissolves and creates a thick glaze. Powdered sugar is also called confectioners' sugar.
- Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice: Do not use bottled lemon juice for this glaze. Fresh lemon juice has a bright citrusy taste that can't be duplicated by the bottled stuff.
Sift the powdered sugar into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and stir until the glaze is smooth and fluid.
This lemon glaze is really thick but still pourable. For a thinner glaze, add lemon juice one teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.
Place the cake on a plate or cake pan and spoon or pour the glaze over the cake. The glaze on its own will flow down the sides of the cake creating a beautiful pattern.
How to Store the Cake
The pound cake will stay fresh when covered in a cake container at room temperature for 4-5 days — it does not need to be refrigerated. To extend the life of your cake, slice the cake into individual servings, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. To freeze the cake, wrap it in plastic wrap then place in a freezer storage bag. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.
What Pan Should I Use for This Cake
The best pan to use for this cake is the Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt Pan. Nordic Ware bundt pans are high quality and durable. Your cakes will turn out right every time.
This bundt pan is a 12-cup pan if you're thinking of using another pan make sure it is at least 12-cups.
Pro Tips for Making this Recipe
- For the best results use a food scale to measure the flour. Weighing the flour will ensure you have the right amount. Too little and the cake will collapse, too much flour and the cake will be dry.
- Cake flour tends to clump. Sift the cake flour after weighing it, to remove the lumps and aerate the flour.
- Make sure the eggs, butter, and sour cream are all at room temperature. Room temperate ingredients will ensure that the ingredients mix well together. In addition, cold eggs will result in a dense cake with a slightly rubbery texture.
- Use fresh lemons with a shiny peel for the lemon zest. If the lemon peel is dull or dark don't use it. You won't get very much zest and it won't have as much lemon flavor.
- If you're making this cake for a special occasion, make it the day before so the cake has plenty of time to cool. Plus, this lemon pound cake usually tastes better on the second day.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
If your pound cake is dry you either added too much flour, baked it at too high a temperature, or you overbaked it.
If your pound cake sunk you either did not use enough flour, or it was underbaked.
For this pound cake recipe the best pan to use is the Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt Pan.
If your cake broke apart when you tried to remove it from the pan you may not have properly buttered and floured your pan, you didn't let it cool long enough in the pan, or you let it cool too long in the pan.
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If You Love This Recipe Try These Other Lemon Recipes
Southern Lemon Pound Cake
Cake Pan Release
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Lemon Pound Cake
- 3 cups (342 grams) cake flour sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2-3/4 cups (550 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest about 4-5 lemons
- 6 (300 grams) large eggs room temperature
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup (230 grams) sour cream room temperature
- 2-3/4 cups (308 grams) powdered sugar sifted
- 2-3 tbsp fresh squeezes lemon juice
For the Cake Pan Release
- In a small bowl stir the melted butter and the flour together until it forms a paste. With a pastry brush thoroughly coat the sides and bottoms of the bundt pan.
For the Lemon Pound Cake
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
- Crack the eggs into a separate bowl. Put the sifted flour, baking soda and salt together in a another bowl and combine with a whisk.
- Place the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and zest the lemons on top of the sugar. Use your fingers to mix the lemon zest with the sugar. Juice the lemons until you have at least 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
- Add the butter to the bowl and beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium-high speed until the butter and sugar are fluffy about 5 minutes.
- Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl. Add eggs one at time on low speed and then increase to medium until each egg is well incorporated. Stop the mixer after adding the first 3 eggs and scrape the bowl from the bottom to ensure the ingredients are well mixed. Add the remaining 3 eggs and scrape the down the after adding the last egg.
- Add the lemon juice and mix on medium until well combined.
- Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well combined, but do not over mix. Add one-half of the sour cream and mix on medium speed until well combined. Add half of the remaining dry ingredients, then the rest of the sour cream. Add the remaining the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, which means there is no batter clinging to the skewer and no more than a couple of crumbs clinging to the skewer. Or check the internal temperature with a Thermapen instant thermometer. The temperature should be about 203°F when the probe is inserted in the center.
- Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a cake rack to cool. Cool the cake in the pan for 15-20 minutes and then invert it onto a cake rack covered with a piece of parchment paper. Allow it to cool completely before adding the lemon glaze.
For the Lemon Glaze
- Sift the powdered sugar to remove the lumps and measure out 2-3/4 cups and put it into another bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and stir until the glaze is smooth. At this point you can decide if you want a really thick glaze. If you want it a little thinner, add the remaining lemon juice 1 teaspoon at a time until it is the desired consistency.
- Place the cake on a wire cake rack or plate. Use a large spoon to slowly pour the glaze over the top of the cake. The glaze will run down the sides the cake. Put as a little or as much of the glaze as you like. Allow the glaze to set, about 10 minutes and then move the cake to a platter or cake holder.