This lemon loaf cake with icing is the only lemon cake recipe that you'll need. It's buttery, moist, and bursting with fresh lemon flavor! Our readers agree that this iced lemon loaf tastes way better than the Starbucks lemon loaf!
Why This Is The Best Lemon Cake Recipe
Because this is a success-guaranteed recipe, even one of our 11 years old readers have made it with huge success! I've tested this recipe many times to make sure you can't go wrong with it.
With this easy lemon loaf cake recipe, you'll have fresh lemon zest and juice in the lemon bread, which is then drizzled with lemon syrup and finally iced with lemon glaze. Bursting with lemon everywhere!
Imagine all the different layers of lemon flavor in one bite! Amazingly delicious!
This is not a copycat of Starbucks lemon loaf because this lemon drizzle cake tastes way better than Starbucks! I promise!
If you're obsessed with lemons, then my lemon meringue pie and no-bake lemon cheesecake are just something you need to make!
Ingredients For This Cake
Lemon - Use fresh lemon for both the zest and juice. I can't stress enough how fresh ones are a game-changer in highlighting the bright, tangy lemon flavor in this recipe. 3-4 fist-sized lemons should do it.
Baking powder - Although when using acidic ingredients like lemon juice and yogurt call for using baking soda, in this case, a huge no! It'll neutralize and water down the lemon flavor of this lemon loaf cake.
Greek yogurt - Use full fat. This is what's making our lemon pound loaf cake moist and tender. Full-fat sour cream works great also, like when I used it in my lemon almond cake.
*See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
1. Mix dry ingredients. Mix all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
2. Cream butter and sugar. In a large bowl whisk butter and sugar until light and fluffy using a handheld whisk for 10 minutes. If using a standing mixer, cream for 4-6 minutes on medium-high speed with a paddle attachment.
3. Mix in eggs and lemon zest. Add the eggs one by one and make sure to mix well after each addition. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract together with the first egg.
4. Alternate the dry ingredients with yogurt and lemon juice. Mix in half of the dry ingredients, followed by yogurt and lemon juice. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix everything together.
5. Bake. Pour batter into a greased and lined 4.4x10-inch loaf pan (1-pound loaf pan). Bake at 320ºF for 60 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.
6. Poke. While the lemon loaf cake is still hot, poke some holes all over it with a skewer.
7. Drizzle lemon syrup. Dissolve sugar with lemon juice by gently heating it in the microwave. Drizzle the lemon syrup all over the hot cake, making sure it gets into the holes. Leave the cake to cool completely in the pan.
8. Pour lemon icing. Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice at a time with powdered sugar using a spatula. The lemon icing needs to be thick but still pourable.
Pour on the cake and spread evenly with the help of the back of a spoon. Leave for the icing to harden before slicing. Enjoy!
Recipe Expert Tips
- Use fresh lemons. For the zest and the juice! Store-bought lemon juice has lost its bright tangy lemon flavor. Trust me, go with fresh lemons, it's a game-changer like in my lemon blueberry cake. Delicious!
- Not expired baking powder. Check for its expiry date. It happened to me so I'm giving you a heads-up! Even if you do everything 100% correctly, your cake will not rise as much and will sink in the middle if the baking powder is expired.
- Don't over-mix. Once adding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, make sure to never over-mix the batter. This will produce the softest and fluffiest lemon loaf cake ever!
- Gradually add lemon juice for the icing. Don't add the lemon juice all at once. The lemon icing need to be thick but still pourable. Too much lemon juice will make the icing look transparent.
- It tastes better the next day! Yes, it's true! So if you like to do things in advance like me, then make this lemon loaf cake with icing a day before serving it.
Variation Ideas For This Cake
- Omit the icing. The cake alone is already delicious with amazing lemon flavor. The icing is the cherry on top, and although I highly recommend it, it's okay if you want to omit it.
- Use other citruses. Lime, orange, mandarin, or even grapefruit works great for this recipe.
- Make lemon coconut cake. Add a subtle touch of coconut by folding in ¼ to ⅓ cup of desiccated coconut at the end. Oh wow!
- Make lemon poppy seed cake. Add texture by folding in 2-3 tablespoon of poppy seeds at the end.
- Make lemon cupcakes. You'll get around 12-15 cupcakes. Bake for 20 minutes. Use cupcake liners to remove them easily from the pan.
How To Store And Freeze
Store - In an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Freeze - Wrap the cooled cake that has been infused with lemon syrup with a cling film. Freeze in an air-tight container for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the fridge and then bring it to room temperature. Only then make the lemon icing and pour it on top.
Another delightful dessert that freezes great is the tarts in my healthy lemon tarts. They're out of this world delicious and easy to make!
The lemon loaf is like a lemon pound cake that's made from butter, sugar, eggs, all-purpose flour, and my addition, yogurt (makes the cake super tender and moist!). It's then infused with lemon syrup and then poured with lemon icing.
If you follow the instructions and didn't change a thing, then the culprit has to be that your baking powder has expired. It happened to me!
If it's not expired, your oven temperature was too high. Use a portable oven thermometer to get an accurate temperature.
Or you've opened the oven door during baking time. No opening the door before 45 minutes of baking time.
Adding Greek yogurt! You'll get super moist cake without even trying. Sour cream works great too.
Absolutely! Freeze it without the icing. Wrap the lemon loaf cake that has been infused with lemon syrup with cling film in an air-tight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge, bring to room temperature, and then glaze it.
Absolutely! Just make sure to use full-fat sour cream
More Lemon Recipes
If you tried this Lemon Loaf Cake with Icing or any other recipe on our website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let us know how it went in the comments below!
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Lemon Loaf Cake With Icing
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs , room temperature
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup powdered sugar , sifted
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350ºF using top and bottom heat, without the fan. Butter and line a 1-pound loaf pan. I'm using a 4.4x10-inch pan.
- Mix all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl using a spoon. Set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, using a handheld whisk for 10 minutes. If using a standing mixer, whisk for 4-6 minutes on medium-high speed using the paddle attachment.
- Whisk in vanilla extract, lemon zest, and 1 egg. Then add the rest of the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition.
- Add half of the dry ingredients on low speed, mixing just to combine from this stage onwards. Whisk in yogurt and lemon juice and then finally, the rest of the flour.
- Pour batter into the pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 60 minutes on the lower ⅔ rack until it's fully cooked or a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Once cooked, remove it from the oven and immediately prepare the lemon syrup.
- Add sugar and lemon juice into a bowl. Heat gently in microwave until sugar is dissolved.
- Poke holes all over the cake using a skewer. While the cake is still hot, pour the lemon syrup on top and brush evenly. Leave the cake to cool completely in the pan. Once it's cooled, transfer it to a serving plate.
- Mix powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a bowl using a spatula. Gradually add more lemon juice until you get a thick icing but still pourable. Too much lemon juice will make the icing transparent.
- Pour the icing on the cake and spread it evenly using a spatula. Let the icing hardens before slicing. Enjoy!
- Use the spoon and level method if using cup measurements. I highly recommend using a kitchen scale as it's more precise.
- Use a portable oven thermometer to get the accurate oven temperature. I use it every time I bake.
Miss W says
Such an amazing recipe, I make this three times a year since I found it and the family go crazy for it. Thank you for sharing!
I have made this lemon loaf cake so many times and its always a hit. I get so many compliments from my friends, they think I am such a talented baker which I am not lol. This recipe is a 10star. I bake it in 9” pan to reduce the baking time as i like to live on the edge and whip this cake last minute. I have also made your lemon almond cake and olive oil orange cake.. both turned out great but this one is by far our favourite! Thankyou for such an easy and tasty recipe.
Yeay! I'm happy to hear that, Aarti! Do check around here for more delish cake recipes, let me know how it goes. Thanks you!
All your recipes are just amazing. I have made many all have turned just wow. Thank you so much. Please share cookies recipes also.
Hi Aanchal! Thank you for your words, they motivate us to do even better. And I hear ya, more cookie recipes coming 😁. Meanwhile, you can check out all of my cookie recipes here.
Richelle Bendoy says
I’m wondering if I can use almond flour on this recipe and stevia.
Hi Richelle! Unfortunately almond flour isn't suitable for this recipe since it reacts differently (needs more binder and tweaks). But maybe you'd want to check out my almond lemon cake or Spanish almond cake (100% almond flour). Hope it helps!
i have a question, if I want to make 2 or 3 loaves at once (not one at a time) what would be the measurements? How do I do that ?
Looking forward to hearing from you
Hi Lori! You can multiply everything by clicking the buttons at "Ingredients" (2x,3x) in the recipe card. Hope it helps! 😁
when I add the eggs if it’s 2x if 3x , do I still add one at a time. Can i use a blender if I double or triple the recipe , not my hand blender?
Kris Tina says
Love this recipe. I add 1/4 of butter flavour shortening to mine and it’s absolutely delicious.
Hi...thank you for the lovely recipe. Turned out really good. However my cake seemed to have many air pockets. Anything i can do to overcome that.? And can i use self raising flour instead of all purpose?
Hi! Did you change or substituted anything in the recipe, as in the ingredients or the method? Perhaps the baking powder wasn't mixed properly in the batter. I haven't tried with self-rising flour but I'm thinking yes, why not. Omit the baking powder though. Hopefully it helps and thanks!
I have just made this using my brand new stand mixer. It was a great recipe to initiate the mixer 🙂
It's still in the cooling stage but we couldn't resist trying it. It's absolutely amazing! Thank you!
I used Stevia as a replacement for the sugar. So we feel a little less guilty eating this gorgeous lemon drizzle loaf.
I have try this recipe and everyone in my family loved it hola from Tanzania 🇹🇿😊thanks
Dinorah Martinez says
I'd love to make this cake but I'd like to know if I can substitute the Greek yogurt by the same amount of sour cream. I'll anxiously be waiting for the answer to make it.
Yes, you can 🙂
I’ve made this cake many times. Everyone loves it, family, friends… As your others recipes, it’s easy to make and successfully delicious 😋 I appreciated it today with my coffee. Thank you Bea
I'm happy to hear that, Marc! Thank you for your feedback, really appreciate it 😊.
MARICEL ANN says
I just want to say thank you for this recipe 🙂 I've made this lemon loaf countless times , for my mom, my bf and his family , for my god-family. And everyone loves it 🙂 just reduced some of the sugar for my mom and it's perfect.
They're so lucky to have you baking for them 🙌! I'm happy to know that everybody loved it, thank you for your feedback Maricel. Do check out more cakes recipe here in our website, if you're interested.
Thanks for the lovely receipe . Tried it and it turned out fine . Used normal plain yogurt instead of Greek yoghurt and was perfect . I also reduced the sugar to 160g . Perfect. Used a 4.5x8 in loaf tin and baked for an extra 10min .
Thank you Irene, happy that you liked it ❤️!
Hello! Your recipe is amazing :)) I tried it yesterday and my family loves it thank you for sharing! YAYY!
My loaf didn’t turn out brown like yours though 🙁 I’m using a conventional oven with the fan mood~ Do you reckon I could increase the temperature and decrease the time? 🙂 or any lovely suggestions pleaseeeee 🙂 thank you!
Don’t get me wrong! The cake is still super awesome! Would just love to have it brown on top and sides to make it look and taste awesome haha 🙂
Hi Amanda! Happy that you liked it 🙌! Since each oven is a different world, I'd really recommend you investing in a portable thermometer (I use this one all the time when baking) to get the accurate temperature. Usually using fan mood will call for lower temperature of 20º as it's always hotter but since yours is not the case then yes, try increasing it a bit and bake for less time (do the skewer test). You can also try baking it in the middle rack instead (I always use lower 2/3rd rack for cakes). Hope it helps!