The Best Lemon Loaf (Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat)

The Best Lemon Loaf (Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat) — It took years, but I finally recreated it!! Easy, no mixer, no cake mix, dangerously good, and SPOT ON!! You’re going to love this lemon pound cake recipe!

The Best Lemon Loaf (Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat) — It took years, but I finally recreated it!! Easy, no mixer, no cake mix, dangerously good, and SPOT ON!! You're going to love this lemon pound cake recipe!

Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf

This lemon loaf cake recipe has been beyond a long time in the making. I’ve been trying to make this copycat Starbucks lemon loaf on and off for years. I can’t even tell you how much I have obsessed, tried, trialed, and failed at it. Until now.

If you’ve ever had Starbucks’ Lemon Loaf, you know how good it is. Full of lemon flavor, moist, dense, and rich. Anything that good I shouldn’t want to learn how to make at home, but I couldn’t leave well enough alone.

I’ve tried countless internet recipes for lemon pound cake and some were ‘fine’ but not quite perfect, while others were total fails. And I definitely didn’t want to go the cake mix route.

I’ve tried using butter creamed with sugar versus oil whisked with sugar. I’ve tried various combinations of whole eggs and yolks, cake flour and all-purpose flour, and endless variations of lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract. I even sent one almost-a-possibility-but-not-quite to my mom to have her trial it.

The Best Lemon Loaf (Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat) — It took years, but I finally recreated it!! Easy, no mixer, no cake mix, dangerously good, and SPOT ON!! You're going to love this lemon pound cake recipe!

Something as ‘simple’ as a lemon pound cake eluded me for ages until I rediscovered and slightly adapted my own 2012 recipe for Blueberry Yogurt Cake with Lemon Vanilla Glaze. It’s an easy, no-mixer, one-bowl, whisk-together batter.

From my existing recipe, I added an extra egg, omitted the blueberries and incorporated lemon zest and lemon extract into the batter, and baked it in a loaf pan rather than a cake pan. Love it when the answer to my lemon pound cake prayers was right under my nose! 

This lemon sour cream pound cake is soft, springy, and moist without being heavy or dry, problems which often plague poundcake. Nor is it oily, which sometimes happens with the Starbucks’ version. Plus, you probably have all the ingredients on hand to make it and you can pronounce every ingredient used.

The lemon loaf cake itself is perfectly lemony, and the lemon glaze boosts the lemon flavor even more. Lemon lovers will be in their glory! 

And just think of all that money you’ll save by making it at home. That’s almost dangerous.

The Best Lemon Loaf (Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat) — It took years, but I finally recreated it!! Easy, no mixer, no cake mix, dangerously good, and SPOT ON!! You're going to love this lemon pound cake recipe!

What’s in Lemon Pound Cake? 

To make this copycat Starbucks lemon loaf recipe, you’ll need:

  • Eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Sour cream
  • Canola oil
  • Lemon zest
  • Lemon extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt

And to make the lemon bread glaze, you’ll need:

  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Lemon juice

The Best Lemon Loaf (Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat) — It took years, but I finally recreated it!! Easy, no mixer, no cake mix, dangerously good, and SPOT ON!! You're going to love this lemon pound cake recipe!

How to Make Lemon Pound Cake

This lemon loaf cake couldn’t be easier to make! First, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and sour cream before drizzling in the oil. Stir in the lemon zest and extract, followed by the dry ingredients.

Turn the lemon loaf batter into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan and bake until the top is domed, set, and toothpick inserted in the center crack comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs but no batter.

The copycat Starbucks lemon loaf needs to cool for at least 30 minutes before drizzling with the glaze! 

Can I Make This Lemon Loaf Gluten-Free? 

I’ve had quite a few readers ask about using gluten-free flour in this lemon pound cake recipe. I’ve only made the recipe as written, but readers have reported success using either Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour or Cup4Cup gluten-free flour. I can’t say for sure if using a gluten-free flour will work, but this is what readers have recommended! 

Can I Freeze This Lemon Loaf Cake? 

Yes, this lemon sour cream pound cake freezes incredibly well. It can be frozen up to 6 months. 

The Best Lemon Loaf (Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat) — It took years, but I finally recreated it!! Easy, no mixer, no cake mix, dangerously good, and SPOT ON!! You're going to love this lemon pound cake recipe!

Tips for Making Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf

A few key things to note about the lemon extract in the cake batter:

  • I used 2 tablespoons of lemon extract because no actual lemon juice is used in the loaf and I found 2 tablespoons lemon extract necessary for full-bodied lemon flavor, but you can add it to taste.
  • Do NOT use lemon oil and lemon extract interchangeably because they’re not — oil is much more potent and intense.
  • Also, do NOT use lemon juice in place of lemon extract because it’s not strong enough and the acidity can alter the overall results.

Here’s a video demonstrating how to make lemon pound cake:

The Best Lemon Loaf (Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat)

The Best Lemon Loaf (Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat)

It took years, but I finally recreated it!! Easy, no mixer, no cake mix, dangerously good, and SPOT ON!! You're going to love this lemon pound cake recipe!

Yield: 10
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Lemon Loaf

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream or Greek yogurt (lite okay)
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon extract, to taste (not teaspoons)*
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, or as necessary for consistency

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.

    Make the Loaf:

    1. To a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, sour cream, and whisk vigorously until smooth and combined.
    2. Drizzle in the oil while whisking to combine.
    3. Add the lemon zest, lemon extract, and whisk to combine. Note – I used 2 tablespoons of lemon extract because no actual lemon juice is used in the loaf and I found 2 tablespoons lemon extract necessary for full-bodied lemon flavor, but add to taste.
    4. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and stir until just combined, don’t overmix. Some lumps will be present and that’s okay, don’t try to stir them smooth.
    5. Turn the batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
    6. Bake for about 50 to 52 minutes, or until top is domed, set, and toothpick inserted in the center crack comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs but no batter. In the last 10 minutes of baking, tent pan with foil (loosely drape a sheet of foil over pan) to prevent excessive browning on the top and sides of bread before center cooks through.
    7. Allow loaf to cool in pan on top of a wire rack for at least 30 minutes (I cooled 4 hours) before turning out onto rack to cool completely before glazing.

    Make the Lemon Glaze:

    1. To a small bowl, add the confectioner’s sugar and slowly drizzle in the lemon juice while whisking until smooth and combined. You may need to play with the sugar and lemon juice amounts a bit as necessary for desired consistency and flavor.
    2. Evenly drizzle glaze over bread before slicing and serving.
    3. Extra glaze can be spread on the cut surface of the bread like you’d spread butter on toast and it soaks right in making the bread even moister and more lemony. Or you can halve the glaze recipe if you’re not a glaze person.

Notes

  • *Don’t use lemon oil and lemon extract interchangeably because they’re not; oil is much more potent and intense. Don’t use lemon juice in place of lemon extract because it’s not strong enough and the acidity can alter the overall results.
  • Bread will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months; I don’t recommend storing it in the fridge because it’ll dry out.
  • Recipe adapted from my Blueberry Yogurt Cake with Lemon Vanilla Glaze.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 329 Total Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 60mg Sodium: 233mg Carbohydrates: 47g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 32g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g

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887 comments on “The Best Lemon Loaf (Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat)”

  1. Averie, I made this today and it turned out great. I’ve always loved the Starbucks lemon loaf. Thanks for all your work in putting this together.- John

    Rating: 5

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