Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze

Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze — An easy buttermilk cake with big lemon flavor!! Soft, fluffy, and foolproof if you like puckering up!!

Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze - An easy little cake with big lemon flavor!! Soft, fluffy, and foolproof if you like puckering up!!

Easiest From-Scratch Lemon Buttermilk Cake

My daughter loves lemon desserts and I had a ton of lemons and some buttermilk to use. Lucky for her, I made a lemon cake. And lucky for me too because in the past couple years, lemon desserts have really been growing on me.

If you’re a lemon lover, you’ll love the perfectly tart yet just sweet enough big pop of lemon flavor this soft and fluffy buttermilk cake has. I used my favorite, foolproof, no mixer, buttermilk cake recipe and worked in lemon three ways: lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract.

If I’m eating a lemon dessert, I want to know it’s there. Hint-of-lemon isn’t really my style. Go big or go home.

I’ve used this buttermilk cake base for so many cakes, including Blueberry Muffin and Buttermilk Pancakes CakeCream Cheese-Swirled Cherry and Mixed Berries Cake, The Best Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, and Caramelized Banana Upside-Down CakeVanilla Cake with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze, and many more.

I love this homemade lemon cake base because it’s fast and easy to make, and the cake always turn out supremely moist, springy, and fluffy thanks to buttermilk, sour cream, and oil. That trifecta of moisturizing and tenderizing ingredients makes it impossible to have a dry cake.

The lemon glaze really helps boost the overall lemon profile of the cake. It’s zingy, tangy-yet-sweet, and after pouring the glaze over the warm cake, it seeps into the cake, and makes it even moister, softer, and more lemony.

In the current sea of apple and pumpkin recipes, puckering up is a nice change.

Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze - An easy little cake with big lemon flavor!! Soft, fluffy, and foolproof if you like puckering up!!

What’s in Lemon Buttermilk Cake? 

To make the lemon buttermilk cake itself, you’ll need:

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

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

  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Lemon juice and zest

Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze - An easy little cake with big lemon flavor!! Soft, fluffy, and foolproof if you like puckering up!!

How to Make Lemon Buttermilk Cake From Scratch

This truly is such a simple homemade lemon cake recipe. Stir together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another. Then, combine the two and turn the batter into a greased 8×8-inch baking pan. 

The lemon buttermilk cake needs to bake until the center is set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Once the homemade lemon cake comes out of the oven, set it aside to cool while you make the lemon glaze. 

The lemon glaze for the cake is whisked together in under a minute and is poured over the still-warm (but not piping hot) cake. The lemon buttermilk cake then needs to rest on your countertop for at least an hour before slicing and serving. 

Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze - An easy little cake with big lemon flavor!! Soft, fluffy, and foolproof if you like puckering up!!

Is There a Buttermilk Substitute I Can Use? 

No, this lemon buttermilk cake must be made with real buttermilk. You can use powdered buttermilk instead and prepare it as instructed on the package, but that’s the only “substitute” that’ll work. 

Can I Double This Lemon Cake Recipe? 

Yes, you can double this lemon cake recipe from scratch and bake it in a 9×13-inch pan instead. Note that the baking time may need to be increased. 

Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze - An easy little cake with big lemon flavor!! Soft, fluffy, and foolproof if you like puckering up!!

Tips for Making Lemon Buttermilk Cake

Freshly squeezed lemon juice is a must when making this homemade lemon cake. The pre-bottled stuff just doesn’t taste the same! 

When making the lemon glaze for the cake, you may need to add a little extra lemon juice or powdered sugar to get it to the right consistency. The glaze should be on the thicker side, but easily pourable. 

Note that it’s fine to pour the lemon glaze onto the still-warm cake. You don’t want the cake to be super hot, but warm is fine. 

Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze

Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze

An easy buttermilk cake with big lemon flavor!! Soft, fluffy, and foolproof if you like puckering up!! This is the easiest from-scratch lemon cake EVER!

Yield: 9
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, lite is okay (plain Greek yogurt may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract (vanilla extract may be substituted)

Glaze

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, or as necessary for consistency
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, or to taste

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

    For the Cake:

    1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, optional salt.
    2. Whisk in zemon zest; set aside.
    3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice, oil, and lemon extract.
    4. Add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing lightly with a spoon or folding with a spatula until just combined. Small lumps will be present, don’t overmix or try to stir them smooth.
    5. Turn batter out into prepared pan and bake for about 28 to 31 minutes, or until center is set and not jiggly, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
    6. Place pan on a wire rack and allow cake to cool. While cake cools, make the glaze.

    For the Glaze:

    1. In a medium bowl, add 2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/3 cup lemon juice, and whisk until smooth. As necessary, add additional lemon juice (or sugar) to reach desired glaze consistency. I used slightly over 1/3 cup lemon juice. Glaze should be easily pourable.
    2. Evenly pour glaze over cake (doesn’t have to be fully cooled), smoothing it lightly with a spatula if necessary, but glaze will likely just slide into place.
    3. Allow cake to cool in pan uncovered for at least 1 hour (or overnight and cover with a sheet of foil) before slicing and serving so glaze can set up.

Notes

  • Cake will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 297 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 26mg Sodium: 164mg Carbohydrates: 57g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 42g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 3g

More Lemon Desserts: 

Lemon Lemonies — Like brownies, but made with lemon and white chocolate! Dense, chewy, not cakey and packed with big, bold lemon flavor!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting – Soft, fluffy, moist, very lemony cupcakes from scratch! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe for cupcakes that taste like they’re from a bakery!

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies — Packed with big, bold lemon flavor for all you lemon lovers! They’re soft, chewy and not at all cakey!!

The Best Lemon Bars – Truly the best classic lemon bars! 

Strawberry Lemonade Bars — Imagine crossing lemon bars with a strawberry pie. These easy bars taste like strawberry lemonade! Sooo good!

Blueberry Lemon Cake with Lemon Glaze — The cake is packed with sweet, juicy blueberries and while there’s lemon in the batter, it’s the lemon glaze that really brings out the tartly-sweet lemon flavor that complements the blueberries so well.

The Best Lemon Loaf (Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat) – Took years but I finally recreated it!! Easy, no mixer, no cake mix, dangerously good, and SPOT ON!!

Lemon Olive Oil Cake – My new FAVORITE lemon dessert of all time!! Lemon zest, juice, extract, and Limoncello add so much AMAZING lemon flavor to this EASY, ridiculously moist no-mixer cake that’s unique and INCREDIBLE!!

Lemon Coconut White Chocolate Gooey Bars — The lemon base is soft and chewy, there’s coconut and white chocolate chips for extra texture, and sweetened condensed milk peeks through the top.

90 comments on “Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze”

  1. Hello.

    Is it possible to have recipie printed for grams instead of cups?

  2. Hi Averie,

    I love your easy recipes and I am truly looking forward to trying this cake as like your daughter I love everything lemon too! You mentioned that this is your usual buttermilk cake recipe however I noticed that you used 1 1/4 cups of a.p. flour in this lemon buttermilk cake recipe and in the funfetti cake recipe you used 1 cup a.p, flour. Would you please clarify if I have to use 1 or 1 1/4 cup.

    Thank you so much and have a wonderful summer

  3. Hi I just wanted to know if cake flour would work OK?

  4. Hello Averie,

    I normally don’t leave reviews but I just gotta say… I love love love your recipes! I’ve tried the yellow cake recipe and this lemon buttermilk one and they’re both absolutely delicious. My parents were recently diagnosed with diabetes so I decided to tweak this recipe by using white whole wheat flour instead of all purpose as well as truvia instead of regular sugar and it still turned up very moist and delicious! Thank you! Will definitely be turning to your website for more inspirational recipes :)

  5. Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it over the weekend and it was everything! The perfect amount of lemon flavour and sweetness! I’m sure I’ll be making this frequently, as it was such a great hit!

    Rating: 5
  6. Thanks for the recipe….I love the lemon zing in the glaze!

    Rating: 5
  7. Are you able to double this recipe and make a 9×13 cake?

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