Buttery, melt-in-your-mouth lemon cake with extra zesty punch coming from lemon glaze and icing.
This lemon cake is our staple bake. The recipe relies on our favourite and classic pound cake ratios. You will get sunny yellow, moist, closed-knit and soft crumb, which is lemony and buttery in flavour. Lemon-Butter Glaze adds a real zesty kick and moisture to this cake. Lemon-Poppy Seed Icing is a great addition to buttery lemon flavour of the cake.
For a good bake:
- Ingredients at room temperature - all ingredients in this bake should be at room temperature.
- Sifting flour … twice - mix baking soda and baking powder with flour and then sift it twice. By doing this you will make sure both rising agents are well distributed. Sifting twice also aerates the flour (increase in volume without using additional quantity of flour = this will give you nice and moist crumb).
- Lemon sugar - use unwaxed lemons. Rub lemon zest (2 Tbsps) into sugar to release citrusy flavour. In food processor/blender/grinder process lemon sugar until fine and powdery. You will need to sift it afterwards to make sure it’s light and airy (no granules remaining). If you don’t have food processor/grinder/blender - use caster sugar mixed with lemon zest.
- Creaming is core to achieving great texture in this bake. Make sure to use soft butter (pliable and not oily). Leave butter at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking (your finger should easily leave a dent, no greasy streaks around the butter should be visible). Beat butter for 1-2 minutes until fluffy (good check to see if it’s ready for creaming, it will also be easier to incorporate sugar). There are different approaches to creaming - some are adding all sugar at once. We recommend adding 1-2 Tbsps of sugar at a time - this allows to fully incorporate the sugar in-between additions. Scrape sides of the bowl every so often to make sure butter creams evenly. It will take 5-8 minutes to fully incorporate lemon sugar. Don’t take shortcuts - time spend here will pay off with beautiful texture. When adding eggs - add one at a time and mix well after each addition. Sometimes with minor issues during creaming (too long, too short, too warm) when adding last two eggs you may notice the mixture splitting (scrambled eggs). Don’t worry and proceed. The texture will still be fine!
- Don’t over-mix - when flour is added, only few gentle stirs are needed to bring the mixture together.
- Milk - usually, in pound cakes, flour and liquid are added in turns, always finishing with dry ingredients. In our classic pound cake we are going granny’s style - she always added few Tablespoons of milk or sour cream at the end to bring the batter to the desired consistency. What this gives you is this unique, melt-in-your-mouth, soft and tender crumb. Follow the recipe, there will be no regrets.
- Baking tins - this one is important, especially if you are baking in a loaf tin. Make sure to brush loaf tin with thin layer of butter and line with two criss-crossed pieces of parchment paper leaving some 3-5cm overhang/collar above the rim of the tin (alternatively you may opt to bake in a tall loaf tin 10x20cm/900g). Depending on how well creaming goes and how large your large eggs are (we use 5x60g eggs) the cake may puff up above the rim. The collar will prevent any overflow.
- Warm Lemon-Salted Butter Glaze - prepare the glaze just before taking the cake out of the oven. Apply warm glaze onto a hot cake. Take your time applying the glaze - brush in 3-4 turns, take it slowly, it should take 5-7 minutes for the cake to fully soak in the glaze.
- Lemon-Poppy Seed Icing - coconut oil and poppy seeds are adding lovely flavour to the cake. If you are not going for blue-ish hue in your icing - don’t fry poppy seeds, mix them into icing as a last step. However, if you are not a fan of poppy seeds or coconut oil - replace coconut oil with salted butter and skip poppy seeds altogether.
This Lemon Pound Cake will keep fresh and enjoyable for 5-7 days.
Lemon Pound Cake Recipe
Yield: 16 servings
Time: 30 min prep + 55 min baking
Tin: 10cmx20cm loaf tin (2lb/900g, see notes) OR 10-cup/12-cup bundt cake form
- 290g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 300g caster sugar
- zest from 3 lemons - 2 Tbsps (you will use lemon juice for the glaze and icing)
- 300g unsalted butter, room temperature (soft but not oily)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 100ml full-fat milk, room temperature
Lemon-Salted Butter Glaze:
- 1 Tbsp (20g) salted or unsalted butter (with a pinch of salt)
- 5 Tbsps (75ml) clear lemon juice
- 5 Tbsps (75g) sugar
Lemon-Poppy Seed Icing:
- 1 Tbsp (20g) coconut oil
- 1 generous Tbsp (15g) poppy seeds
- 2 Tbsps (30ml) clear lemon juice
- 2-3 tsps (10ml-15ml) milk
- 180g confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1. Preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan forced). If you are baking in a loaf tin - brush tin with butter and line with two criss-crossed pieces of parchment paper, making sure to leave 3-4cm collar/overhang above the rim of the tin. If you are baking in bundt cake form - brush tin with thin layer of butter and dust with flour (remove excess flour).
2. Prepare dry ingredients: Mix flour with baking powder and baking soda and sift twice. Set aside. Using palms of your hands rub lemon zest into sugar (to release citrusy flavour). Using food processor or grinder, process lemon sugar into fine powder. Sift ground lemon sugar to make sure there are no granules remaining.
3. Prepare creamy base: In your main mixing bowl, on medium speed (paddle attachment or handheld mixer), beat butter for 2 minutes until fluffy. Mixing on medium-high speed start adding lemon sugar - 2 Tablespoons at a time, mixing well in-between each addition. Scrape sides of the bowl every so often to make sure the butter is creaming evenly. It should take 5-8 minutes to fully incorporate the sugar.
4. Combine: Add salt to your creamy base and mix for few seconds. Start adding eggs - one at a time, mixing well in-between each addition (low-medium speed). If, by chance, the texture becomes curdle-looking (issues with creaming) - just proceed with adding all the eggs (it will not have an impact on final bake). Add 2 tsps vanilla extract, reduce speed to low and add sifted flour in two turns. Mix only until all flour is incorporated and no flour pockets remain. As a last step - add milk and mix on lowest speed only until combined. Pour cake batter into the tin.
5. Bake at 180C (160C fan forced) for 50-55 minutes (check bundt tin after 50min, cake baked in a loaf tin should be ready after 55 min). Check with skewer if fully baked through. When ready, let the cake cool in the tin for 3-5 minutes and brush with warm lemon-salted butter glaze (when cake is still hot).
6. Lemon-Butter Glaze: In a pot with heavy bottom, over low heat, melt butter, add sugar and lemon juice and on low heat warm up until sugar is fully dissolved (don’t cook!). Brush the cake (when still hot) - apply the glaze in 3-4 turns (let the glaze soak in slowly - it will take 5-7 minutes to apply the glaze fully). Let the cake cool in the tin for 15-20 minutes, run thin knife around the edges and gently flip onto the cooling rack to cool completely. Apply the icing when the cake is fully cooled.
7. Lemon-Poppy Seed Icing: In a small pot melt coconut oil and wait for few seconds for the oil to reach higher temperature. When ready, add poppy seeds and fry for 20 seconds. Take the mixture off the heat and add lemon juice. Add confectioners’ sugar, 2-3 tsps milk and mix until smooth. Decorate the cake.