Pound cake is one of those exceedingly simple baking recipes that can be altered to suit almost any taste. I usually go with lemon, but with the addition of some extracts, fruit, chocolate, cocoa powder, or whatever else you like, it becomes the perfect base for a wide range of tasty desserts. I remember having pound cake a lot growing up, so I decided I wanted to perfect a sweet lemon cake recipe to turn into a staple for the household.
I’ve made this cake a couple of times in my attempts to perfect the recipe. In the process, I learned a few things.
- If you use darker pans (and I do; my loaf pans are dark-colored) you need to use a slightly lower baking temperature. My first attempts at this cake turned out almost burned because of it, while still being underdone in the middle.
- It can be tricky to determine how done these cakes are all the way through using just a knife test. I started using a target temperature, and it’s worked wonderfully. I aim for 212ºF, which is what Alton Brown recommends.
- Lemon recipes like this always work best with the juice from a fresh lemon, and fresh lemon zest. The juice from a bottle and dried zest just don’t impact as much flavor. Just make sure you get a good lemon; they can be bitter sometimes!
I also use shortening in this recipe. It makes the cake more tender, but that’s about it. If you’re worried about the downsides of shortening, you can just replace it with butter and the cake should turn out fine.
This lemon pound cake gets glazed with a simple lemon icing, which I think is plenty for the dessert. My partner, though, wanted a little more, and used my Fruit Compote Recipe to make a topping. Both work great!
I also tried two different methods of icing the cakes. On the left, I used a pour-over, and on the right, I used an icing spatula. I like the pour-over more, but I’m a fan of the icing. Either one works fine.
If you try out this recipe, let me know how it works out for you! What do you put on top, or is the lemon and icing enough?
Iced Lemon Pound Cake
- 2 Loaf Pan
- Stand Mixer
- Mixing Bowl
- Lemon Juicer
For the Cake
- 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 3 Cups White Sugar
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter Softened. + extra to grease the pans.
- ½ Cup Shortening
- 5 Eggs
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- 6 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Lemon's Zest
For the Icing
- 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 3-4 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Use butter to grease the loaf pans, then dust with flour.
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl and set aside.
- In the stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and shortening.
- Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each egg.
- Add about ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter and eggs and mix until just blended.
- Add half the milk and blend.
- Add half the remaining flour mixture, and blend again.
- Add the remaining milk, blend. Add the remaining flour mixture, blend.
- Add the lemon juice and zest, blending one final time.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pans evenly, giving them about 1-2 inches of space to rise.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a probe thermometer indicates the internal temperature has reached 212°F.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes. Turn the loaves out onto a cooling rack to cool until icing.
- Make the icing by combining powdered sugar and lemon juice until the desired consistency has been reached. If it's too thick, add more lemon; too thin, add more sugar.
- Ice the cakes using your preferred method, then slice and enjoy!