Lemon Pound Cake with Vanilla Bean Glaze

 Lemon Pound Cake with Vanilla Bean Glaze
When I came across a version of this recipe it was love at first sight. I’ve always been a huge fan of pound cake, but this recipe promised a pound cake that was moist and fluffy. That sounds a little weird for pound cake, right? But really, who wants to bite in to a dense, dry cake? So I went to work adjusting things here and there so that it would be extra moist and so that the lemon flavor would really pop. Instead of doing a lemon glaze for the top, I opted for a light and simple vanilla bean glaze. That was a great decision! The cake turned out to be everything that I had hoped for- moist, fluffy and flavorful. Stephen was circling the cake as it sat on the counter and kept asking me when it would be ready to eat. As soon as I had photographed it we cut ourselves a few slices and dug in. He agreed that it would be perfect with poppyseeds and I thought it would be great with a handful of fresh blueberries! I hope that you’ll give this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed! Enjoy this lovely summer treat!

Lemon Pound Cake

1¾ c. all-purpose flour
1¼ c. sugar
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
5 eggs
⅓ c. sour cream
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
Zest of 3 lemons
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. lemon extract (optional)
½ tsp. vanilla 
¾ c. blueberries *see note below
OR 3 tbsp. poppyseeds
Lemon simple syrup:
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. fresh lemon juice
Vanilla bean glaze:
½ c. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. milk
¼ tsp. vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place your rack in the middle of the oven (mine was the second “shelf” from the bottom). Lightly grease one 9×5 loaf pan with butter, then lightly dust with flour, set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon oil, and vanilla for 3 minutes (on medium-high) or until light and fluffy. Add sour cream, beat until incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. 
3. In a small mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. With mixing speed on low, gradually add dry ingredients, mixing for an additional 45 seconds after all of the dry ingredients have been added. Remove bowl from stand and fold in any “mix-ins” (blueberries* or poppyseeds), if desired.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour or until the top becomes golden brown in color. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and lemon juice to create a syrup. Once sugar has dissolved allow to gently simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
6. Remove loaf from pan after 20 minutes of cooling. Using a toothpick or cake tester, poke holes into the top of the cake- lots of ’em! Brush the syrup over top (and the sides too) so that it seeps into the cake. Allow the loaf to cool for another 1½ hours before frosting with glaze.
7. To prepare the glaze, in small mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla bean paste, and salt. It may not look like a lot, but a little goes a long way, trust me! Spread over the loaf and allow to drip over the edges and sides. Allow to sit for 20 minutes to harden before serving.
NOTE: If you are planning on folding in blueberries, toss them in flour before adding, this will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf.
NOTE: You can find vanilla bean paste (Nielsen-Massey brand) at Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, King Arthur Flour and many other baking stores.
Adapted from Best Summer Desserts, Lemon Pound Cake | Makes one 9×5 loaf

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About the Author


Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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  1. I think I would love a slice of that this weekend! Now I just need the time to make that gorgeous cake!

  2. I have been searching for a good lemon pound cake recipe and yours looks perfect, I cannot wait to try it. I’ve pinned it so I can find it again!
    I linked over from the Friday Flair Link Party where I am participating too and would love it if you’d stop by.
    Hugs, Antonella 🙂

  3. Now this is my kind of recipe! I love lemony cakes and treats so this is perfect for me! Great idea to make a vanilla bean glaze for the topping. Pinned and sharing on FB, G+ and Twitter. Thanks for sharing at Marvelous Mondays!

  4. Looks wonderful! I love lemon desserts and I love pound cake. I need to try this! Thanks for sharing with us! I’ve pinned it.

  5. Hello! Visiting from Tuesday Talent Show, and couldn’t help drooling over your lemon pound cake. I haven’t had a lemon cake in a long time – I think I need to make this soon! Photo is beautiful. Pinned!

  6. Hello! I was wondering if there was a way to make the vanilla bean topping w/fresh vanilla beans instead of the paste? If so, any idea how to do that?

    1. I’m sorry to hear that! I’ve made this recipe twice now and it’s turned out just fine for me. The edges do get fairly brown- I’d suggest increasing the baking time for 10-15 more minutes if the center was still soft.

    2. Thanks for the reply. I went ahead and glazed it and I’m about to cut into it. I think it will be ok. Great recipe

  7. I’d like to double this recipe to use in a bundt pan, would you suggest baking at a different temp/time? I’m not much of a baker but I really want to try this, and I’m serving it at a family reunion so I want it to be great! Also would you say that using half of the butter substituted with applesauce or greek yogurt would be a bad idea?

    1. Hi Tracy! I would definitely suggest using greek yogurt instead of applesauce for this recipe. How big is your bundt pan… maybe we can figure it out together?!

      1. Yes. Do u double for a bundt pan? I mean mine is a standard size….I’m not a baker either but wanted to try this…I borrowed the pan! Bake at same temp? Any other changes or substitutes? Headed to store now. Thanks. Oh if I can’t find ‘paste’ can I use something else? Thanks

        1. I’ve actually never made it in a bundt pan, so I can’t really say. You can just use pure vanilla extract along with the inside of a vanilla bean.

    1. It’s like extract but more concentrated. You can find it at specialty stores or online (places like Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma). You can always add more zest as a substitute for this. Hope that helps!

  8. This was fantastic. I almost skipped the simple syrup but figured I should follow the recipe to a T at least the first time and I’m glad I did. No need to change this recipe in any shape or form. Not a piece left to take back home from our Mother’s Day potluck. Made it a day and a half prior to the potluck and it didn’t suffer a bit. Thank you for such a wonderful cake.

  9. Oh my goodness!!! Another great recipe! Found this on Pinterest, and just got done making it gluten free. It is outstanding. Again, can I post a gluten free version to my site? LOVE!

  10. I made your lemon pound cake last night and have yet to taste it. However your recipe itself mentions lemon extract as an optional ingredient. Then your directions says to add lemon oil? I didn’t have either so i omitted it. It was confusing. Hope it doesn’t affect the flavor

  11. In the description you said lemon oil, not familiar- can you ecplain before I make this wonderful cake – I’m a lemon nut

    1. It’s a baking oil, more intense than extract. You can find them on baking sites online or you can just use a tad bit more extract 🙂

  12. can you make smaller size loafs? I would like to make some for the holidays and a little on is better for a basket. How would you check for doness?

    1. Hi Joyce! You can definitely make smaller loaves. I’ve done it with other recipes before but never with this one. I’d check for doneness with cake tester (just inserted into the center of the loaves) or by gently touching the top for firmness. They should be pretty firm before pulling them out. Hope that helps! Please come back and let me know how they turned out 🙂

  13. I made this yesterday & it came out like a brick. I know pound cake is more dense than regular cake but this was no good. While it was in the oven it had simmering butter floating on the top that I drained a couple of times. The flavor was good but consistency….not so much.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve made this cake several times and have never had issues with butter floating on top!

    1. Hi Sali! I’ve never tried using this recipe for cupcakes, I think they’d be rather dense (unless you’re still serving them as pound cupcakes). You could always make mini loaves out of them.

  14. Could I make this a few days in advance? How well does it stay and how should it be stored in fridge or at room temp? Thank you! Looks delicious!

    1. Yes! And We usually keep ours in the fridge, although it does become a bit more dense the longer it sits in there.

  15. Hello, making this for Easter dessert tomorrow, trying to decide if I should put the icing on top and store in container or add the icing tomorrow half hour before serving? Thanks!

  16. Hello Natalie
    I would like some advice on making pound cakes from scratch, I follow the direction but they always turn out very heavy and dry. I have no problem making cakes from scratch just pound cakes, can you help me with this.

    1. Pound cakes can be tricky, they shouldn’t be overmixed or overbaked. I like to keep an eye on mine about 15 minutes before it should be done (according to the recipe) to start testing for doneness. You can always swap out sour cream for Greek yogurt which might help create a slightly lighter loaf. Hope that helps!

  17. I made this cake for a family member birthday and it turned out great!! It did brown quickly so I put foil over cake near the end. Very easy and delicious recipe!