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Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

It’s nice to have a cake around the house. It’s nice to have something to slice and serve when the neighbors come over for coffee or when family drops in, but it’s equally nice to have a little something to treat yourself with when you’re at home and looking for a snack. I tend to think that a good, moist bundt cake or tube cake is the way to go, since they don’t need any frosting and often keep a little bit better than layer cakes do because they are much easier to wrap up with plastic wrap and keep fresh (no worries about squishing the icing!).

This cake is just that kind of everyday cake that you want around the kitchen. It’s a Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake that is moist, tender and – most importantly – very flavorful. The lemon in the cake and the lemon glaze keep the cake light and fresh tasting, perfect for an afternoon snack.  Without the glaze, which has plenty of fresh lemon juice, the lemon flavor in the cake is fairly subtle. I baked this cake in a tube pan, the same type of pan that I would use for angel food cake. It is easy to get a cake out of this sort of pan, since the sides are removable, but my favorite thing about it is the fact that you still get to see the beautiful, high-rising top of the cake, with all it’s little nooks and crannies just waiting to be filled with a drizzle of icing.

When you’re mixing up this cake, don’t worry if the batter seems thing. Pound cake, although it is tender in the end, is dense compared to many other cakes and really requires a thick batter to achieve this texture. The butter in the cake lends a nice background flavor to it, but the vegetable oil that I added in is what helps keep it moist for several days after baking.

Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp lemon zest
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in lemon zest, then beat in the eggs one at a time until well-combined.
In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine vanilla, buttermilk and vegetable oil. Working in two or three additions, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the butter mixture, ending with a final addition of dry ingredients. Stir only until no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack before topping with lemon glaze (recipe below)

Serves 16

Lemon Glaze
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake.

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  • The Local Cook
    April 5, 2010

    This would actually NOT be a good thing to keep in my kitchen because, um, I LOVE lemon pound cake and I think I’d eat it all by myself πŸ˜‰

  • barb
    April 5, 2010

    This cake looks wonderful! I’m wondering though why wouldn’t you use some fresh lemon juice in the cake too? Or is there a reason not to put that in the batter?

  • Cheryl Cormier
    April 5, 2010

    gosh, I’d eat the whole thing!

  • Looks so delicious! I’m a lemon lover–this wouldn’t last more than a few minutes in my apartment…too bad for the guests!

  • RLV
    April 6, 2010

    I’m going to make this cake this weekend! πŸ™‚ Thanks for the recipe!

  • Patricia Scarpin
    April 6, 2010

    This is my kind of cake, Nic – lemony and tender, yum! Looks delicious.

  • Linda
    April 6, 2010

    Anything lemon sounds great but this sounds even better. πŸ™‚ Definitely will make it soon!!

  • Baking Monster
    April 6, 2010

    we have some many lemons right now so this sounds terrific!

  • ali @ gimme some oven
    April 6, 2010

    BEAUTIFUL! The lemon+buttermilk combination sounds amazing. And only 1/2 stick of butter? For a pound cake, not bad! πŸ™‚

  • Nicole
    April 11, 2010

    This is in my oven right now…mmm. Except I used 1/2 ww flour and 1/3 brown sugar (what with running out of white πŸ™‚ Let ya know how it turns out. I did add a few squeezes of lemon juice, as I am for some reason unable to ever follow a recipe exactly, I also used yummy irish butter, which I read about on someone’s food blog pound cake post, or was it here? πŸ™‚

  • Tim
    April 12, 2010

    I made it for a meeting Saturday… thanks for another totally awesome recipe!

  • Nicole
    August 25, 2010

    I’m going to make this today or tomorrow to go along with some fresh raspberries I picked up at the farmer’s market. Can’t wait!

  • Sonya
    August 31, 2010

    This recipe is delicious and easy to make. The second time I made it, I used lime instead of lemon. Both delicious!

  • Aviva Goldfarb
    October 13, 2010

    Hi Nicole, I hope you don’t mind if we link to this recipe from PBS Parents.org Kitchen Explorers for a post next week on bringing food to neighbors in need. Your cake looks so delicious and I don’t have a picture of the one we made!

  • Arlene
    February 3, 2011

    I’ve made this a few times now, and each time it’s gobbled up quickly with RAVE reviews! Thanks for sharing the recipe. πŸ™‚

  • pyogazel
    February 13, 2011

    I made this cake yesterday and we manage not to eat it entirely straight out of the oven, we did well because it’s even more delicious this morning! It was my second attempt and as in France I don’t have access to buttermilk I substituted fromage blanc (cottage cheese-ish) the first time, and homemade sour milk (blend of & tbsp white vinegar and 1 cup milk, let it set for a while until it thickens… I waited 12 hours and used only the thick part, discarded the clear liquid) this time. The second ended up being lighter and moister.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  • GG
    February 15, 2011

    This cake is on the other side of delicious! Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough lemons to make 2 Tbsp of lemon zest so I compensated by adding 1 T of zest and 1 tsp of lemon extract. I also didn’t have enough zest for the icing so I made it sans the zest. Still turned out fabulous and I can only imagine how much more lemony it would be with proper ingredients. This one is a definite keeper!

  • Danny Boy
    February 21, 2011

    This cake is soooo good.. I just made this cake but for the drizzle I piped a lemon cream cheese frosting and the kids and I loved it
    2 (8oz) cream cheese
    1/2 Cup of soften butter
    2 1/2 Cups powder sugar
    1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 Tablespoon lemon zest
    juice from 1/2 of lemon

    1. Cream butter and cream cheese.
    2. Add vanilla extract.
    3. Add Lemon zest.
    4. Add lemon juice
    5. Add powder sugar.

    Pipe frosting down cake like a drizzle.. Oh yea I used a bundt pan..

  • Tabitha
    December 3, 2011

    Can I substitute the lemon zest for lemon extract?

  • Sweet Posy Dreams
    May 23, 2012

    Thanks! I made this last night and it turned out great. Will be posting about it on my blog and linking back to you.

  • Hayley
    May 27, 2012

    YUM! I just made this tonight and it was SO YUMMY! I had to add some more lemon juice and water to the glaze so that I could pour it over the cake and I made mine in a bundt. It was SO delicious! My normally non-lemon-loving family gobbled this up.. even my 2 year old! We served the slices with a nice dollop of cool whip πŸ™‚

  • Cynthia
    March 14, 2013

    I see that you used a round pan for this… I want to just a square pan like the one you use for banana loaves. because I’m using a different pan, should I put the cake in the oven for longer for the middle to cook better?

  • Nicole
    March 14, 2013

    Cynthia – If you want to use a regular loaf pan, the baking time should be similar to that of a banana bread. That said, this recipe will probably make more batter than will fit in a standard loaf pan, so you might either way to split it up into two pans (which would probably take less time in the oven) or fill one loaf pan 2/3-3/4 full and bake off any leftover batter in another pan (or muffin pans, for instance).

  • Ruth
    May 24, 2013

    This is the BEST Lemon poundcake recipe I have found!!! Everytime I make it my family cuts into it before it’s totally cooled! I put the glaze on before it’s cooled to let it soak in the cake a little. This cake doesn’t even last 24 hrs in my house!

  • MAL
    June 17, 2013

    This recipe is awesome. Very moist and supple. IÒ€ℒm allergic to citrus so I was unable to use the lemon flavoring so I used vanilla with a splash of almond extract. The cake becomes even more moist the next day. ItÒ€ℒs a very cost effective cake. It takes less butter , eggs and sugar than the typical pound cake recipe in my experience. I was tempted to use cake flour but regular ol ap flour did just fine. ItÒ€ℒs a definite keeper. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Paulette Yates Corry
    December 15, 2013

    This will become a staple in my repertoire .Simply delicious without the garish amounts of butter and sugar in so many other pound cake recipes.The lemon is just enough…love…love…love! Thx Granny:)

  • Sasha
    March 21, 2015

    I have this in 2 loaf pans in the oven right now. The bowl was licked clean, I know its going to be good!

  • Michelle
    June 9, 2015

    I baked this cake about 2 hrs ago. I decided to try a small piece….WOW! Yes, it’s that GOOD. This cake is easy to make, moist and not overly sweet. Thanks for sharing this recipe. πŸ™‚

  • Jessica GH
    August 28, 2015

    I made this cake for a work event, and it got rave reviews! It’s very moist and has a perfect lemon flavor. Mild in the cake and punchy in the glaze. My only regret is that it wasn’t as tall as I would like. I think it’s because I used baking spray rather than Crisco and flour to grease the pan.

    The only change I made was to the glaze and salt content– I always taste and go with my glazes and frostings; loosely following the instructions. I also decreased the salt to 1/2 teaspoon because salted butter was all I had. I think I could go down to 1/4 teaspoon — I think it might have been a little salty. The glaze was sweet and tart, so I think it all balanced out.

    I LOVE the fact that this only uses a stick of butter. I hate buying butter because it can be so expensive, and when I do buy it I try to get at least two packs. it’s nice to have a recipe that doesn’t annihilate my stockpile (SO many recipes call for a whole pack of butter for the cake alone, then frosting is usually a couple extra sticks).

  • Antoinette
    October 8, 2016

    Me and my daughters made this cake and it was frickin AMAZING!!! Perfect texture, just enuff lemon…However i dont have a bundt pan, so we made one brownie pan and a dozen cupcakes. Satisfied my cravings completely.

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