Zingy Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake Recipe

If you are a lover of all things lemon-flavored, then this recipe is for you. Super sweet, moist, and overloaded with lemon juice and zest, this zingy buttermilk lemon pound cake makes it hard to stop at only one slice.

Recipe developer Jennine Rye tells us that there is a trick to making this lemon pound cake absolutely explode with a delicious citrusy tang. As well as baking lemon juice and zest into the sponge, the cake is infused with extra lemon flavor by pricking the warm cake all over, then feeding it with homemade lemon syrup. It also provides extra moisture for the sponge, keeping it soft and tender for days. Alongside the lemon, this pound cake also contains buttermilk, which adds to both the flavor and texture.

As this cake is such a celebration of lemons, we recommend serving it alongside a nice cup of Earl Grey tea with a slice of lemon, or even a cool glass of lemonade, to fully embrace the citrus fruit. Whichever way you choose to enjoy it, we guarantee that you will love this buttermilk lemon pound cake!

Gather the ingredients for buttermilk lemon pound cake

To make the buttermilk lemon pound cake, you will first need to gather the ingredients. The recipe requires plain all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, butter, granulated sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest, buttermilk, and confectioners' sugar (aka powdered sugar).

If you don't have access to buttermilk, don't worry. There are plenty of great buttermilk substitutes available. You can easily replace buttermilk with other common household ingredients, such as a combination of milk and vinegar. Yogurt is a good alternative as well.

Begin to prepare the cake batter

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease an 8-inch loaf pan with butter (nonstick cooking spray works, too). Sift the flour into a bowl to break up clumps and add air. If you don't have a sifter, a fine-mesh sieve or even a whisk works wonderfully. Then, whisk in the baking powder and salt. Set the bowl aside for the moment.

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat together the butter and 1 cup of sugar for 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure the beaters are on the medium to high power. It's important that the sugar and butter are properly creamed as this forms the base of any pound cake, helping to produce a tender and even crumb. So, you don't want to rush this step.

Mix the remaining cake ingredients

After creaming the sugar and butter, beat in the eggs and then fold in the lemon zest. In a separate bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into the buttermilk. Finish the cake batter by folding in small amounts of the flour and the buttermilk mixtures, alternating between the two.

Once everything is thoroughly combined, transfer the cake batter to the prepared loaf pan, smooth the top with a spatula or knife, and then bake the cake for 45 minutes. You'll know that the cake is done when it has

risen and turned golden brown. The top should also spring back when lightly touched with your finger.

Make the lemon syrup

Once removed from the oven, allow the baked cake to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before carefully removing it from the cake tin and setting it back on the cooling rack. It's now time to make the lemon syrup.

To do this, combine ¼ cup sugar with ¼ cup lemon juice in a small saucepan. Then, gradually heat the mixture while stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved into the lemon juice. This should only take a few minutes.

Infuse the cake with the lemon syrup

To infuse the pound cake with the warm lemon syrup, you will want to liberally prick the top so that the syrup can soak into the sponge. Using a long metal or wooden skewer, poke as many holes in the top of the cake as you can manage before gently drizzling the syrup over the top, allowing it to seep into the cake. Don't worry about this step affecting the final presentation of the cake. The icing will cover the holes and give the cake a smooth finish.

Create the icing

The finishing touch is to create the sweet and tangy icing, but wait until the pound cake has cooled completely. Then, in a small bowl, mix together the confectioners' sugar with the remaining lemon juice until a smooth, thick icing has formed.

Decorate and enjoy the lemon pound cake

Once the icing is ready, drizzle it over the cooled cake so it runs down the sides. Finish your delicious dessert by decorating it with any remaining lemon zest if you wish. After the icing sets, cut the pound cake into slices and enjoy it after lunch or dinner or with a refreshing afternoon beverage.

This cake can be stored at room temperature and should be consumed within three days.

Zingy Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake Recipe
5 from 55 ratings
Sweet, zingy, and delicious, this lemon buttermilk pound cake recipe is sure to please. It's also easy to make and bursting with bright lemony flavor.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Slice of lemon pound cake on a plate with a fork
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup softened butter, plus extra for the greasing
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons lemon zest, plus extra to decorate
  • ¼ cup + 5 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • 1 ¼ cups confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease an 8-inch loaf tin.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, sift the flour and whisk in the baking powder and salt. Set to one side.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar for 3 to 4 minutes, until it is pale and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs until they are fully incorporated, and then fold in the lemon zest.
  5. Mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into the buttermilk, and then alternate between folding the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture into the cake batter, until everything is combined.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes, until the cake is golden in color and springs back to the touch.
  7. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the baking tin and setting it on a wire cooling rack over a baking tray.
  8. To make the syrup, combine ¼ cup granulated sugar with ¼ cup lemon juice in a small saucepan. Heat the saucepan on low-medium heat and keep stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved.
  9. Using a wooden or metal skewer, prick the top of the cake and then feed the warm syrup into the sponge until it has all been used up. Allow the cake to cool completely.
  10. To ice the cake, mix together the confectioners' sugar with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, until a thick, smooth icing has formed. Drizzle this over the top of the cooled cake, allowing it to drip over the sides. Decorate the cake with any remaining lemon zest.
Calories per Serving 424
Total Fat 13.5 g
Saturated Fat 7.9 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 92.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 72.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
Total Sugars 50.7 g
Sodium 282.1 mg
Protein 5.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe