Apparently I have a compulsion with lemon loaf cakes.  I see one and then I absolutely must bake one.  Courtney shared this recipe recently and after that, I had a one track mind.  I kept thinking about this cake, kept wanting to make it, until I couldn’t wait any longer, so I did.  Then I discovered two problems.  First, this cake is far too easy to make.  I mean, I could literally go into the kitchen right now and whip one up in a matter of minutes.  Why am I not doing this?

And the second problem?  Its magnetic pull.  So incredibly hard to resist.  The lemon soaking syrup and lemon glaze take the flavor up a notch.  It’s equal parts sweet and sour, and lemony but not in a mouth-puckering way.  I was good most days and waited until after dinner to enjoy my slice for the day.  One Sunday morning I may have enjoyed it as a breakfast treat…maybe.  Here’s to a bit of laid back weekend baking.  Enjoy!


For the cake:
¾ cup cake flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest (about 1-2 lemons)
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
16 tbsp. (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the syrup:
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze: 
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice


  • 01

    To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.  In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice.  With the mixer on low speed, blend in the melted butter.  On low speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until combined.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, again just until incorporated.

  • 02

    Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.  Bake 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and reduce the oven temperature to 325˚ F.  Continue baking 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan at least 15-20 minutes.

  • 03

    Turn the cake out of the pan and transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet.  To make the lemon syrup, combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, cooking just until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Poke the top of the warm cake all over with a toothpick or skewer and pour the lemon syrup over the top.

  • 04

    When the cake is completely cool, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk to blend until smooth.  Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.  Let stand briefly until the glaze sets.  Slice and serve.
  • oh this looks soooo good. i love lemon loaf cake. it is one of my favorites. but i have yet to find the perfect recipe. i am definitely going to give this one a try as the recipes you share are always the best. thanks so much for sharing… *off to the kitchen and check if i have everything on hand*

  • aimee @shugarysweets

    I made a lemon loaf cake a few weeks ago. So incredibly irresistible. Your pictures are gorgeous!

  • This is one of my all time favorite desserts! Yum!

  • Missy

    Annie, your photos are absolutely phenomenal!! You make every recipe look very tempting so now I’m compelled to make this cake for my in-laws tomorrow. :)

  • Stef

    This cake looks and sounds fantastic! The only thing I don’t have is cake flour, but I might just have to make my own so I can make this loaf soon.

  • Bunny

    Huh, I was just thinking about making a lemon loaf cake for the weekend. It looks amazing!

  • Kelsey

    Cake for breakfast isn’t such a terrible thing once in a while. I’ve heard a few dietitians say it’s actually better than having for dessert because your body has the rest of the day to burn the calories from it. Reason enough for me!

  • Lynn

    This lemon cake looks amazing and so good! I just want to say I found your website by accident and now find myself every day seeing what wonderful things to try. You have inspired me!

  • Samara

    This looks like Starbucks Lemon Loaf Cake, only much much better :) Thanks!!

  • Caroline L.

    One of my favorite treats ever with a cup of coffee! Except, in the fall/winter, it somehow switches over to a pumpkin loaf haha… :)

  • Tess

    Annie – you are an amazing woman. I couldn’t get through my week without checking in with you. Thank you for sharing your inner most being with a complete stranger. Bless You !

  • This looks awesome Annie! I know that feeling re things being too easy to whip up – I feel that way about cookie dough – I make a miniature batch too many times but it never makes it to the oven!

  • Jessica

    this looks phenomenal! i’ve been seeing your blog as a source of so many recipes lately and decided to come check it out. you are officially awesome – i swear we are like the same person. but how do you have the time to cook AND be a resident? what specialty are you?

  • Cambria Washington

    Oh man! My local indi-coffee shop carries this and I pay $2.00 a slice for it. My 6-year old loves it, so I’ll definitely be trying this recipe!

  • Ann P.

    Wow that crumb looks perfect! i love the photography here. so happy and warm :)

  • mary mary quite contrary

    Love it ….anything sweet with lemon, bowls me over….must try, thanks for the recipe !! Mary

  • Patti T.

    I swear, looking at your gorgeous picture, I could almost taste the lemony flavor, almost. Guess I will have to make my own, soon!

  • Vicki Bensinger

    There’s a place down the road that sells a wonderful lemon cake that I’ve always wanted to make. This sounds like it could be close to their recipe. Since its suppose to be a stormy weekend I may have to try this.

  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes

    Oh I love this kind of dessert!!

  • Julia S

    This looks amazing! I have to say, I found your blog very recently and wish I had found it sooner.

  • Denise @ TLT

    I adore lemon loaf cakes, so the title of this post was enough to cinvince me;) But the pictures and description did the rest: need to make this. Very, very soon!

  • sweetsugarbelle

    I can see where you had a hard time resisting! I LOVE lemon loaf!

  • Leah

    This looks great! My one question- I see you halved the recipe from the original source, but it does not appear that you halved the baking soda (both the original source and yours list 1/4 tsp of baking soda). I’m not sure if the error was on your end or Cook Like a Champion’s. I just wanted to ask you about that before I make this cake so I get the proper results!

  • Maryam @ Maryams Pastry

    Looks so good and delicious!
    would love to try that for sure


    Oh no! No I have to make one! Looks like an awesome recipe!

  • Sarah

    Oh my… I found a (very) similar recipe on Pinterest a month or so ago, except it used yogurt instead of sour cream and added blueberries. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I did not share this with my coworkers as intended and ate the whole thing myself! (I did, eventually, make another to share.) This loaf cake is AMAZING.

  • annieseats

    It’s not enough to matter. I made it as listed here. Enjoy :)

  • rm

    Yummy and very, very, lemony. I did the yogurt for sour cream substitution and it seemed fine. I made 2 loaves; one for me (and a friend) and another with blueberries for my parents, and judging by the fact that there isn’t any left, I think that was very good too.

  • I made this for my coworkers yesterday and it was fantastic!

  • I made this on the weekend. It was a huge hit at my house!

  • annieseats

    You are so sweet :) Thank you for reading.

  • Rachel

    This looks so yummy! I wonder how this would fair as mini muffins, have you ever tried it this way? Slightly more portable and shareable–is that a word? Either way, looks delicious!

  • annieseats

    It would be fine, I’m sure, but I think loaf cake is pretty portable and sharable, not to mention way more low maintenance than scooping all that batter. Napkin, eat with hands, done and done!

  • Eva

    Seriously amazing! Made it last night for my birthday ‘cake’. Delicious.

  • I baked this loaf cake about a week ago. What an epic fail! My husband and I were laughing so hard because I love to cook and I know my way around the kitchen. It tasted like heaven but looked like a toilet seat. I’ve decided to not let this cake best me. I’m going to try again tonight. :)

  • Sarah

    I just made this instead of our Saturday trip to Starbucks. The taste was great, but the texture was VERY WET (almost like it was greasy, but didn’t taste greasy) – I used Greek Yogurt in place of Sour Cream because that is all I had in the house. I am going to try again as described above, but any thoughts on why the yogurt didn’t work as a substitute?

  • annieseats

    I actually don’t think that result has anything to do with the yogurt. I bake with yogurt and sour cream interchangeably and have never had any problems. This is quite a moist cake, especially if you used the soaking syrup) and if it was actually truly wet, then it is possible it wasn’t baked through completely.

  • Ruthi East

    You have two lemon cake recipes. Which do you like the best?

  • Lemoncello

    I have made tons of lemon loaves but this was the best consistency and exactly what I was looking for. I think it is because of the blend or flours. Thanks!!!!!

  • annieseats

    Honestly I really like them both, and I think which I chose to make would have to do more with what ingredients I had on hand. But if pressed, I guess this one would be my favorite. It’s pretty great.

  • jasmine jj

    I tried but mine is too dense. Going to try again

  • beth

    I tried this over the weekend. It was amazing! I made 2 small loaves instead of the one 9 inch pan. My 9 year old actually cried because I wrapped one up to give away :) Great recipe. Thanks for sharing. Next on the list is the granola.

  • Zoe

    Delicious. Beautiful. Moist. Perfect.

  • Tasha Fontenot

    Do you think it will be as good with just using all purpose flour? I SO want to make this TODAY! No cake flour in the house.

  • annieseats

    Sorry I couldn’t respond sooner. Hopefully you figured it out!

  • Denise Wesely

    I just put the glaze on this. Oh my! Love it! Mine came out very dense, but that is how I love it. Can’t wait to taste it after it’s aged a bit. Yum!

  • sarah_tobler

    I was really excited to try this because I love all things lemon! I did everything right, but when I took the very first bite I was extremely disappointed. The flavor was OK (not nearly as good as I imagined) but the texture was far too “eggy” for me. I guess I thought it would be more like a cake-bread texture, but it was more like spongecake or something. No offense, but I probably won’t be making this again. Thanks for the recipe, anyway!


    I made this yesterday for a picnic and it turned out so pretty and very good. I turned them into little bundt cakes. To make sure you don’t get dense cakes, do not overmix and make sure everything is at room temperature. Also to pull out of the oven when it is a little soft in the center because it will continue to cook after you pull it out. I think these two factors contributes to a moist cake.

  • I just made this and followed the recipe. The middle of the loaf collapsed while in oven and is soggy while the rest of the cake is cooked to the texture it should be. Any idea what could have happened?

  • annieseats

    Sounds like it just needed to bake a little longer. It’s possible your oven runs on the cool side.

  • Anna Ferrante

    The same thing happened to me! I put it back in with no success.

  • Kandi

    I loved this cake and so did my husband, 2 teens, 11 year old, my mom, and neighbors!! Had to make 2 loafs to go around. Perfect balance of sweet and sour and a great texture. It’s the best lemon cake I have ever eaten (and I’ve tried several). I feel proud that I made it! Thanks Annie!

  • Alison

    I used this lemon cake to make some lemon cake balls! they were a hit at the office :)

  • Elizabeth from Indy

    My mom made this for my birthday last week. It was absolutely delicious! Thanks again for another great recipe, Annie!

  • Kelli Harrold

    Is the amount of butter correct in this recipe? 16oz seems like a lot and my cake is very greasy. I don’t think I’d make it again.

  • annieseats

    Yes that is correct. Sorry to hear you didn’t like it, it’s one of our favorites!

  • Megan Nielsen

    I made made dozens of recipes from your site and love them all! Unfortunately I am with many others who totally failed at this one. :( The only thing I can think of was the butter. Do you let it cool until it’s almost set again?

  • annieseats

    No, the butter shouldn’t be an issue. I’m not sure what the problem is – I’ve made this countless times without any issue. My best guess is just needing to bake it longer.