This lemon loaf is a moist, tangy, lemon pound cake topped with a sweet lemon icing. Its bursting with fresh lemon flavor, and might be even better than Starbucks’ lemon loaf.
This lemon loaf is a total winner, it’s dense like a pound cake, but still tender, moist, rich and buttery, sweet and tangy, and topped with the perfect thick lemony icing on top.
This recipe is similar to Starbuck’s Lemon Loaf. And since they serve lemon loaf at Starbucks that means its acceptable for breakfast, right? Or it’s perfect for making up a loaf for a baby shower, or just enjoying it whenever you’re craving it – which I promise will be often.
How to make a lemon loaf?
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Continue mixing until it’s light in color and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go.
While stirring, add in the eggs, one at a time, until just mixed. Then add in the lemon juice, lemon zest, extract, 4and stir till just combined. Add in half the dry mixture, and stir till combined, then add in half the buttermilk, and stir till just combined. Then repeat with the rest of the flour mixture, and the rest of the buttermilk, until you have a thick batter. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you go.
Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan, and bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the loaf cool to room temperature before topping it with the icing or it will be too warm and will melt right off the sides.
Whisk the powdered sugar, cream, and lemon juice together in a small bowl, add more powdered sugar as needed to make the icing thicker, you don’t want it runny. Pour it over the cake, and let it harden before slicing up and serving.
Tips for making this lemon loaf:
- Use fresh squeezed lemon juice. Don’t use the bottled stuff, trust me. It will taste so much better with fresh, and you’ll only need about 2 lemons for both the juice and zest required for this recipe.
- You can add a couple drops of yellow food coloring to the batter if you want a nice yellow color in the loaf. (I did this)
- If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own by adding 1.5 tsp of lemon juice or vinegar to 1/2 cup of milk. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
- I love this lemon cake baked up as a lemon loaf in a bread pan, Use an 8x4inch bread pan for a thicker and taller loaf, but a 9x5inch pan will work too.
- You can also make the cake in a 9inch round cake pan, or a square 8inch or 9inch pan (Though the cake will be thinner with a 9inch pan).
- The loaf bakes for a long time so sometimes the edges and bottom get quite brown. They shouldn’t burn, but if you’re using a dark metal pan I recommend putting a cookie sheet below the loaf pan as it bakes to block some of the heat. You can also wrap the outsides of the pan in wet paper towel to distribute the heat, though that may make so you don’t get the nice domed top of the bread.
- Half way through baking, cover the top of the pan with foil to prevent further browning.
- Start with 1 TBS of the juice and cream and powdered sugar for the icing as called for. Add more powdered sugar if needed if the icing is too thin, because you want the icing nice and thick, but still pourable. Add 1/2 tsp more of liquid if it’s too thick.
How to store lemon loaf?
When the bread is completely cooled, and the icing is hardened, wrap the bread carefully in plastic wrap or store in another airtight container. You can store it at room temperature for 4 to 5 days. Don’t store the lemon loaf cake in the fridge or it will dry it out quicker.
This lemon loaf can also be frozen. You can freeze the whole loaf, or individual slices. Place them on a baking sheet first and freeze for 2 hours until nice and hard. Then wrap them in plastic wrap, then in foil and place in the freezer for up to 6 months. Take out a slice (or the loaf) and thaw at room temperature until ready to eat.
This sweet lemon loaf is practically a lemon cake, and maybe that’s why I like it so much. But I promise all lemon lovers will love it too. It’s tangy, sweet, moist, and has the perfect icing on top to bring out that sweetness even more! You’ll be glad you made a whole loaf so you can eat more than one slice instead of buying a slice at Starbucks!
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Iced Lemon Loaf (Starbuck's Copycat)
For the Lemon Bread:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter (softened)
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 TBS lemon juice
- 1 TBS lemon zest
- 1 tsp lemon extract (optional)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
For the Glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- 1 TBS heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8x4inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
- Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add in the sugar and continue mixing for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl occasionally as it mixes.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, while mixing on low.
- Add in the lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract. Stir till just combined.
- Add in half the dry ingredients, and mix slowly. Stir until just combined.
- Add in half of the buttermilk, and slowly mix it into the mixture until just mixed.
- Repeat with the remaining flour mixture, and buttermilk, until it's all combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top evenly with a rubber spatula.
- Bake for about 55-65 minutes until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean. Add aluminum foil over the top of the loaf pan after about 30 minutes. (The loaf can take a long time to bake, so don't worry if it takes longer than recommended)
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Let the loaf cool in the loaf pan for 1 hour, then carefully remove to continue cooling on the wire rack.
For the Glaze:
- When the loaf is completely cooled, whisk together the ingredients for your glaze.
- Add more powdered sugar if the glaze seems too thin.
- Pour glaze over the cake and let the glaze set completely before slicing and serving for nice clean slices. (You can also pour the glaze over after your first hour of cooling, and serve the loaf warm, if you're okay with slices and glaze being messier)
- Slice and serve.