February 3, 2023| By

Lemon Loaf

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
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This Lemon Loaf Cake Recipe is a moist lemon cake with a stunning white chocolate lemon glaze on top! It's super easy to make, full of fresh lemon flavor, and has the a tender and moist crumb that will have you hooked at first bite!

For more lemon desserts, try this Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes, Lemon Olive Oil Cake, Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes!

a lemon loaf on a serving tray with lemon glaze dripping down.
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This easy Lemon Loaf Cake is my new obsession. The cake itself is just so soft and tender and bursting with lemon flavor. Then there's the glaze! It's a white chocolate lemon ganache that makes this already buttery lemon cake have an added layer of decadence. It may be a mouthful but it's a simple lemon glaze that is so easy to make, you could do it in your sleep.

I've tried so many lemon cake recipes and I've always found that the lemon flavor was more subtle as opposed to packed with that tangy flavor at first bite. This recipe, however, is quite the contrary.

It has the perfect balance of lemon and vanilla flavors and uses lemon zest and lemon extract to give you that undeniable citrus punch in every bite. Lemon lovers, bookmark this recipe!

lemon loaf cake cut into slices and placed on top of each other on a silver platter.

Dare I say that my homemade version is even better than the Starbucks lemon loaf?! It's such a great recipe that I stand behind that statement. And trust me, I've tried tons of copycat Starbucks recipes and this is truly the best lemon loaf.

Let's make this cake together with step-by-step photos below to ensure this becomes new foolproof, tried and true go-to lemon loaf recipe.

Happy baking!

Ingredient Notes

a slice of lemon cake on a silver plate with a spoon.

Dry Ingredients

  • All Purpose Flour and Cornstarch - this combination is essentially cake flour which makes for a soft and tender cake.
  • Baking Powder - make sure your baking powder isn't expired!
  • Ground Ginger - yes, ground ginger! Believe it or not, ginger actually enhances the lemon flavor. You don't really taste the ginger at all.
  • Kosher Salt

Wet Ingredients

  • Lemon Zest - we're using fresh lemon zest for added lemony flavor.
  • Granulated Sugar - adding white sugar for both sweetness and moisture!
  • Unsalted Butter - be sure to use room temperature butter that been sitting at room temp for at least 30 minutes.
  • Vegetable Oil - you can also use olive oil, canola oil, or any neutral oil.
  • Eggs
  • Lemon Extract - if you don't have lemon extract, you can use fresh lemon juice instead. I like using lemon extract
  • Vanilla Extract - to smooth out the strong citrus flavor.
  • Whole Milk

Delicious Lemon Glaze

  • White Chocolate
  • Heavy Cream
  • Lemon Extract

If you prefer a more traditional lemon icing, you can use 1 ¼ cup of powdered sugar, 2 tbsps of lemon juice, and 1-2 tbsps of milk. Simply whisk it all together and pour it on top of the cooled cake.

You'll also need a 8.5x4 inch loaf pan.

Substitutions

  • Lemon Extract: if you've run out of lemon extract, you can use 2 tablespoons of lemon juice instead. For the best flavor, make sure it's fresh lemon juice as opposed to the bottled store bought stuff.
  • Whole Milk: any milk can be used here whether that be oatmilk, cashew milk, almond milk etc.
  • Gluten Free: use your favorite gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour.

Pro Tips

  • Cream butter, oil, and sugar together for the full 5 minutes! This makes sure that the cake is nice and fluffy by beating air into the butter. Once the butter mixture is a pale yellow, you can begin adding the eggs.
  • For best results, be sure to use room temperature ingredients to prevent the batter from breaking. This specifically refers to using room temperature butter, eggs, and milk!
  • When mixing the lemon zest and sugar, make sure to mix for at least 3 minutes to squeeze all of the lemon flavor out of the zest and into the sugar. It makes a huge difference!
  • I recommend using a stand mixer but it's not mandatory for this recipe. You can use an electric hand mixer too!
  • If you notice that the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, cover the edges with a piece of foil and continue baking.

How to Make Lemon Loaf Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 8.5x4 inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
  • First step, mix together the dry ingredients - flour, cornstarch, baking powder, ground ginger, and kosher salt. (Image #1)
dry ingredients whisked together in a bowl - flour, cornstarch, baking powder, ground ginger, and kosher salt.
  • In a separate bowl, make the lemon sugar. Combine lemon zest and sugar. Pinch together for about 3 minutes, until sugar becomes a pale yellow. (Image #2)
lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add room temperature butter, vegetable oil, and lemon sugar and cream together on medium speed for 5 minutes. Then add eggs, one at a time. (Image #3)
  • Add lemon extract and vanilla extract and continue to mix until combined.
  • Add half of the flour mixture into the bowl, then add the milk, and then the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until combined and smooth. (Image #4)
  • Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. (Image #5)
Lemon Loaf cake batter in a loaf pan.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, make the white chocolate lemon glaze. In a small bowl, add 2 tbsps of heavy cream and white chocolate and microwave for 30 seconds. Whisk together until all chocolate is melted. If not fully melted, microwave for an additional 10 seconds. Whisk in remaining 1-2 tbsps of heavy cream and add lemon extract.
  • Pour glaze on top of the loaf.

Variations

  • Add poppy seeds! Make this iced lemon loaf into a lemon poppyseed cake by adding 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds to the cake batter!
  • Use another citrus! Mix it up a little bit and try swapping lemon for grapefruit, orange, meyer lemons, or even limes!
  • Add a lemon simple syrup. While the cake is still hot, pour lemon syrup all over the cake for added lemon flavor!

Storing

lemon loaf cut into slices on a serving tray with sliced lemons.

Store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for up to 5 days. I do not recommend storing this loaf in the refrigerator as it can cause it to dry out.

Freezing: Once the cake is cooled and the glaze is set, cover the cake with plastic wrap and place in an airtight container to prevent it from becoming freezer burnt. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Recipe FAQs

When do you glaze a lemon loaf?

When the loaf has cooled completely, drizzle glaze on top.

Why did my lemon loaf sink in the middle?

There are many reasons that this can happen - the most common is underbaking the cake. When the cake isn't fully baked, the cake will collapse onto itself. Be sure to stick a toothpick into the center of the cake to make sure it comes out clean. Another reason for a sinking cake could be expired baking powder. Be sure to check your ingredients prior to baking!

What is the difference between a loaf cake and regular cake?

The differences are few! Loaf cakes are simply baked in a loaf pan while regular cakes are baked in bundt pans or round or square baking pans. Because loaf pans tend to be smaller, loaf cakes also tend to have different quantities of ingredients.

More Cake Recipes

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

a lemon loaf on a serving tray with lemon glaze dripping down.

Lemon Loaf

This Lemon Loaf Cake is a moist lemon cake with a sweet lemon glaze! It's easy and full of lemon flavor - you'll be hooked at first bite!
Serving: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Calories: 450kcal

Equipment

  • 8.5x4 Loaf Pan

Ingredients

  • 1 ⅓ cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3 tbsps Cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp Ground Ginger
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbsps Lemon Zest
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsps Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Large Eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 ¼ tsp Lemon Extract
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 tbsps Whole Milk (room temperature)

White Chocolate Lemon Glaze

  • 4 oz White Chocolate
  • 4 tbsps Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp Lemon Extract

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 8.5x4 inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, mix together the dry ingredients - flour, cornstarch, baking powder, ground ginger, and kosher salt.
  • In a small bowl, make the lemon sugar. Combine lemon zest and sugar. Pinch together for about 3 minutes, until sugar becomes a pale yellow.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add room temperature butter, vegetable oil, and lemon sugar and cream together on medium speed for 5 minutes. Then add eggs, one at a time.
  • Add lemon extract and vanilla extract and continue to mix until combined.
  • Add half of the dry ingredients into the bowl, then add the milk, and then the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until combined and smooth.
  • Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, make the white chocolate lemon glaze. In a small bowl, add 2 tbsps of heavy cream and white chocolate and microwave for 30 seconds. Whisk together until all chocolate is melted. If not fully melted, microwave for an additional 10 seconds. Whisk in remaining 1-2 tbsps of heavy cream and add lemon extract.
  • Pour glaze on top of the loaf.

Notes

Substitutions
  • Lemon Extract: if you've run out of lemon extract, you can use 2 tablespoons of lemon juice instead. For the best flavor, make sure it's fresh lemon juice as opposed to the bottled store bought stuff.
  • Whole Milk: any milk can be used here whether that be oatmilk, cashew milk, almond milk etc.
  • Gluten Free: use your favorite gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour.
Pro Tips
  • Cream butter, oil, and sugar together for the full 5 minutes! This makes sure that the cake is nice and fluffy by beating air into the butter. Once the butter mixture is a pale yellow, you can begin adding the eggs.
  • For best results, be sure to use room temperature ingredients to prevent the batter from breaking. This specifically refers to using room temperature butter, eggs, and milk!
  • When mixing the lemon zest and sugar, make sure to mix for at least 3 minutes to squeeze all of the lemon flavor out of the zest and into the sugar. It makes a huge difference!
  • I recommend using a stand mixer but it's not mandatory for this recipe. You can use an electric hand mixer too!
  • If you notice that the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, cover the edges with a piece of foil and continue baking.

Nutrition

Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 245mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 820IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Anytime, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    What a lovely tender cake. Easy, lemony and so tender. I didn't have white chocolate so made a lemon glaze and it was great...I certainly will try the offered icing next time though. I'm sure it'll be yum, I say giver those recipe a try... You won't need sorry! Cheers!

  2. 5 stars
    This was so easy to make. It was moist and full of lemon flavor. Definitely making it again for Easter.

  3. 5 stars
    I had never tried lemon in combination with chocolate until making this. Now I can't get enough of this flavor combo - the cake was extra moist too!

  4. 5 stars
    Your lemon loaf is actually the best I've ever tried and I love that I could make it at home. The sweet and tart flavor is beyond!

  5. 5 stars
    I've been trying not to spend money outside of the house, but a certain coffee shop's lemon loaf is my addiction. I made your version and am happy to report this lemon loaf recipe is 10x better than theirs. Addiction broken! LOL!

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious. The lemon loaf was moist with just the right amount of lemon flavor. My family loved it. Thank you for this great recipe.

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