Deliciously buttery lemon loaf cake topped with an extra tart lemon glaze. A simple cake suited for all occasions!

Lemon Loaf Cake

We might have six more weeks of winter to go, but I’m ushering in spring with this decadent and buttery Lemon Loaf Cake.

If you enjoy tangy, citrus-forward desserts, such as this Orange Bundt Cake or Triple Citrus Tart, you will love this simple loaf cake. The addition of whole fat Greek yogurt keeps it moist and tender.

This cake is sweet, yet bursting with fresh lemon flavor and topped with an extra tart lemon glaze. The lemon glaze sets beautifully, offering a burst of citrus flavor in each bite. It keeps you coming back for more!

Lemon Loaf Cake with Glaze

This cake makes for a lovely unfussy everyday snacking or celebration cake. It can be prepared and enjoyed year-round, but is particularly suited for the spring (or Easter) and summer months.

The crumb is moist and tender, similar to a pound cake, but slightly lighter in texture.

While this lemon loaf cake is delicious served as is, it can also be dressed up with spoonfuls of whipped cream and mixed berries. Happy baking!

Lemon Loaf Cake Ingredients

Tips for Success:

As with most baking recipes and cakes, it is very important to start with room temperature ingredients, including butter, eggs, and whole fat Greek yogurt. This helps the butter and sugar cream properly, and ensures a consistent, tender cake crumb.

Inspired by this Lemon Yogurt Pound Cake, this lemon loaf cake uses small quantities of chemical leaveners (both baking soda and baking powder) and relies on the creaming method.

Be sure that your butter is softened, but not too firm or too warm. It should give slightly when pressed with your fingers.

Why You’ll Love This Lemon Loaf Cake:

  • simple ingredient list and doesn’t require any specialty baking equipment, just a standard 8 x 4-inch (20 x 10 cm) loaf pan
  • yields a buttery rich and tender cake suitable for everyday and special occasions
  • this cake does not skimp on lemon flavor, and includes a hefty addition of fresh lemon juice and zest. the extra tart lemon glaze makes it shine!
Sliced Lemon Loaf Cake

Flavor Variation Ideas:

Substitute the lemon juice and zest with other citrus varieties, such as lime, orange or blood orange, grapefruit, or a combination of several. Once the glaze has set, garnish with finely crushed pistachios or toasted almond slices for contrast and texture!

Lemon Loaf Cake

How to Store Lemon Loaf Cake:

This cake is best served the day (or day after) it is baked. Leftovers can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

Cakes also freeze and thaw incredibly well. Skip the glaze and wrap the cooled loaf cake tightly in plastic wrap, then cover with foil. Place in a Ziplock bag and freeze for 2 to 3 months. Allow to thaw (covered) at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours before glazing and serving.

Lemon Loaf Cake

Lemon Loaf Cake

4.8 stars (6 ratings)
A simple lemon loaf cake topped with an extra tart lemon glaze. This buttery tea cake comes together quickly and is suitable for all occasions! Be sure to have all of your ingredients (butter, eggs, and yogurt) at room temperature before getting started. Serve as is or dress up with spoonfuls of whipped cream and fresh berries.

Ingredients

  • 1⅓ cups (160g) unbleached all-purpose flour fluffed, spooned, and leveled
  • ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest roughly 1-2 lemons
  • 4 ounces (115g; 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter softened
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract optional
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • ½ cup (113g) whole fat Greek yogurt room temperature

Lemon Glaze:

  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar sifted
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • finely grated lemon zest for decorating

Instructions 

  • Prepare Lemon Loaf Cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C) with a rack in the center position. Lightly grease a 8 x 4-inch (20 x 10 cm) loaf pan. Line with a parchment paper overhang. Set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
    Lemon Loaf Cake Ingredients
  • Combine the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a stand mixer bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the sugar and lemon zest until moist and fragrant. Add the softened butter. Using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar mixture at medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes or until fluffy. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract (if using) and beat until incorporated. Over medium speed, slowly add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is incorporated. If the batter starts to break slightly as you add more eggs, don't worry. It will come back together once we add the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl once or twice with a spatula to ensure all of the ingredients are incorporated evenly.
  • Over low speed, slowly add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of yogurt, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until the flour has just been absorbed. Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a spatula, scrape down the bowl to ensure the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  • Transfer the batter to the greased and parchment-lined loaf pan. Using an offset spatula, spread the bake into an even, smooth layer. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake should be lightly golden and starting to slightly pull away from the edges of the pan. Set on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 to 7 minutes. Using the parchment paper overhang, lift the cake from the pan and set on a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
    Lemon Loaf Batter in Lined Loaf Pan
  • Prepare Lemon Glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sifted powdered sugar and lemon juice. It should be smooth and thick, but able to be drizzled from a spoon. If too thin, whisk in a touch more sifted powdered sugar. If too thick, add a few more drops of lemon juice. For quick clean up, set the loaf cake on a wire rack set within a rimmed sheet pan. Spoon the glaze evenly over the top of the cake, allowing it to fall slightly over the edges. Decorate with freshly grated lemon zest. Allow the glaze to set for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  • This cake is best the day (or day after) it is baked. Leftovers can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
  • Freezing Instructions: If you wish to prep this recipe ahead, skip the glaze and wrap the cooled cake tightly in plastic wrap, then cover with foil. Place in a Ziplock bag and freeze for 2 to 3 months. Allow to thaw (covered) at room temperature for 24 hours before glazing and serving.

Flavor Variation Ideas: 

  • Substitute the lemon juice and zest with other citrus varieties, such as lime, orange, blood orange, or grapefruit, or a combination of several. Just after glazing, garnish the top of the cake with finely crushed pistachios or toasted almond slices for contrast and added texture!
Adapted from my Lemon Yogurt Pound Cake
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 541kcal, Carbohydrates: 98g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 101mg, Sodium: 228mg, Potassium: 103mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 67g, Vitamin A: 458IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 2mg