The Best Buttery California Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

This post contains links to affiliate websites, such as Amazon, and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you using these links. We appreciate your support!

Sharing is caring!

Jump to Recipe

Sink your teeth into a slice of California sunshine with our zesty California lemon pound cake recipe. This delightful treat features a moist crumb and a tangy lemon glaze that’s as bright and vibrant as a sunny day in the golden state. Whether you’re hosting a brunch or simply satisfying your sweet tooth, this recipe is sure to impress!

Related: chocolate pound cake recipe

California lemon pound cake recipe on a white, speckled plate.

​We don’t want to be biased but this really is the best lemon pound cake! Citrus season and sunny groves of lemon trees are what inspired this recipe. Oh, and a pound of butter! We love this recipe for baby showers, barbecues, potlucks, or for something sweet to enjoy after dinner.   

Why you’ll Love this Recipe

Once you take that first bite, you’ll fall head over heels for this California lemon pound cake recipe, especially if you’re a fan of all things lemony.

Picture this: a bundt cake boasting a buttery richness that melts in your mouth with every bite, perfectly complemented by the zesty burst of fresh lemon flavor. The best part? It’s so easy to make! With simple steps and a stunning presentation, this recipe is a must-try for lemon lovers looking to indulge in a slice of citrusy perfection.

Ingredients you’ll Need

California lemon pound cake recipe ingredients.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder 
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Sour cream
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemon zest

Lemon Glaze Ingredients

  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Lemon juice 
  • Heavy cream
Lemon glaze ingredients.

See recipe card for quantities.

Step By Step Instructions

Below, we’ve provided step-by-step instructions along with process shots so that making your own homemade lemon pound cake is an easy and enjoyable experience. 

Dry ingredients for coffee cookies.

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Lemon zest and granulated sugar.

2. Carefully zest a lemon over your bowl of granulated sugar. Use your fingers to mix the lemon zest into the sugar thoroughly. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers to release the natural oils and enhance the flavor. Set aside. 

Creaming butter with lemon zest and granulated sugar.

3. In a large bowl, or bowl of an electric mixer, cream softened butter with the granulated sugar and lemon zest mixture. Mix on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

Creamed butter with sour cream and vanilla extract.

4. Add sour cream and vanilla extract to creamed mixture. Mix well on medium speed. 

Squeezing lemon juice into bowl of creamed butter mixture.

5. Add lemon juice from 1 lemon. Also add in eggs, one at a time. Mix on low speed for a few seconds.

Adding dry ingredients to bowl of lemon pound cake batter.

6. Pour bowl of dry ingredients into large mixing bowl of wet ingredients and mix on low speed or fold into the batter with a rubber spatula. Mix just until there are no more streaks of flour left.

Pound cake batter in bundt pan.

7. Spray the inside of your bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray or baking spray with flour. Pour in the cake batter. Bake at 350°F for 37 minutes. Once cake is done, place it on a wire rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes before releasing from the mold onto your serving dish. 

Whisking lemon glaze ingredients.

8. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients for the lemon glaze.

Bundt cake with lemon glaze cooling on wire rack.

9. Spoon glaze over the cake. Serve and enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream!

Recipe Tips and Tricks

Here, you will find a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when making this recipe: 

  • Bundt Pan – Although this is a bundt cake recipe, you may use a tube pan or loaf pan. Be sure to adjust the baking time. 
  • Room Temperature – Using room temperature ingredients promotes better mixing, texture, rising, and flavor development in baked goods, ultimately leading to more successful and delicious outcomes. This is particularly applies to ingredients like butter, eggs and sour cream, which can create lumps or uneven distribution if too cold.
  • Large Lemons – If you can, we recommend getting your hands on a couple large lemons. With these, you’ll be able to really maximize the lemon flavor in this California lemon pound cake recipe without the need for any lemon extract. 
  • Baking Spray with Flour – We highly recommend using this type of non-stick spray when baking with intricate molds such as bundt pans.

Recipe Variations

  • Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake – To add a berry twist to this recipe, consider folding in a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries. Lemon and raspberries would be another delicious combination!
  • Orange Pound Cake – This recipe would be great with another citrus like orange or blood orange. Simply use orange juice and zest in place of lemon.
  • Pound Cake Sundae – Make a pound cake sundae by cutting a slice into small pieces and place them in a small bowl. Next. you’ll want to add a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. Top off with a bit of whip cream and sprinkles or fresh fruits!

Recipe Substitutions

  • Lemon Loaf – If you prefer a traditional lemon loaf pound cake, consider using a loaf-shaped baking pan. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the baking time for this. 
  • Fresh Lemons – If you don’t have any fresh lemons available, you can opt to use lemon extract instead. 
  • Hand Mixer – You can use a stand mixer instead of a hand mixer. If using a stand mixer, use paddle attachment. 
Lemon pound cake slice on a small white plate.

This California lemon pound cake recipe captures the essence of sunny days and vibrant flavors of the golden state. With each bite, you’ll taste the bright tang of freshly picked lemons. Crafting a good pound cake has never been this easy!

We value your feedback on this recipe. Share your thoughts in the comments section located below the recipe card. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to receive new recipes straight to your inbox!

Storage Tips

Allow pound cake to cool to room temperature before placing in an airtight container. Place the container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. The cake should keep well for up to 3 days. 

Common Questions Asked About a California Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

Why is it Called Pound Cake?

The name “pound cake” originated from its traditional recipe, which called for a pound each of four main ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. This simple ratio made it easy to remember and replicate, resulting in a dense, rich cake with a firm yet moist texture. While modern pound cake recipes may vary slightly in their ingredient ratios, the name “pound cake” persists as a nod to its historical origins.

Can I Make this Recipe Ahead of Time?

Yes! Simply make the lemon cake recipe the night before the occasion. Once the cake has completely cooled to room temperature, place it in an airtight, cake storage container. Leave container out on the kitchen counter. 

Can you Freeze Pound Cake?

Yes. To freeze pound cake, follow these steps:

  1. Allow pound cake to cool completely after baking.
  2. Once cooled, tightly wrap whole cake or individual slices in plastic wrap.
  3. Proceed to place the wrapped pound cake in a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container. If using a resealable bag, remove as much air from the bag as possible.
  4. Label the bag or container with the date and contents for easy identification.
  5. Store pound cake in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
  6. When ready to enjoy, thaw the frozen pound cake in the refrigerator overnight.
  7. Once thawed, you can serve the pound cake as is or warm it slightly in the oven before serving.
Sliced bundt cake with lemon half next to it.

California Lemon Pound Cake

You'll fall head over heels for this California lemon pound cake recipe. Bursting with citrus goodness, this buttery moist cake will brighten up any occasion!
Print Recipe PIN RECIPE
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:37 minutes
Resting Time:30 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 22 minutes
Servings: 14

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 1 lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • lemon zest as much as desired

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Carefully zest a lemon over your bowl of granulated sugar. Use your fingers to mix the lemon zest into the sugar thoroughly. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers to release the natural oils and enhance the flavor. Set aside. 
  • In a large bowl, or bowl of an electric mixer, cream softened butter with the granulated sugar and lemon zest mixture. Mix on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix well on medium speed. 
  • Add lemon juice from 1 lemon. Next, add in eggs, one at a time. Mix on low speed for a few seconds. Pour bowl of dry ingredients into bowl of wet ingredients and mix on low speed or fold into the batter with a spatula. Mix just until there are no more streaks of flour left.
  • Spray the inside of your bundt pan with a non-stick cooking spray or baking spray with flour. Pour in the cake batter. Bake at 350°F for 37 minutes. Once cake is done, place it on a wire rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes before releasing from the mold onto your serving dish. 
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients for the lemon glaze. Spoon glaze over the cake. Serve and enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating