This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure.
This lemon bundt cake is a Starbucks lemon loaf baked in a bundt pan! It’s tender and moist with the perfect crumb. Drizzled lightly with lemon glaze, it has a burst of citrus flavor. Prep the batter in 15 minutes, then bake. For original Starbucks lemon loaves, use 2 loaf pans instead.
🍋 Starbucks Lemon Loaf Copycat
Like our fabulous carrot cake cupcakes, and popular angel food cake with citrus glaze, this lemon cake recipe was developed by Ashley Ornellas for Confetti and Bliss. Ashley’s a professional baker from Northern California’s “Peace, Love & Eat Cake”.
In the quest for an exact replica of Starbucks lemon loaf, I took Ashley’s original recipe and applied gentle tweaks until it matched the exact taste and texture of the popular treat sold at Starbucks’ coffee house. Let me tell you, this lemon bundt cake is amazing.
It’s a beautiful springy pound cake that’s actually better than Starbucks lemon loaf! Just think of all the money you’ll save by making this tasty pound cake at home.
👩🏻🍳 Best Baking Pans for this Recipe
For lemon bundt cake, select a non-stick pan with simple lines. Pans with ornate details are a bit tricker to use. For best results, I recommend USA Pan bakeware. Below are the pans I use when making this delicious dessert.
This easy recipe comes together with common refrigerator and pantry items. If fresh citrus is not in season, use bottled lemon juice instead. No sour cream? Use full-fat Greek yogurt.
For Lemon Bundt Cake
- All-Purpose Flour: Provides structure and sturdiness for the cake batter. When combined with liquid/moisture, an elastic gluten web forms that helps contain the other ingredients.
- Sea Salt: Brightens the flavor of the other ingredients so the cake doesn’t taste bland.
- Baking Powder: A rising agent for a light, tender, fluffy crumb.
- Baking Soda: Works in conjunction with baking power to help the cake rise. Baking soda is necessary because this recipe contains some acidic ingredients.
- Butter: Adds rich delicious moisture and a buttery flavor.
- Granulated Sugar: Adds the perfect amount of sweetness.
- Large Eggs: Helps bind the cake batter together.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor of the butter and sugar.
- Whole Milk: Contributes moisture so the cake is tender, not dry.
- Lemon Zest and Juice: For a fresh, bright, lemony flavor.
- Sour Cream: For added moisture and tenderness with a slight bit of tang.
For Lemon Glaze
- Powdered Sugar: The base for the lemon glaze.
- Whole Milk: Provides richness and moisture.
- Lemon Juice: Adds a fresh lemony taste.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: Contributes a delicious vanilla taste and aroma.
- Lemon Zest: Provides more lemony flavor.
- Lime Zest: Contributes color and freshness.
⏲ Recipe Prep
- Adjust oven rack to center position.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Generously grease the baking pan with butter, taking care to butter up all crevices. Dust it with granulated sugar. Shake out the excess. In the oven, this butter/sugar coating forms a thin, crisp crust that makes this recipe even better than the Starbucks lemon loaf.
📖 Recipe Steps
Here’s how to make a gorgeous lemon pound cake without a lot of fuss!
- In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set the bowl aside.
- In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This takes about 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high.
- Add eggs one at a time. Mix on low for 10 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix again.
- Add flour mixture in two parts. Mix until just combined. Add vanilla extract, milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix on low speed until just combined. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add sour cream. Mix briefly until just combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. This method helps the batter reach into every crevice so the cake will have optimized details from the pan. Tap the pan on the counter 3 times to remove air pockets.
- Bake 35 minutes at 350°F. Reduce heat to 325°F. Continue baking 15 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the cake. Place the pan on a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes. Set a timer. Ten minutes is the magic number! Run a skinny rubber spatula vertically up and down along the sides of the pan. Invert cake onto a wire rack. Cool 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours before icing.
🥣 Make the Lemon Glaze
- In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk, lemon juice and vanilla.
- Stir or whisk until icing is smooth and glossy.
- To thicken the glaze, add a little more powdered sugar. For thinning, add a little more milk.
🥄 The spoon test: A thin glaze will drip off the cake too fast. If the consistency of the glaze is too thick, it won’t easily drizzle down the sides. For the best results, icing should pass the “spoon test.” When the glaze can nicely coat the back of a spoon, it’s the correct consistency.
🍰 Ice the Lemon Bundt Cake
- Once lemon cake has completely cooled, place the wire rack over a sheet of waxed paper. With a spoon, drizzle lemon glaze over the top of the cake. Let icing drip down the sides onto the waxed paper.
- Gently transfer Starbucks lemon loaf to a platter or cake stand. If serving immediately, garnish with fresh lemon and lime zest. If serving later, leave off the zest as it will dry out and lose its freshness and color.
🧑🏼🍳 Expert Tips
- How to make a cake moist: Sour cream is the secret ingredient for preventing a dry dense cake. Milk does a good job, but sour cream does a great job. Sour cream is what makes this Starbucks lemon loaf incredibly moist.
- How to keep cake from sticking to the pan: Grease and dust the pan well. Cover every single crevice. For lemon bundt cake, grease the pan with a generous amount of butter. Then dust the pan with granulated sugar.
- How to prevent air bubbles in a cake: Don’t over-mix the cake batter. Spoon batter into the pan. This helps prevent pockets of air from getting trapped in the batter. Once pan is filled, tap it on the counter 3 times.
- How to keep a cake from over-browning: If the cake looks like it’s getting too brown in the oven, tent the pan with foil.
- How to tell when a cake is done: Slide a cake tester, toothpick or wooden skewer, vertically into the center of the cake in 2 to 3 different spots. If the tester comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs clinging to it, the cake is done.
- How to remove cake from a bundt pan: Before un-molding a bundt cake, carefully run a skinny spatula vertically up and down along the edges of the pan. Shake pan and give it a tap on the counter. Place a cooling rack on top of the pan, then flip to invert. Lift the pan straight up from the cake.
- How to flatten the bottom of a bundt cake: With a sharp serrated knife use a sawing motion to slice off the bottom of the cake so it’s flat and even.
👩🏻🍳 Recipe FAQ
These are the most commonly-asked questions for making the BEST lemon bundt cake, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.
It’s not recommended. There’s always a risk of over blending or under mixing. For the best taste and texture, make cake batter twice.
Cold ingredients don’t mix together easily. When butter and eggs are at room temp the mixing process is easier, and the final product lighter and fluffier.
With a spatula, lightly pull batter from the middle of the pan toward the sides. Batter should be higher up the sides of the pan than in the center.
Many test kitchens have experimented with this. The overwhelming conclusion: cool a bundt cake in its pan for exactly 10 minutes.
One hour to 1 1/2 hours. If you apply the icing any sooner, it’ll drip right off the warm cake.
When wrapped in plastic and refrigerated, a lemon bundt cake will stay fresh 3 to 5 days.
Yes. Place loaves, or slices with parchment paper in between, inside an airtight container and freeze. For the best taste and texture, defrost and enjoy within 1 week.
🍽 More Lemon Desserts
If you love this Starbucks lemon loaf recipe, you’ll enjoy these lemony recipes too! Each dessert is easy to make. To view all our favorite desserts, see our Dessert Category.
- Lemon Curd
- Classic Lemon Bars
- Lemon Curd Cupcakes
- Lemon Pop Tarts
- Mini Lemon Tarts
- Lemon Biscotti Cookies
- Lemon Curd Cookies
- Lemon Blueberry Muffins
Rate This Recipe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Family and friends are over-the-top wild about this cake! Everyone wants the recipe. They say it’s the best Starbucks lemon loaf. They love the idea of baking it in a bundt pan and serving it it on a cake stand, or baking it up as lemon loaves. They appreciate the versatility.
If you agree this recipe’s a keeper, give it a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero. Share it with friends. 📌 Pin it to Pinterest.Print
This lemon bundt cake is a Starbucks lemon loaf copycat. It’s tender, moist and delicious. Assemble the batter in 15 minutes. Bake as a lemon bundt cake, or in 2 loaf pans. Either way, it’s irresistible.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- Zest of 4 lemons
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
- 2/3 cup sour cream
LEMON GLAZE FOR CAKE
- 1 cup powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Lemon zest
- Lime zest
Recommended Pans for this recipe: 1 bundt pan or 2 (1-pound) loaf pans
RECIPE PREP: Adjust oven rack to center position. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking pan(s) with butter. Make sure all crevices are covered. Dust with granulated sugar. Shake out the excess.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set the bowl aside.
- In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This takes about 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high. Add eggs one at a time. Mix on low for 10 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again.
- Add flour mixture in two parts. Mix until just combined. Add vanilla extract, milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix on low speed until just combined. With a rubber spatula, scrape down bottom and sides of the bowl. Add sour cream. Mix briefly until just combined.
- Spoon batter into prepared baking pan(s). Tap pan on the counter 3 times. This helps remove pockets of air.
- Bake 35 minutes at 350°F. Reduce heat to 325°F. Continue baking 15 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
COOL THE CAKE: Put cake pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Set a timer. Ten minutes is the magic number! Don’t let the cake sit in the pan even a minute longer. Run a skinny rubber spatula vertically up and down along the sides of the pan. Invert cake on a wire rack. Cool 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours before icing.
ASSEMBLE LEMON GLAZE FOR CAKE
- In a small bowl, combine sugar, milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Stir or whisk until icing reaches desired consistency. To thicken, add more sugar. For thinning, add more milk.
- Place cake on a wire rack over a piece of waxed paper. Drizzle icing over the cooled lemon cake.
- Transfer cake to a platter or stand. If serving immediately, garnish with lemon and lime zest. If serving later, leave off the zest as it drys out quickly and will lose its color and freshness.
Can I double this recipe? It’s not recommended. There’s always a risk over blending or under mixing. For the best taste and texture, make the cake batter twice.
How long will this cake stay fresh? When wrapped in plastic and refrigerated, the cake will stay fresh 3 to 5 days.
Can I freeze the lemon cake? Yes. And for freezing, it’s best to bake the cake in 2 loaf pans. It’ll be easier to store. Place loaves, or slices with parchment paper in between, inside an airtight container and freeze. For the best taste and texture, defrost and enjoy within 1 week.
More expert tips: The body of the post contains more expert tips to help you achieve the best results!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Lemon Bundt Cake, Lemon Cake, Starbucks Lemon Loaf
NOTE: This post was originally published on March 26, 2018. It’s been updated with a new layout, images and expert tips for a better user experience.
Starbucks Lemon Cake 👉🏻 Join the Convo
Do you love the taste and consistency of the original Starbucks lemon loaf? What do you think about this copycat recipe? Share your thoughts on this lemon bundt cake in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.