lemon loaf

Lemon Loaf – Starbucks Copycat!


If you’re a fan of Starbucks’s lemon loaf like I am, you are going to love this copycat! It’s tender, tangy and full of lemony goodness.

One of my favorite flavors of summer (and any time of the year) is lemon. I love anything sour, tangy and refreshing. And every time I’m grabbing something at Starbucks, I always cave for a slice of their lemon loaf. I decided I wanted it more often than just on my Starbucks run, so here’s a copycat recipe!

I’m not use if this is actually how they make it, but it’s pretty damn close. It’s easy to make and so super addicting. The secret to an extra punch of lemon is the syrup that gets brushed on while the cake is still warm *drool*.

lemon loaf

The Goods

I won’t list every single ingredient since it’s a pretty basic recipe, but I do want to make a note on two things

Lemon juice – Use fresh. Always. Even outside of this recipe. The stuff in the bottle is convenient but flavorless. You need the zest anyway, so get out there and grab a couple fresh ones!
Buttermilk – I know not everyone keeps this on hand, and that’s okay! If you don’t have buttermilk, here’s an easy substitute! Combined ½ cup milk with 1½ tsp. lemon juice or white vinegar. Let mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to curdle.

lemon loaf

Making the Lemon Loaf

Baking this cake is simple! It’s less than 10 steps, and then you’ll have your kitchen smelling like lemon heaven.

  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla and juice.
  3. Add flour & milk, alternating.
  4. Bake!
  5. Brush with syrup.
  6. Pour on icing and let dry.
  7. EAT!

I used a 9×5 glass loaf pan, so my edges got a little darker. This can happen with glass or dark pans, and it’s nothing to worry about. You can also use an 8×4 size loaf pan as well.

If you’re in need of a zester, Microplane is hands-down my favorite. No matter what you’re using it on, it gives the finest little grated pieces that incorporate into dishes beautifully.

lemon loaf

If you’re ready to kick off summer baking, give this lemon loaf a try! Share yours with me by tagging me on instagram at @fg_bakes or hashtag #forgoodnessbakes

Lemon Loaf



Prep time


Cooking time





If you’re a fan of the lemon loaf from Starbucks, you’re going to love this homemade recipe! It’s tangy, fluffy and packed with lemony flavor!


  • Lemon Pound Cake
  • 1½ cup (180 g) all-purpose flour

  • 1½ tsp. baking powder

  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice (about ½ lemon)*

  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature*

  • Lemon Syrup
  • ½ cup lemon juice

  • 3½ tbsp. powdered sugar

  • Lemon Icing
  • 1 cup (114 g) powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1½ tbsp. lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp. milk


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease loaf pan. I used a 9×5 pan, but an 8×4 will work, too.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4-6 minutes. If using a hand mixer, this may take a little longer. Scrape down bowl.*
  • With the mixer on low, add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Beat on medium-high until combined. Scrape down bowl, making sure to get anything on the bottom.
  • With the mixer on low, add about ⅓ of the flour mixture and mix until almost completely combined, then add half the buttermilk just until combined. Repeat with the remaining thirds of the flour mixture, alternating once with the last half of the buttermilk. You should be starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat until just combined, making sure not to over-mix. Scrape down bowl and stir in anything that has settled.
  • Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester is inserted and comes out clean. If the top seems to be getting too brown, loosely tent with foil.
  • Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Use this time to mix the lemon juice and powdered sugar together for the syrup. Once 15 minutes has passed, carefully invert the loaf pan and put cake onto cooling rack. Brush syrup all over cake while it’s still warm. Let cool completely.
  • Combine icing ingredients. It should be thick and not runny, so add more powdered sugar or lemon juice as needed. Pour over cake and let dry before serving.


  • Lemon juice – I always recommend using fresh lemon juice. I find the bottled stuff lacks flavor.
  • Buttermilk – If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, here’s an easy substitute! Combined ½ cup milk with 1½ tsp. lemon juice or white vinegar. Let mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to curdle.
  • Creaming butter & sugar – The longer you do this, the fluffier your cake can be. So don’t rush this step! Let all that air get into the mixture.


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  1. I was never a fan of lemony cakes until recently – so I’m definitely going bake one soon – thanks for the recipe – it’s not as difficult as I anticipated.

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