Starbucks Lemon Loaf Copycat Recipe

Pound cake is delicious, and when it comes to Starbucks’ famous Lemon Loaf, there are few competitors out there that match up. Soft, light, but filling and somehow extravagant, this cake has been one of the coffee chain’s most widely demanded food items for years.

It’s the perfect little cake to snack on while you’re doing your homework, and the perfect beginning to a slow Sunday when you’re planning on taking it easy and winding down. 

Homecooks, and even people who touch their stove only for the occasional curly fries, will be happy to know you don’t even have to slog over to the nearest outlet for a slice of this delicious cake. 

Instead, below we’re going to learn how to make it with everyday kitchen ingredients, a baking oven, and a lot of love

Things You Should Know About Starbucks’ Lemon Loaf

If you’ve ever checked out the official Starbucks website, you’ll have seen a number of confusingly-named ingredients that the average cook will never have heard of. The thing is… you don’t really need them. Most of them are commercial-kitchen alternatives to products you’ll find in any home kitchen. 

That’s not to say it’s as simple as making everyday pound cake. Starbucks does have a couple of unique ingredients on its list, and if you want to get the authentic lemon loaf taste, you need to learn about them before you start mixing the batter. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Firstly, Starbucks doesn’t do oil. Instead, their lemon loaf uses butter, which is probably healthier for you anyway. 
  • The coffee chain triples down on the mouth-watering lemon flavor with lemon juice, lemon peel, and lemon oil
  • The fluffiness is a result of both baking soda and baking powder, and you’re going to need both if you want the same texture. 
  • Lastly, their recipe also contains sour cream, which keeps the cake moist. It also helps keep it edible for longer.

Ingredients For Our Lemon Loaf Recipe

Here’s what you need to make a batch of delicious lemon loaf pound cake at home:

  1. Eggs: Normal eggs. Grab a bunch off the market shelf, and you’re good.
  2. Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar works best as the sweetener for a lemon loaf cake.
  3. Sour Cream: Unless you want to have a dry husk, you will definitely need sour cream. 
  4. Canola Oil/ Butter: Starbucks uses butter instead of oil for the fat. If you want to use oil, though, Canola’s the best choice because of its low-fat content.
  5. Lemon Zest: Buy some from the supermarket, or make it at home yourself by rubbing the fruit on a box grinder. Don’t get any of the white pithy stuff though. 
  6. Lemon Extract: It’s a little harder to get than the other ingredients, so you might have to order it online. Lemon extract is an important part of the tangy lemon flavor, so you absolutely need it.
  7. Lemon Juice: You can make this at home too. Get a juicer and crush the fruit inside, and make sure to strain the juice before using it. 
  8. Flour: Any brand of all-purpose flour will do the job. Don’t get anything super cheap, though, or your texture’s going to be messed up. 
  9. Baking Powder: Starbucks uses both baking powder and baking soda, but we’ll use just baking powder to keep it short and simple. 
  10. Salt: Can’t live without it, right?
  11. Powdered Sugar: It’s lovely as a sprinkle, and mixes well into the cake mix.
Lemon Zest

Four Easy Steps to Making Your Own Lemon Loaf

Making lemon loaf cake at home is simpler than you’d think. Just follow these simple steps:

1. Preheat the Oven

You’ll want to preheat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit before you start. When that’s done, spray a standard 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray and set it aside.

2. Start Whisking the Eggs

Crack three large eggs into a mixing bowl, and add 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of sour cream. Mix them vigorously until they’re combined well, but it’s alright if the mix is a little lumpy.

3. Add the Ingredients to Your Mix

While mixing, slowly drizzle ½ cup of Canola oil into the bowl, and then add the lemon extract and zest into it. Then add the dry ingredients like baking powder, flour, and salt, and use a whisk to combine them evenly. 

4. Pour Your Ingredients Into the Baking Pan And Start Baking

After you’re done mixing the ingredients, pour the batter into the loaf pan you set aside earlier, and make sure to smooth the top with a spatula. Generally, you’ll want to bake for somewhere around 52 minutes, until the top is domed. For the last ten minutes, gently tent the baking pan with foil so the top doesn’t get too browned. 

You can check if it’s cooked properly by inserting a toothpick into the cake. It should come out clean, with a few moist crumbs but no batter present on it. After it’s done cooking, let the cake cool down on a wire rack for an hour or two.

Making the Lemon Glaze

The glaze looks hard to make, but it’s the simplest part. Here’s how you can make it:

  • Add confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) to a bowl and drizzle the lemon juice in while whisking. Remember, it’s your lemon loaf, so season to taste. 
  • Drizzle the glaze over your lemon loaf before serving for the perfect taste.

Storing Your Lemon Loaf: What You Need to Know

When properly made, lemon loaf stays fresh for almost 6 days. Here’s what you need to know about storing your homemade lemon loaf:

  • Use an airtight container for storage. A room temperature location is best as long as it’s not too hot. 
  • Refrigerating your cake can dry it out, which absolutely ruins the luxurious feeling of lemon loaf cake. 
  • If you’re thinking about long-term storage, it stays good for a whopping 6 months in the freezer. Place on a sheet pan and freeze for 3 hours, and once frozen, wrap in plastic wrap and a layer of foil, then pack it into an airtight freezer container.

Related: This Pound cake recipe you should definitely try after this.

Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Slices
Calories 410 kcal


  • 3 Cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 6 Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cup Sugar
  • 4 tvsp Butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp lemon extract
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup Vegetable oil
  • 2 Lemons zest of 2 lemons

Ingredient for the Glaze

  • 1 cup Powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp Lemon juice


  • Preheat the oven to 350F, and either grease/flour loaf pans or line with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together.
  • In a mixer, cream butter and sugar together, add eggs, vanilla & lemon extracts, and lemon juice until combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix them together.
  • Add the oil and lemon zest and combine again.
  • Divide among two loaf pans and bake for 45 min to an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • When the loaves are almost done, whisk together your glaze ingredients
  • Remove the cake from the oven and pour the glaze evenly over both cakes. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to the wire rack

Instructions For The Glaze:

  • Add 1 cup powdered sugar to a bowl and drizzle in 3 tablespoons lemon juice while whisking until smooth.
  • Spread glaze evenly over the cake before serving.


  • Best when stored at room temperature for a maximum of 5 days. 
  • Melting butter in the microwave and adding it makes for an even better texture and taste. 
  • 8x4inch pans don’t work well, and you’ll lose moisture if using one of those.

I'm a coffee lover, foodie, and blogger - passionate about coffee and all the things that go with it. I write about coffee, and news, learn about new coffees from across the world, do some home roasting, and share my thoughts on various other topics.

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