Lemon Loaf Cake (Starbucks Copycat)

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If you have ever ordered the Lemon Loaf at Starbucks and fell in love with the delicious lemon-y flavor, you are going to love this copycat recipe. You won’t have to order just one slice, now you’ll be able to have a whole loaf from making this delicious lemon loaf recipe at home.

Lemon Loaf Cake Feature

Even better than the Starbucks Lemon Loaf!

If you like the Starbucks Lemon Loaf then you’ll love this copy-cat version even better! The best part – this homemade lemon loaf cake recipe takes only 10 minutes to make. Perfect for a Spring or Summer dessert and always gets raves reviews.

This cake recipe starts with a moist pound cake with fresh lemon zest and lemon juice. Then, it’s topped with a simple lemon syrup and a lemon icing. It may sound overwhelming at first, but this recipe is is quite easy, I promise. I love how perfect the lemon flavor is – not too much, but just enough.

We have a ton of lemon cake recipes on our site and this is one of our favorites. You will also want to try our Homemade Lemon Layered Cake, Lemon Dump Cake, Lemon Velvet Cake, and Italian Lemon Cake Recipe.

Watch The Lemon Loaf Recipe Video:

Ingredients You Will Need

This batter has the perfect amount of lemon and is made with lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. After the cake is baked, it is infused with a homemade lemon syrup to give it an extra bust of lemon, and then topped with the most delicious lemon glaze. Get the full amounts in the recipe box below.

  • Lemons: You’ll need these for the lemon juice and the lemon zest for the cake, syrup and icing.
  • Baking Staples: All-purpose flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, powdered sugar and salt.
  • Butter: Unsalted, sat out to room temperature so it’s easy to mix.
  • Eggs: Also at room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract: The best flavor is from real vanilla, not imitation.
  • Milk: You’ll need regular milk (we use whole milk and buttermilk.

Equipment To Make This Recipe Easier:

Loaf Pan: Any brand will work. I use a 9×5 pan.
Lemon Zester: I really LOVE this tool and use it all the time. It’s perfect for zesting citrus fruits, grating block cheeses, and also ginger.
Lemon Juicer: This is another kitchen tool I use often and makes it super easy to juice lemons AND limes. I like the 2-in-1 lemon/lime tool and it’s super easy to use. You’ll be amazed at how much juice you’ll get out of a lemon.

Lemon Loaf Cake slices

How To Make Starbucks Lemon Loaf

  1. Combine Cake Ingredients – cream the butter, eggs and sugar. mix the dry ingredients and then add to the creamed mixture alternating with buttermilk.
  2. Bake – for 45-55 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Let it cool for about 15 minutes in the pan.
  3. Make the lemon syrup – Simply stir together the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar. Remove the cake from the pan – brush the syrup on the top of the cake while it’s still warm, then let it sit to cool before moving on.
  4. Make the icing – Combine all the icing ingredients, starting with one tablespoon of the lemon juice and milk and add the remaining lemon juice as needed. You want the consistency to be thick and not runny. Pour the icing over cake and let dry before serving.
Top of Lemon Loaf Cake sliced

Tips for Success

  • Lemon Juice: Bottled lemon juice is not going to give you the same fresh flavor as fresh lemon juice that you squeeze yourself. It’s definitely worth the extra effort.
  • Lemon Syrup: Make sure the cake is warm and not cooled when adding the lemon syrup. This helps for the syrup to soak into the cake and gives the best results.
  • Lemon Glaze:  Since you want the icing / glaze to stay on top, you’ll have to let the lemon loaf cool completely before you drizzle it on. If the cake is still warm, the glaze will melt and fall off the edges.


Can you freeze Starbuck’s Lemon Loaf?

Yes! We find that freezing it in slices has the best results. That way you just pull out a slice whenever you want it. Wrap each slice up in plastic wrap making sure it’s completely covered then place in a freezer zip-loc bag. When ready to eat, take a slice out and place it into the refrigerator the night before and it will be ready for you when you wake up the next morning!

Storing: Cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

More Lemon Desserts to Try

Lemon Loaf Cake Feature
5 from 19 votes

Starbucks Lemon Loaf (Copycat Recipe)

If you have ever had the Lemon Loaf at Starbucks and fell in love with the lemon flavor, you are going to love this homemade copycat version.
Servings: 8
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes


Cake Ingredients:

Syrup Ingredients:

Icing Ingredients:


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 5 x 9″ loaf pan.
  • In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4-6 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat on medium-high speed until combined.
  • Scoop in about one-third of the flour mixture and mix until almost combined, then add half the buttermilk and mix until combined.
  • Repeat with another third of flour mixture and then the last half of the buttermilk, ending with the last third of the flour until fully combined.
  • Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on it.
  • Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes in the pan.
  • Stir together the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar for the lemon syrup.
  • Carefully flip the loaf pan, and transfer the cake to a cooling rack, then brush the syrup on the top of the cake while it’s still warm.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely.
  • When the cake is cooled, combine all the icing ingredients.
  • The icing should be thick and not runny. Pour icing over cake and let dry before serving.

Last Step:

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Serving: 8g | Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 183mg | Potassium: 162mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 451IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 1mg


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7 comments on “Lemon Loaf Cake (Starbucks Copycat)”

  1. 5 stars
    I absolutely love this recipe and my family gets so excited every time I make it! I think it’s even better than Starbucks’ lemon loaf cake. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Sixsisters Stuff

    5 stars
    The detailed instructions, along with the helpful step-by-step photos, make it easy to follow along and recreate this delicious treat at home. The combination of lemon juice and zest in the batter, as well as the lemon syrup drizzled over the cake, ensures a burst of tangy citrus flavor in every bite. The addition of a sweet glaze on top adds a perfect finishing touch. This recipe captures the essence of the Starbucks Lemon Loaf and allows you to enjoy it without having to step foot outside your home. It’s a wonderful option for lemon lovers and those looking to replicate their favorite Starbucks treats. I’m sure this Lemon Loaf Cake will be a hit with family and friends!

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious, moist, decadent! I added a little lemon extract and vanilla extract to the icing because I don’t like powdered sugar taste and it was perfect. Maybe even better than Starbucks

  4. Thank you for sharing this recipe it looks so good, I can almost smell the lemony flavor drifting through the house. Love that photograph where you’re pouring the icing over the top. If that doesn’t make your mouth water nothing will.