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Iced Lemon Loaf Cake (Better Than Starbucks!)

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Brighten your winter days with this simple and sweet Iced Lemon Loaf Cake! It’s a tender and moist cake infused with lemon juice and zest, topped with an easy 2-ingredient lemon glaze. You can make it in two bowls (with no electric mixer needed!), and every bite is sweet, lemony, and just SO GOOD.

iced loaf cake on parchment paper with slice laying in front with a knife beside, white flowers around, and lemons behind on marble surface with stack of plates and empty glasses behind.

All The Details

We were inspired to make this loaf cake after seeing that each January, our Lemon and Sour Cream Bundt Cake was the one recipe you all went back to again and again!

When we developed this recipe, we wanted to make a cake that was even easier for you to whip up this winter. It’s made in only two bowls, requires minimal ingredients, and uses one special ingredient that gives this cake the most amazing texture…yogurt!

It’s a healthier option than sour cream, and we found through testing that it gives this cake a better texture, keeps it moist for longer, and provides an overall better flavor just like with our Bakery Style Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.

What Makes This Recipe Better Than Starbucks Lemon Loaf?

  • Thoroughly tested. From recipe testing to taste testing, this lemon loaf recipe is one you can trust. All of our taste testers agreed…it’s SO much better than Starbucks!
  • Healthier. Yep. This recipe uses greek yogurt instead of sour cream for an extra dose of protein and probiotics!
  • Easy. All you need is two bowls, a whisk, and a cake pan. Did I mention you don’t even need an electric mixer to make this delicious cake?!
  • Flavor. Every bite of this cake is oh-so tender, moist, and full of lemon flavor. Every bite will leave you wanting more.
  • Crowd-pleasing. Whether you’re baking this cake for a sweet breakfast treat or for an easy dessert, a slice of of this cake is something the whole family will love!
overhead shot of loaf cake with three slices laying in front with knife beside and lemons around.

Grab These Ingredients

For The Cake:

  • All-Purpose Flour – No fancy flours needed for this cake! All-purpose flour has the right protein content to give this cake the perfect texture.
  • Granulated Sugar – In addition to adding the perfect amount of sweetness, granulated sugar helps keep this cake moist and helps it brown to a gorgeous golden brown color.
  • Baking Powder – Activated by heat, it provides lift when the cake goes into the oven.
  • Baking Soda – Because this cake is made with lemon juice and yogurt, we added baking soda in addition to baking powder to neutralize the acidity and help give this cake an extra bit of lift!
  • Salt – Just a dash enhances the flavor and cuts some of the sweetness.
  • Lemon Zest – Fresh lemon zest helps add a little bit of extra flavor to this cake!
  • Greek Yogurt – Our secret ingredient! A full fat plain greek yogurt not only adds extra protein and probiotics, it also adds richness. So delicious!
  • Vegetable Oil – A neutral flavored oil like vegetable oil gives this cake a wonderful texture and keeps it moist.
  • Eggs – The binding ingredient for the cake, eggs also contribute to the richness, flavor, texture, and crumb.
  • Lemon Juice – Since lemon is the star here (it is after all a lemon cake), fresh lemon juice is the best choice for that burst of lemon flavor!
lemon juice, flour, sugar, lemon zest, oil, eggs, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and yogurt on marble surface.

For The Icing:

  • Powdered Sugar –  Because it melts easily, powdered sugar ensures a smooth icing.
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice gives the most amount of flavor and allows this icing to really pack a punch!
powdered sugar and lemon juice in two glass bowls on marble surface.

How To Make An Iced Lemon Loaf Cake (With Step-by-Step Pictures!)

Step 1: Make the cake batter

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.

In a medium bowl, mix yogurt, oil, eggs, and lemon juice until smooth.

Combine wet and dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Step 2: Bake

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until the cake tests done.

Let the cake cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Turn out onto cooling rack.

baked loaf cake on cooling rack.

Step 3: Make the icing

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth.

Pour over cooled cake.

iced loaf cake on cooling rack.

Iced Lemon Loaf FAQ’s

Can I freeze this lemon loaf?

Absolutely! This recipe freezes well as a whole loaf or in individual slices. Just be sure to glaze this lemon loaf AFTER it’s thawed completely.

Can I make this recipe into mini loaves?

While we have not personally tested it, we have had readers say they’ve had success with baking this recipe into multiple mini loaves. Just remember the bake time will need to be adjusted!

Can I use lemon extract instead of lemon juice?

We would not recommend this, as this recipe was specifically formulated to use lemon juice and lemon zest. The use of lemon extract and/or oil will alter the flavor of this cake, as well as altering how it bakes.

Can I replace the vegetable oil with a different type of oil?

For this cake, it’s best to use a neutral flavored oil, as anything like olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil may add too much flavor and detract from the lemon flavor.

What can I do if my lemon icing is too runny or too thick?

If your icing is too runny, add 1 Tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time until the icing is at your desired consistency. If the icing is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Can this recipe be doubled?

Absolutely! We have a x2 and x3 button on our recipe card that instantly doubles or triples this recipe. Just remember that you will need two 9×5 inch loaf pans (or three, if you decided to triple this recipe!).

What adjustments should I make for high-altitude baking?

We have answered this in our Common Baking FAQ’s!

six slices of lemon loaf cake on parchment paper with flowers and lemons around.

Need more citrus in your life? Here are a recipes few you may like:

When you make this Iced Lemon Loaf Cake, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

Happy Baking!
x, Caylie

lemon loaf cake on parchment paper with slice laying in front with lemon halves behind, white flowers around, and stack of plates.
4.67 from 6 votes

Iced Lemon Loaf Cake (Better Than Starbucks!)

The perfect Iced Lemon Loaf Cake! Tender, moist, full of lemon flavor, and so much better than any coffee shop. Every bite will leave you wanting more!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients
 

Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour*
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1⅓ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1⅛ cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice

Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions
 

Cake

  • Heat oven to 350℉.
  • Spray a 9 inch x 5 inch loaf pan with baking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
  • In a medium bowl, mix yogurt, oil, eggs, and lemon juice until smooth.
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, or until cake tests done.
  • Let the cake cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Turn out onto cooling rack.

Icing

  • In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth.
  • Pour over cooled cake.

Notes + Tips!

*This recipe was written using an average of the dip and sweep method for measuring flour and the spoon and level method. If you are using a scale, you will need to add 3/4 oz or 22 g  to the measurement for each cup of flour.
How To Store:
Once this loaf is cooled, you will need to keep it in a zip top bag and in the fridge! It’s a very moist loaf and won’t last very long if left at room temperature. You can also freeze this loaf as a whole or in individual slices. Just be sure to wrap the slices in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer safe container or zip top bag!
Substituions:
  • If desired, you can use sour cream instead of yogurt.
  • Make sure you pack the lemon zest into the tablespoon.
  • To make this recipe dairy-free, use your favorite unsweetened/plain plant-based yogurt.
  • This recipe can be made vegan if unsweetened/plain plant-based yogurt and your favorite vegan egg substitute are used. We like to use aquafaba!
Easy Tips To Make This Lemon Loaf:
  • Check the expiration date on your baking soda and baking powder.
  • Remember to preheat your oven.
  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure you are baking at the correct temperature.
  • Be careful not to over-mix your cake batter!
  • This cake batter is pretty thick! It’s best to used a rubber spatula to help pour it into your loaf pan.
  • Let the cake cool completely before icing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 243mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 67IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!

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