Starbucks’ Lemon Loaf Cake – the True Copycat Recipe

Starbucks’ Lemon Loaf Cake is the True Copycat Recipe for the moist, fluffy yet dense, lemon bread loaf. This lemon cake recipe is topped with a delicious creamy powdered sugar lemon glaze.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf Cake, a copycat recipe of a lemon loaf topped with a lemon glaze.

I am so excited to share this recipe with you! Whenever I go to Starbucks, I just have to have their Lemon Loaf Cake. It has a very pronounced lemony flavor, super moist, fluffy yet dense, almost bread pudding-like consistency, topped with a delicious white glaze.

The search for the perfect copycat Lemon Cake Recipe:

I have been trying to figure out what it’s made of for a long time. I have searched online for copycat recipes, looking for ones with the same texture as the Starbucks original Lemon Cake recipe. Testing at least 3 lemon cake recipes that looked similar to the Starbucks loaf, each one of them concluding to be disappointing.

One major flaw in all the lemon cake recipes shared was the lack of moisture inside the loaf. I tried soaking the lemon bread with lemon syrup, but it only made the outside a little moist. Everything that I tried didn’t come close to the sought after Starbucks Lemon Loaf.

The True Copycat lemon loaf recipe, fluffy, yet dense, yet moist with a delicious lemony glaze.
All the copycat recipes failed to give off a lemony flavor without the sourness that comes with it. Adding lemon just didn’t give that proper taste. I usually am able to recreate recipes and not being able to recreate this one left me all the more disappointed.

There was a copycat recipe that used Yellow Cake Mix with pudding. Seeing that it used store-bought mix, I didn’t even bother looking more into the recipe. I don’t like using something that comes from a box if I am going to go through the trouble of making it at home. But, when all of those other lemon bread recipes did not work, I decided that I had nothing to lose, so I was going to try it.

Oh, how happy I am that I tried the recipe! While I would rather use all natural ingredients, that does not include a box of store-bought mix, I am able to get past that fact ONLY because this recipe produces an amazing, exact copy of the Starbucks Lemon Cake Loaf!

Can I replace Lemon Pudding?

The lemony-ness in this lemon cake recipe comes from the artificial lemon flavoring in the Lemon Pudding. You can use plain boxed Pudding and add 2-3 teaspoons of lemon emulsion & 2-3 drops of the lemon oil to achieve the same taste.

I made my version of what I think the powdered sugar lemon glaze should look and taste like, but the rest of the recipe comes from, this recipe is truly a God-sent.


Other great dessert recipes to try!

Starbuck’s Lemon Loaf Cake – the True Copycat Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Author: Picky Palate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 254 kcal
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 20 slices


Lemon Loaf Cake

Lemon Topping


Make Lemon Loaf

  1. Turn oven to 350F. Line 2 loaf pans with foil & spray with non stick spray, or butter and flour the pans. Set aside.
  2. Combine all the wet ingredients and whisk until well combined.
  3. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl, add about 1 cup of wet ingredients, beat with a mixer !on low speed! for about 15 seconds, then add the rest of the ingredients and beat on low speed for another 15-20 seconds. DO NOT over beat, or your cake will deflate.
  4. Divide batter evenly between two loaf pans.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, until golden in color or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes, before removing and allowing to cool on a cooling rack.

Make Icing

  1. Beat butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice & lemon emulsion until smooth and supple.
  2. Spread evenly on top of both cakes.
  3. Allow the glaze to harden up before slicing.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can be used to make a cake, cupcakes or even small individual squares like I did using a brownie square pan (see link to picture below the post).

Nutrition Facts
Starbuck’s Lemon Loaf Cake – the True Copycat Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 254 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 14%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 39mg 13%
Sodium 249mg 10%
Potassium 51mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 40g 13%
Sugars 23g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 2.6%
Vitamin C 1.5%
Calcium 7.9%
Iron 4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  • Tammy

    maybe I’m over thinking this recipe, but do you use the yellow cake mix dry or as directed on the box? And same with the pudding, do you prepare it or use it dry?

    · Reply
  • Donna

    I followed this recipe exactly. Disappointed that it sunk . I know I didn’t overmix because I actually timed it. It’s cooling now, let’s hope it tastes good! The only thing I did differently was to use a lemon cake mix instead of a yellow. It’s what I had on hand. The batter tasted really good but was thick.

    · Reply
    • Hi Donna,
      I’m sorry it sank and didn’t look like it was supposed to. Fortunately, the flavor should still all be there, even if the appearance is not what it was supposed to be. Let me know if you liked it!

      · Reply
  • Katie

    Would this work in a bundt pan?

    · Reply
  • Regular 1 lb loaf pan. You can use either 9×5 or 8×4, both will work.

    · Reply
  • Pam

    What size loaf pans are you using?

    · Reply
  • Nancy Sarmento

    I’d been looking for a tart lemony dessert….this totally is it. Love that it makes 2 loaves, one I took to a dinner party, one to keep at home for us. Will definitely make again and again.

    · Reply
  • Vonda

    It was husbands birthday today. He wants a lemon pound cake like Starbucks. A whole 6 slice cost 21.00 there. I found this recipe here and……OmGoodness it was the BOMB! He liked it better than starbucks…I felt like crying…..And when 1 of my sons said the same thing ….I almost fell out of my chair….We also had a store bought cheesecake. My other son my oldest thought is better than the cheesecake ….He took 3 pieces of cake home with him….Thank you for this recipe.

    Love ,

    · Reply
  • Dot Dawson

    Both of my loaves deflated, so disappointing

    · Reply
  • […] Starbuck’s Lemon Loaf Cake from Let the Baking Begin […]

    · Reply
  • Melodie

    I took this to Starbucks so friends who work there could compare the the Starbucks lemons pound cake to your recipe! You won hands down said it super moist, not acidity best of all it tasted like real lemons not artificial at all. They asked me to make more so they could enjoy it.
    My better-halfs parents raved about it and thought I made it from scratch. Same with my better-half, he loved it and was so happy I could a recipe that would use lemons from our tree!
    The only thing I changed was using lemon rind for the cake and Treatolgy lemon from wiltons instead of lemon emulsion.
    Now to take one of the others advice and use orange…

    Thanks for posting this recipe, Marina!


    · Reply
  • Martha stapler

    Just made. Loved it.

    · Reply
  • Michelle

    This is an excellent recipe, I’ve used it countless times with different variations of flavours. The lemon and butterscotch are the most liked. I’ve also combined the flavours of coconut cream and banana puddings. Only one thing i would change though that gives it the consistency of a pound cake and that is to mix it more. I use a kitchen aide and let it go for about 4-5 mins.. This gives the cake a finer crumb and denser consistency and I don’t have an issue with it sinking. Getting rave reviews each and every time I make it 🙂 . Hope this helps .

    · Reply

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