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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.

Sliced lemon loaf cake on a cutting board with a yellow knife.

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.

Up close picture of slices of lemon loaf cake topped with 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.

A slice of lemon loaf cake on a cutting board with a knife.

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

4.78 from 22 votes

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.

Author: Picky Palate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon cake, lemon loaf cake
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 350°F. Line 2 loaf pans with foil & spray with nonstick 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 1/2 stick butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, 4 tbsp lemon juice & 1 tsp 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*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 39mg13%
Sodium 249mg11%
Potassium 51mg1%
Carbohydrates 40g13%
Sugar 23g26%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 130IU3%
Vitamin C 1.2mg1%
Calcium 79mg8%
Iron 0.7mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Marina | Let the Baking Begin

Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! I'm Marina and my love and passion for eating only the most delicious foods drive me to share that love here on Let the Baking Begin (since 2009). With over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, you know the recipes are tested and retested until perfect. I'm so happy to have you here. Enjoy! Read more...

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  • Starbuck’s Lemon Loaf Cake – the copycat Recipe
    DELICIOUS!! Easy recipe. The only thing I will do different next time is add some lemon, orange or lime zest to make the load even prettier.

    · Reply
  • Teresa Chipman

    To make cupcakes, what would be the bake temp and time?

    · Reply
    • Same baking temp, but a lot less time. If I had to guess, I’d say about 15-20 minutes? Check with a skewer in the center, if it comes out clean it’s ready.

      · Reply
  • Jane

    Can a 13×9 be used

    · Reply
  • Elizabeth McDonald

    You never specified the size pans you were using. Would be helpful as loaf pans come in many sizes. Thank you.

    · Reply
  • Rita Book

    Delicious! I’ve made this recipe multiple times I discovered it a few months ago! First few sank even after following the mixing instructions. Now I mix longer than suggested but cook until internal temperature reaches 200•F, no sinking!

    · Reply
  • Gohar Bernal

    This cake was amazing. 100% better than Starbucks. So easy too! I didn’t have the lemon extract which still turned out amazing !

    · Reply
  • Sarah

    When I made this recipe, it tasted great, but only the outside edges rose. The inside, even this done, sunk to about a1/2 rise. Suggestions to avoid this? Thank you

    · Reply
    • This is the most common problem in ITV recipes as such and the only way to fix it is to mix it absolutely minimally. Overmixing it is what causes the sink 🙁

      · Reply
  • Kay

    Can I make this into a bundt cake? Do I need to double the recipe?

    · Reply
  • Margaret

    The cake looks delicious! I am just making it and it is already baking for 1.5h and still not ready. What size of the pans are you using? I am assuming mine is bigger as all the batter fit in one pan. I use this pan for bread making etc. Let me know.

    Thank you

    · Reply

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