Join 11,000+ other food lovers enjoying weekly recipes.

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

4.5 from 6 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.

Bon Appetit & Happy Pinning

Thank you for following me on Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest!

Hashtag your photos #LetTheBakingBeginBlog so I can see your creations and for a chance to be featured!

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...

Join 11,000+ other food lovers enjoying weekly recipes.


Leave a comment

Please give this recipe a STAR RATING

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • 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
  • Lynda

    Can you add zucchini to this recipe?

    · Reply
  • Janice hasting

    I’ve made this 4 times it goes and fast as it comes out of the oven

    · Reply
  • Jude

    Hi, I would love to try this recipe, but I’m in the uk.
    Would you be able to tell me what the equivalent of yellow box cake mix, yellow pudding, and lemon emulsion is ?

    · Reply
  • Starbucks lemon pound cake icing is more firm which is what i’m looking for to ice the cake your’s resembles a softer icing, I’m still searching for the true icing recipe!

    · Reply
    • Hi Georgiana,
      If you’re looking for a replica of the current lemon cake at Starbucks than this one will not be it, because this one was meant to replicate the one they had before they switched to the new bakery. Good luck!

      · Reply
    • Carla

      I would try increasing the powdered sugar or reducing the liquid for the

      · Reply
  • Melodie Gingras

    Pretty bad when I buy two slices from Starbucks and have the employees taste your copy cat version vs what I bought…hands down yours wins! It was light and filled with flavor where the Starbucks version was more of pound cake! The only difference I did was add zest to the frosting and the cake itself…

    I made this recipe for Christmas because of all the lemons in our backyard and I keep on getting requests from friends for the recipe they still can’t believe it came from a box!

    · Reply
  • 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

As seen in