Better Than Starbucks Lemon Loaf

If you like Starbucks Lemon Loaf, then you’ll love this moist, delicious Lemon cake! This easy to make recipe is loaded with delicious lemon flavor, and topped with an amazing lemon frosting. It’s even BETTER than Starbucks!

This delicious loaf of heaven is the perfect cross between a quick bread and a cake! It’s similar to both our white chocolate lemon bread, and our lemon bundt cake—moist, delicious, and perfectly lemon-y!

Lemon loaf on a cutting board with lemons

Even better than starbucks!

Raise your hand if you love Starbucks Lemon Loaf! Yes, I see you raising your hand – I’m right there with you! There is something about that delicious, moist cake that keeps us all coming back for more.

It’s rich, moist, perfectly flavored lemon cake topped with the perfect layer of lemon frosting, well…there is no way I’m sharing a slice. I’ve come to tell you that you can make this delicious Lemon Loaf right at home, and it will taste EVEN BETTER than Starbucks!

iced lemon pound cake cut into slices

Why it’s better

A couple things – I tested a few recipes I found on line. What I found were recipes that ended up either too dry, or had an odd balance of tart lemon flavor. None really had the same moistness and perfectly balanced lemon flavor as the Starbucks cake.

Another thing was getting a frosting that had the same consistency as the Starbucks cake. The one I have here, hits the spot perfectly!

While baking, I kept it in the oven a little longer than some of the other recipes I tried. It needed a little longer to ensure that it wouldn’t sink in the middle.

Unlike other recipes I tried, I added Greek yogurt to this cake recipe, and a little more oil. With these additions, this recipe is spot-on! The ultimate moist, delicious lemon cake!

one slice of lemon loaf cake

Tips, tricks, and troubleshooting

Can’t find lemon pudding mix? I can usually find lemon pudding mix at any of my local grocery stores. However, I know many people have had trouble locating this specific pudding.

If you have the time, you can order lemon pudding online from Amazon, OR you can use a vanilla pudding mix that is more readily available. If you choose to use vanilla pudding, just add a little extra lemon extract.

Double check that you bought the INSTANT pudding, NOT the cook n serve kind.

Using different sized pans: Since every oven seems to cook a little differently, use the following information as a guide. Keep a close eye on the cake toward the end of the bake time and adjust as needed. You’ll know your cake is done when an inserted toothpick/skewer comes out clean. 

  • Bundt pan: Preheat oven to 325° F. Be sure to grease and flour the pan generously. Bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes. 
  • Mini loaves: Preheat oven to 350° F and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Muffins: Preheat oven to 350° F for 20-25 minutes.

Icing came out grainy? Here are a few common reasons it could happen:

  • Poor sugar quality: Use “pure sugar cane” powdered sugar and sift the sugar.
  • Not enough fat (in this case the butter).
  • Not using room temperature butter.
  • Be sure to add the powdered sugar slowly beating well between each addition.

What do I do if the outside is browning, but the inside isn’t done yet?

  • Loosely place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the cake as it finishes baking.
  • Reduce the oven temperature by 25°.
  • Be sure the pan isn’t too close the the heating element. It should be positioned in the center of the oven.
  • Use a rose nail to help spread the heat to the center of the cake for a more even bake. Also known as a flower nail or cake nail
slices of starbucks lemon pound cake on yellow plates

Keep your loaf fresh

This delicious lemon loaf can be stored in an airtight container for 4-5 days. We do not recommend keeping it in the refrigerator as it will dry the cake out faster!

For long term storage, go ahead and keep it in the freezer. To freeze it without the frosting, allow the cake to completely cool wrap the loaf with plastic wrap then again with aluminum foil.

If it has frosting, flash freeze first by placing the cake (whole or sliced) on a baking sheet. Freeze for 2-3 hours, then wrap. Once wrapped, label and freeze for up to 6 months. 

I hope you enjoy this Lemon Loaf as much as my family and I have. I think you’ll discover this recipe is definitely better than Starbucks, and maybe even save you a trip to the coffee shop in the future!

For more yummy quick bread loaves, check out:

Starbucks Lemon Loaf Recipe

4.92 from 186 votes
If you like Starbucks Lemon Loaf, then you’ll love this moist, delicious Lemon cake! This easy to make recipe is loaded with delicious lemon flavor, and topped with an amazing lemon frosting.
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10
Calories 432 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3.4 oz instant lemon pudding mix
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • zest of 1 lemon

Frosting

  • 3 tbsp butter soft but not melted
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 5 x 9" loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper. (With a pencil, trace the bottom of the pan on a piece of parchment paper and cut out with scissors.) Spray the pan, and parchment paper with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a stand or hand mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract, lemon juice, oil and yogurt. Mix until evenly combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the lemon zest, and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes, or until center is fully set, and a toothpick inserted comes out crumb free.
  • After baking, let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan, invert and remove from the pan, removing the parchment paper from the bottom. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • For the frosting: Combine the butter, lemon juice and lemon extract with hand or stand mixer. Gradually add the powdered sugar, and beat until smooth and creamy. Evenly spread the frosting over the top of the loaf. Refrigerate to let frosting set completely before slicing. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.

Video

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Oh my! This Lemon Loaf look AMAZING!!! And no yeast is involved, which is good for me since I still don’t feel like I’ve mastered using it. 😉

Thanks, Erin! For more great recipes from her, be sure to go to Delightful E Made.

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About Lil Luna

Lil’ Luna is the place to find all things creative. From recipes to home decor to gift ideas and crafts, you can find unique, simple and fun ideas for your home, kitchen and for any occasion.

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Comments:

  1. Hi,
    Looking to make this. We Love Starbucks Lemon loaf. With the lemon juice are you using lemons or a bottled lemon juice? I know it said fresh so are you straining it? Sorry for such a silly question.

    1. Not a silly question at all. I like to use fresh lemon juice (yes, that is strained so no pulp or seeds in there). Hope you enjoy the loaf!

    1. It totally does for this recipe. There is also vegetable oil in it too. Hope you enjoy the loaf!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve made this twice and it’s absolutely as close to Starbucks as I’ve ever tried! I found the lemon pudding at our local grocery store and bought several so I could make more. I always bought this at Starbucks but not since I make this! And I refrigerate it and it seems to get even more moist. I made it exactly by your recipe. Thank you for this!

    1. You’re welcome! I’m so glad you love the loaf. And smart to stock up on the lemon pudding! I love it! 🙂

  3. 4 stars
    Love this recipe with a little modifications! I always add the zest of 3-4 lemons instead of 1 because I like it super lemony! I also use sour cream instead of greek yogurt & it always comes out so tender & moist! Definitely use room-temperature eggs & sour cream for the best results.

  4. Does this really only call for one and a half cups flour? I baked the tar out of it and it’s got wonderful flavor but the texture Is goop. Id love this to be a keeper.

    1. It does. That is strange why it didn’t bake for you. I’m not quite sure what would have caused that. I know temperature and elevation can affect baking… perhaps that played into it? I’m so sorry to hear it didn’t turn out well for you.

  5. 5 stars
    One of the best desserts i’ve ever had!! My husband doesn’t even like lemon and he keeps asking me to make it again!

  6. 5 stars
    This cake is better than Starbucks. I make it so often. I have never used bottled lemon juice so I’m not sure if it would taste as good. Squeezing the lemons is a lot of work but well worth it. I made 7 loaves last night and 4 more that were gluten-free.

    1. Yummy! Fresh lemon juice really does make the recipe! I’m so glad to hear you love it. And how cool that you made some gluten-free loaves too.

  7. Hi! I want to make this lemon loaf this weekend, can I refrigerate the loaf dough before baking and then bake it the next morning?

    1. Yes, it should still turn out if you bake the next morning. I wouldn’t suggest waiting much longer than that because the baking powder and baking soda will start losing their rising ability.

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe is THE. BEST. Not only does it look perfect and taste incredible, but I left half of it in the freezer for 11 months in plastic wrap, and it was still AMAZING! Tasted as if it was baked the day before 👌🏻

  9. 5 stars
    I’ve made this cake several times I’ve even doubled the recipe and baked in a tube pan it’s a big hit with my family and friends.

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