Old-Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake Recipe That Is Better Than Grandma’s

In my last post, I shared how I festively wrapped the Old-Fashioned Lemon Pound Cakes I made to give to neighbors and friends over the holidays. Today I am sharing the recipe.

If you like pound cake, this is one recipe that will have your family and guests asking for another slice. I have made the recipe so many times that I no longer need the recipe card.

When Ed and I were first married I made about 100 mini loaves in a few days for Ed to give his students when he was an instructor at NC State, Duke and the University of North Carolina. I no longer make this many but it would not be Christmas at my house without having this deliciously moist old-fashioned lemon pound cake on the counter ready to eat.

How to Make Old-Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake

Old Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake recipeRecipe for Old-Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake

The pound cake calls for both vanilla and lemon extract. I have made it without adding lemon extract on a few occasions and it tastes just as delicious.

Old Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake sliced on long white plate

I have never added glaze to the top after baking. All I have ever added is to sift confectioner’s sugar over the top when it has cooled. It is all it needs.

A slice of toasted old fashioned lemon pound cake.

My favorite way to eat a slice, is to toast it. YUM!  I usually like it plain, but have been adding Lemon Spread on it over the weekend. It was one of the jams in my Christmas Countdown calendar that I wrote about getting a few weeks ago.

Just baked Old Fashioned lemon pound cake on white plate
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Old-Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake That Is Better Than Your Grandma’s

This is a moist pound cake that can be made ahead of time and frozen. Right out of the oven it is delicious, but the best way to enjoy it is toasted.  When baked in a loaf pan it makes a perfect hostess gift, especially if festively wrapped.
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time2 hours
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pound cake
Servings: 10 servings



  • Cream butter and shortening, gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Combine flour and baking powder, add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, mixing well after each addition.
  • Stir in vanilla and lemon extracts. Mix well.
  • Pour batter into a greased and floured large loaf pan or divide batter between two or more loaf pans to make multiple cakes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. This time will vary depending on the size loaf pan used. If pouring batter into mini pans adjust time to 20 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick.  Do not over bake.  
    My family likes the cake very moist, so I take it out of the oven as soon as the top is golden and the toothpick no longer has batter on it, but comes out with a few moist crumbs. If I wait until the toothpick comes out clean, I have found the cake can become too dry. 
  • Cool in pan 10-15 minutes, then remove from pan completely and let cool on rack.

Making the Old-Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake to give as a hostess gift?

how to wrap a loaf cake or bread to give as a gift

Use the link below to go to where I share how to wrap any loaf cake large and small:

Or perhaps you’re looking for some Christmas decorating project ideas to make the holiday season at your house merrier.

Old Fashioned lemon pound cake on white tray

More Cake & Cookie Recipes:

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  1. Alta again. Oh dear, I should have read down the list of previous questions and replies before sending you a message! After reading those entries I think the answer is to bake for 20 minutes, test with toothpick, don’t overbake.
    I should have been clearer about the size of the foil mini loaf pans I am using. At the top edge they measure 6 inches long by 3 1/2 inches wide, and they are exactly 2 inches deep,. The bottom of the pan measures 5 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide.
    Again, thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. Hi Diane, thank you for the lemon pound cake recipe which I plan to bake today! I am unsure about the baking time. Are you suggesting for mini loaf pans to bake for 20 minutes less than the 1 hour 15 minute time noted for larger loaf pans, or to bake mini loaves for a total of 20 minutes? I am using foil mini loaf pans that measure 6 inches (length) by 3 1/2 inches (width).
    Thanks again!

  3. Great web site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find good quality writing like yours these days.
    I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  4. Michelle Braun says:

    Made the pound cake and it was one of the best I have ever had!! I love the top of the cake, kind of crunchy in a very good way. I will definitely make this cake again!!
    There was a lot of batter so I divided it into two loaf pans and was able to keep one and gift one.

  5. Mary Jane says:


    I followed the recipe exactly and used a 10 inch loaf pan. However there was way too much batter and it overflowed the pan into the gen.
    What did I do wrong????

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary Jane –

      I am not sure why the batter went over. Do you live in a hi-altitude region? Very hi-rising flour or baking powder is the only other reasons I can think of or my 10 inch pan is deeper maybe. The recipe is from Southern Living and I have made it the same way for years. If you liked the taste and want to try again, only fill the pan 3/4 high. If you have left over batter, you can make a smaller second loaf and cook the smaller loaf for only 20 mins. Check for doneness and then bake more if needed. Happy 2019!

  6. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    Call me or email me. I have two very ripe Meyer’s Lemons with your name on them! From my yard.

  7. Diane – thanks, I think!? Made your lemon pound cake recipe and now my family has informed me that I have an amazing new skill as a pound cake baker and they expect many more pound cakes to be part of their future. My parents live next door and have coffee and some sort of little cake everyday at 4:30. They made it very clear after trying the lemon pound cake that their coffee time could be greatly enhanced with such a delicious addition to their routine! So, thanks you for sharing such a great recipe – simple and delicious! I just hope I can keep up with demand! Inspired by your other blog post of how to wrap the cake, I gave it try, wrapping a pound cake for my office mate, it looked so pretty. Little touches like that really elevate a simple gift to something really special! I don’t have any tips on a toaster, I’ve been using the same Black and Decker for 15 years! Thanks for writing such a great blog. Merry Christmas!

  8. Hi Diane, have been making pound cakes for many yrs. (SC family recipe) most Southerners use butter only) . This is in response to Bev not wanting to use shortening. Love your Christmas decorations. Have a happy holiday with your family.

  9. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your projects and posts. I check in regularly to see what’s new.
    Merry Christmas

  10. Mary Ann Howat says:

    Hi i make a lemon pound cake and put a lemon glaze on it. Soo good.

  11. 1960s girl says:

    Hello Diane,
    Thank you for the recipe! As for toasters, I recommend the SMEG 2-slice toaster (a little bit less expensive than the 4-slice one). It does not come cheap, so I waited until there was a big sale to buy it. Mine is red to fit with the accent colour in my kitchen.
    And, most importantly, it toasts EVENLY. Overall, it’s a great appliance!
    P.S.: I’m glad you finally received your Advent Calendar from Bonne Maman!
    I wrapped mine as a Christmas gift for my daughters and my husband to unwrap on Christmas Eve. I’m sure they will enjoy the jams on the toasts or bagels toasted… in my wonderful Smeg toaster!

    Have a great Christmas and a happy New Year.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Chantal –

      Another reader suggested a SMEG also. I just looked them up online. They are pretty. I will watch for a sale.

      Ed and I are having fun guessing what flavor of jam is under each day’s door on the Bonne Maman countdown calendar and then enjoying it on toast. Could be why my toaster is not working well, we have been using it a lot more the past two weeks. :-)

      Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy 2019.

  12. Kimberly O'Donoghue says:

    Like you Diane always searching for the perfect toaster. I currently own a Cuisinart and it’s not bad….! Not great either but I’m smitten with the SMEG toaster they come in beautiful colors are a bit retro and the overall word on the street is it’s a good product. Hold onto your pocketbook they’re not cheap around 150

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kimberly – Thanks for the toaster recommendation. Another reader mentioned a SMEG also. I just looked into the brand. They are pretty and pricey, but if they work well for a long time it would be worth the investment. I will wait to see if they ever go on sale or I can buy one with a coupon.

      I hope you have a very merry holiday.

  13. I’ll be trying this shortly, love anything lemon, how many mini loaves would this recipe make, thank you Diane?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jacky – The recipe will make between 8 – 10 mini loaves depending on the actual size of your pans. Bake them for about 20 mins and check for doneness. The cake tastes much better when not over baked. Enjoy! Happy Holidays

  14. Hi
    I would love to make this for my son upcoming birthday, I also would like to know if I could use some buttered flavored shortening and how much?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Evelyn – I am sure you could as many pound cake recipes are all butter. I would use the same amount of the butter flavored shortening as what is called forshortening wise – 1/2 cup and then still add the 1 cup of butter.

  15. Hi Diane, This looks awesome! What toaster do you have, I am also on a toaster hunt. Merry Christmas!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Susanne – I have a two slice Hamilton Beach Modern Chrome toaster. I like the size, stying and the controls, but it has stopped toasted evenly. Two other readers mentioned the SMEG brand. They are very pretty and come in lots of colors, but are pricey. I am going to do some research on them.

      Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and happy 2019

  16. Wow thanks Diane. I made your cherry pecan cookies, and added some white chocolate chips to one batch. Yummy. This lemon cake came just in time, I was going to make a raspberry ricotta cake, but my son loves lemon. Thanks so much for your great recipes, as well as all your DIY.
    Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy, new year.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Dee – I haven’t made the Cherry Pecan cookies yet, but they are on my list. I hope your son loves the lemon pound cake. When baking it, check for doneness a few times as it bakes as you don’t want to over bake it. It tastes so much better a little underdone, than over done.

      Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and happy 2019.

  17. Barbara Dudas says:

    This looks delicious! I will be making it for sure!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Barb :-) – It is really delicious! I just made two more large loaves to take up to Kelly and Mandy for Christmas. I hope you have the merriest Christmas and enjoy the holidays. XO

  18. Looks and sounds delicious and I already have the perfect couple in mind to bake it for. When you left out the lemon extract, did you increase the vanilla to 2 tsp (to make-up for the missing extract)?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lori – I have done it both ways, adding a tsp more of vanilla and just using the 1 tsp. I really could not tell a difference in the taste. The lemon extract does give it a special quality. I have been thinking that I may even try orange extract and add cranberries on my next batch.

      1. We think alike– I was wondering about the addition of blueberries, but the orange and cranberry sounds very good, too. (I think it’s the way I’m wired: I constantly change a recipe to my taste, BUT, I’m always so tentative changing any “baked” good. Probably due to the fact that I am not the best baker in my family.. I totally missed that gene I guess!)
        Thank you for sharing. May not get to try before Christmas, but keeping for trying when I can.

  19. That’s so yummy! Have you ever done it without the shortening? I just don’t know that I can bring myself to adding shortening to the batter. Or could I do all butter? I’m sure it tastes amazing. It looks amazing!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Beverly – I have never made it with butter instead of shortening. Since they are both saturated fats though, I think it would still taste good.

      1. Beverly Hayes says:

        Thanks, Diane!

  20. This looks so good! And good luck on the toaster hunt. We have purchased so many and still haven’t found one that toasts evenly.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Joy – It is maddening trying to find a decent toaster. I also only have limited kitchen counter space so it has to be on the smaller size. I will probably end up getting the same brand/model that just stopped working over the weekend.