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

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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 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pound cake
Servings: 10 servings


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract


  • 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.
Old Fashioned lemon pound cake on white tray

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:

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  1. 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. 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.

    1. 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

  2. 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. 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.

  3. 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. 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.

  4. 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. 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.