This easy Lemon Loaf Recipe is made from scratch with simple ingredients you likely already have on hand. Ultra moist and full of sweet, tangy flavor, it’s easy to make and even tastier than the Starbucks version! Serve it for holiday parties, birthdays, and more.
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Why You’ll Love this Lemon Loaf Recipe
Are you obsessed with the Starbucks lemon loaf? We definitely are! It’s one of our favorite treats, and we can’t help but get a slice every time we grab a cup of coffee. However, we can’t always justify running out to the store every time a craving strikes. Plus, our kids always end up eating half of our dessert. So, we decided to create our own lemon loaf recipe! Not only will you finally be able to have an entire piece to yourself, but this lemon loaf cake is also:
- Made with simple, pantry staple ingredients.
- Super easy to whip up.
- Great to make in advance.
- Loaded with bold lemon flavor and a moist, decadent texture.
Ingredients You’ll Need
One of the best things about this lemon loaf recipe is that minimal ingredients can create a delicate and delicious flavor that’s sweet without being overpowering. Here’s everything you’ll need:
For the Lemon Loaf Cake:
- Butter – Unsalted butter is crucial to helping the cake rise and creating a soft, tender texture.
- Sugar – Regular granulated sugar sweetens the cake and enhances the lemon flavor.
- Ricotta Cheese – Whole milk ricotta is our secret weapon to create the softest, moistest lemon loaf recipe you’ll ever taste!
- Eggs – Used to add structure to the batter and help the lemon loaf keep its shape.
- Lemon – Both lemon zest and lemon juice are used to infuse the batter.
- Vanilla Extract – A baking staple used to enhance the natural flavors.
- All-Purpose Flour – Forms the base of the batter.
- Baking Powder – For the best results and the fluffiest lemon loaf, make sure your baking powder is fresh!
- Kosher Salt – Just a pinch helps enhance the sweetness of the cake.
For the Glaze:
- Powdered Sugar – Unlike granulated sugar, powdered sugar can be transformed into a smooth, icing-like glaze.
- Salt – To create a bold flavor.
- Lemon Juice – Combined with the sugar for a flavored glaze.
How to Make a Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf Cake
We love lemon loaf recipes because unlike other intricate cake recipes they’re quick and easy to make!
- Create the Wet Ingredients. Add the butter, sugar, and ricotta to a large mixing bowl, and use a handheld mixer on medium speed to beat the ingredients until they’re light and fluffy. Then, reduce the speed to low, and add the eggs one at a time. Then, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract, and beat again to combine.
- Add the Dry Ingredients. In the same bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients until they are just combined.
- Bake. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan, and bake until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and comes out clean.
- Cool. Transfer the loaf cake to a cooling rack for 1 hour.
- Create the Glaze. In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients for the glaze until smooth. Drizzle the mixture over the loaf cake, and allow it to set for 15 minutes before digging in.
Don’t Overmix! Make sure to stir the batter until the ingredients are just combined and smooth. Continuing to mix will result in a dense, tough lemon loaf cake.
Adjust the Glaze. Feel free to adjust the consistency of the glaze to suit your preferences. If it is too thick, stir in a few extra drops of lemon juice. Or, if it is too runny, slowly stir in extra powdered sugar.
Use Fresh Lemon Juice. Opt for freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of the stuff from a jar for a bolder, more delicious flavor.
Bake the Lemon Loaf Recipe in a Bundt Pan. If you don’t have a loaf pan, you can make this lemon loaf recipe in a bundt pan instead. It just won’t look quite as pretty.
This lemon loaf recipe is best eaten fresh. However, if you have leftovers or want to make it ahead of time, follow the storage instructions below.
Room Temperature: Cover your lemon loaf cake in plastic wrap, and store it at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Refrigerator: For a longer-lasting option, make sure your lemon loaf is completely covered in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container, and store it in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Freezer: Once your lemon loaf is completely cooled and the glaze is set, you can double wrap it in plastic wrap, and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Lemon Loaf Recipe Common Questions
We haven’t tried it, but you should be able to swap out the flour for a 1:1 gluten-free flour instead. If you do, please let us know how it goes in the comments below!
Yes! Just split the batter between two 9×5 loaf pans. Or, use a single 9×13 loaf pan, and adjust the baking time as needed.
Yes! Just note that the baking time will vary depending on the size of the pans you use. So, be sure to keep a close eye on your lemon loaves as they bake!
More Easy Cake Recipes
No matter the occasion, we’ve got plenty of cake recipes for you! If you enjoy this lemon loaf, be sure to check out more of our favorites below.
The Best Lemon Loaf Recipe (Starbucks Copycat)
For the Lemon Loaf Cake:
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese at room temperature
- 3 extra large eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest from 1 large lemon or 2 small
- 4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 large lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Glaze:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the butter, sugar, and ricotta cheese. Using a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat the ingredients for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Reduce the speed to low, and add the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
- Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract, and beat again to combine.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the ingredients together until just combined. Do not overmix!
- Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan, and bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and comes out clean.
- Transfer the lemon loaf to a wire rack, and cool for 1 hour.
- In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, salt, and lemon juice until smooth. Pour the glaze over the lemon loaf, and let set for 15 minutes or until hardened.
- Store covered at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.