Irresistibly Easy Lemon Pound Cake

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Moist lemon pound cake that really tastes like lemon! Made with cream cheese and a cake mix, it's a simple and easy dessert recipe in loaf or bundt form.

slice of lemon pound cake on white plate with whipped cream and slice of fresh lemon on top of the cake

I am a self-professed lemon addict. I love all things lemon, especially during the summer, but sometimes even in winter when we need a pop of color and flavor in our days.

Lemon cake has always been one of my favorite desserts, ever since I was a little girl making it with both my mom and grandma. But I think lemon pound cake is right up there with my favorite lemon cake recipe.

This lemon cream cheese pound cake is super easy to make. The most work it involves is zesting a couple of lemons, and really, that's not all that difficult.

While my regular cream cheese pound cake uses a yellow cake mix, my lemon pound cake recipe calls for a lemon cake mix. And then I add in a li'l lemon zest for even more lemon-y flavor.

It creates a very moist lemon pound cake with a slightly crunchy, very flavorful crust on top of the cake.

sliced loaf of lemon cream cheese pound cake on tan cutting board with fresh lemon slices and lemon wedges

WHERE CAN I FIND THE ACTUAL RECIPE CARD?

If you’d rather skip all of my baking tips, important info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.

FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IS POUND CAKE? WHY IS POUND CAKE CALLED POUND CAKE?

Originally, I thought it was because pound cake is a heavier cake. It's not really dense, but it is a heavier cake in bundt or loaf form.

Actually, though…

Traditionally, pound cakes were made with 1 pound of each ingredient: flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.

Another interesting note… This type of cake is a dessert believed to have originated in Northern Europe in the 1700's.

Our State Magazine has a really interesting article all about true pound cake with a little bit of its history.

TIPS FOR HOW TO MAKE LEMON POUND CAKE

Making lemon pound cake with cake mix is really easy. It involves minimal ingredients and not a lot of work.

plain slice of moist lemon pound cake on white plate with fork

A few tips before you get started…

  • Be sure to soften the cream cheese ahead of time. I'd even recommend whipping the cream cheese separately before you mix anything else with it. This will help to keep any lumps from ruining your cake batter.
  • While I prefer to use a loaf pan, you can also use a bundt pan to make this cake. Just be sure to grease whichever pound cake pan you choose to use.

HOW CAN I MAKE LEMON POUND CAKE TASTE LIKE ACTUAL LEMON CAKE AND NOT JUST YELLOW CAKE?

In all of my research for this recipe, this was the one question that stood out the most. Most people have one single complaint when it comes to lemon pound cake… It doesn't have enough lemon flavor!

I really researched this because I'm also working on a gluten-free lemon pound cake (recipe coming very soon), and I knew I likely wouldn't be able to find a gluten-free lemon cake mix in time to make the recipe.

sliced lemon pound cake with dollop of whipped cream on white plate with fork

For this particular recipe, though, we're using a regular lemon cake mix, and that helps. But lemon zest will really give it an extra zing too.

Now you want to take one extra step when mixing up your cake batter…

Use a citrus zester to zest 2 lemons (you want a couple tablespoons of lemon zest).

Be sure to mix or blend the lemon zest with the sugar (and only the sugar) first, so the oils from the lemon zest can be infused into the sugar.

You can even let this mixture sit for a few minutes to really give it time to infuse, although this isn't really necessary if you don't have a lot of time.

STEPS TO MIX UP YOUR CAKE BATTER…

Before you get started mixing up this easy lemon pound cake, beat the cream cheese separately and set aside.

  1. Mix together the lemon zest and sugar first.
  2. Then mix the cake mix and cream cheese into that lemon sugar mixture.
  3. Next add the canola oil, hot water, and eggs.
  4. Mix everything together really well, until you have a smooth, creamy batter.
steps for how to make lemon pound cake with cake mix, lemon zest, eggs, and other ingredients in metal mixing bowl

Then just pour the batter into a greased loaf pan or bundt pan, and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Oven times may vary.

baking lemon pound cake in cast iron bread pan

Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes or so. Then let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving with whipped cream.

Such a light and fluffy texture to this cake. It's so, so good!

bite of moist lemon pound cake on fork with slice of cake on white plate in background

RATHER HAVE A LEMON GLAZE FOR POUND CAKE?

While I didn't put a lemon glaze on this cake, you can do that.

Just mix up a simple glaze with powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice, and pour it over your cake while your cake is still slightly warm.

You can find exact ingredient amounts in the recipe card below.

HOW TO STORE POUND CAKE

To keep the cake as moist as possible, you'll want to store it in an airtight container.

There's no need to refrigerate it, but if you want it to last longer, you can. Just make sure it's either covered really well or in an airtight container.

HOW TO FREEZE POUND CAKE

Same as refrigerating… Just be sure it's sealed in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in freezer safe wrap so it doesn't get freezer burn.

It should keep in the freezer for 4 to 6 months.

slice of lemon loaf cake on white plate with whipped cream and fresh lemon slice on top

SHOP KITCHEN TOOLS FOR THIS RECIPE:

Citrus Zester

Mixer – I use my mixer just about every time I bake anything.

Loaf Pan or Bundt Cake Pan – I love my cast iron loaf pan, pictured above.

Spatula – Where would I be without my spatulas? I have a whole slew of them because we’re ALWAYS using them.

Cake Tester – Dan bought me a cake tester awhile back, and I’ll tell ya, it’s come in so handy! Although a toothpick inserted works really well too.

Wire Rack

GET THE PRINTABLE RECIPE

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lemon pound cake recipe

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Yield: 12 servings

Irresistibly Easy Lemon Pound Cake

Irresistibly Easy Lemon Pound Cake

Moist lemon pound cake that really tastes like lemon! Made with cream cheese and a cake mix, it's a simple and easy dessert recipe in loaf or bundt form.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

Cake:

Optional Lemon Glaze:

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. First, beat the cream cheese separately and set aside.
  3. Mix together the lemon zest and sugar.
  4. Then mix the cake mix and cream cheese into the lemon sugar mixture.
  5. Next add the canola oil, hot water, and eggs.
  6. Mix everything together really well, until you have a smooth, creamy batter.
  7. Pour the cake batter into a greased pan.*
  8. Bake at 350° for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes or so in the pan.
  10. Then let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving with whipped cream. Or you can pour the lemon glaze over the cake while it's still a bit warm, allow it to cool, and slice and serve.

Notes

*While I prefer to use a loaf pan, you can also use a bundt pan to make this cake.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 346 Total Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 81mg Sodium: 402mg Carbohydrates: 51g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 33g Protein: 5g

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