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Last Updated on June 11, 2021 by Chenée Lewis
For my family, no holiday gatherings are complete without a table full of desserts. There are always the usual must-haves: sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, banana pudding, icebox pies, and pound cakes of all varieties. This recipe for lemon sour cream pound cake reminds me of that dessert table, and all the 7-up cakes and sock-it-to-me cakes that the amazing bakers in my family bring to it.
I’m especially proud to share this recipe to celebrate Juneteenth, the oldest national celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. It commemorates June 19th, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger announced to citizens of Galveston, Texas that all formerly enslaved people were finally free — two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. From then on, Black Americans around the country have celebrated June 19th as Juneteenth, our country’s second independence day, a day of jubilation and remembrance.
Today, Juneteenth continues to grow in prominence, and is traditionally celebrated with parades, barbecues, street fairs, and rodeos. Food and drink are important parts of Juneteenth celebrations, which is what brings us to this year’s Juneteenth Virtual Cookout, an annual collaboration among Black food bloggers and creators to celebrate the culinary tradition of Juneteenth. This year, more than 40 Black creators have come together to contribute to this collaborative menu as a Freedom Day tribute, and you HAVE to see these amazing recipes!
The full list of all of the creators and their recipes is down below — you can take part in the Freedom Day celebration by trying and sharing these recipes, and following along with #JuneteenthCookout2021 on Instagram!
What is the origin of pound cake?
Early pound cake recipes date all the way back to the 1700s in England, and two pound cake recipes are included in 1796’s American Cookery, the first cookbook published in the United States by an American author, Amelia Simmons. As the decades progressed, pound cake recipes grew in popularity, particularly in Southern states.
In 1866, Malinda Russell, an African American woman born and raised in Tennessee, published A Domestic Cook Book: Containing a Careful Selection of Useful Receipts for the Kitchen, which is now recognized as the very first cookbook published by an African American chef. Mrs. Russell led a truly remarkable life, including working as a cook and a nurse, and owning a laundry, a boarding house, and a pastry shop. In A Domestic Cook Book, Mrs. Russell presents hundreds of recipes, mostly for sweets and baked goods. Several of them are unmistakable as pound cakes, and many have striking similarities to this lemon sour cream pound cake:
Then, in 1881, when Mrs. Abby Fisher published What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, the second known cookbook by an African American chef, she included two pound cake recipes as well, cementing the pound cake as an archetype of both Southern and African American cooking.
Today, pound cakes of all types are a consistent presence on the tables of Black families. I personally find so much joy in knowing that when I bake this lemon sour cream pound cake, I’m honoring the culinary and pastry traditions of these trailblazing Black chefs, and all of the talented bakers in my own family as well.
How do you make a lemon pound cake moist from scratch?
The secret for a moist texture in this lemon sour cream pound cake is right there in the name: the sour cream! Just like with my chocolate sour cream pound cake, the sour cream in this cake creates a moist, tender cake while maintaining that rich, dense crumb that all good pound cakes have. Also, I would definitely recommend full-fat sour cream to achieve the perfect level of moisture.
Also, make sure not to over-bake your cake! Leaving your cake in the oven even a couple minutes too long can dry it out, so begin to check it a few minutes before the recipe says it’ll be finished.
- granulated sugar – we’ll use granulated sugar to create a nice sweetness and balance out the tartness of the lemon in this pound cake.
- lemon zest – pressing the lemon zest into the sugar helps to bring out the natural oils present in the zest, and gives us a brighter lemon flavor in this lemon sour cream pound cake.
- salted butter – make sure your butter is room temperature. If you prefer to use unsalted butter, just add ½ tsp of salt in with your dry ingredients.
- eggs – your eggs should also be room temperature.
- vanilla extract – be sure to use a high-quality pure vanilla extract. Or better yet, check out my post on how to make vanilla extract at home with just 2 ingredients!
- fresh lemon juice – the combination of zest and juice in this sour cream pound cake gives us such a perfect lemon flavor!
- sour cream – our not-so-secret ingredient! Make sure you use a full-fat sour cream, and that it’s room temperature as well.
- cake flour – using cake flour in this lemon sour cream pound cake gives us a soft, tender crumb that is so perfect with the buttery cake. Be sure to use a kitchen scale to measure by weight, or use the spoon-and-level method to measure by volume. If you don’t have cake flour, see below for an easy substitute!
- baking soda – we’ll add a little baking soda to make sure that we get a nice lift to this cake.
Finally, we’ll make an easy lemon glaze for this sour cream pound cake!
- powdered sugar – provides the structure and sweetness for our glaze. Just like with our cake flour, be sure to measure it correctly.
- lemon zest and juice – for a boost of lemony flavor. Add a little extra lemon juice as needed to achieve the right thinness.
- melted butter – a touch of butter gives the glaze a richer texture!
This lemon sour cream pound cake requires basic cake tools — an electric mixer, a whisk and rubber spatula, and of course, a Bundt or tube pan! My favorite pound cake pan is this Nordicware Elegant Party Bundt Pan, which provides such a neat shape and divides into lots of perfectly-sized slices!
Tips and F.A.Q.
Sour cream adds moisture to your cake batter without thinning it out, giving you a moister, closer crumb in your finished cake. Also, the acid present in sour cream provides a tangy flavor, and reacts with baking soda to give this lemon sour cream pound cake more lift! Finally, the high fat content in full-fat sour cream keeps your cake moist well after it’s baked!
If you don’t have cake flour, you can make a substitute to use for this lemon sour cream pound cake! All you need is all-purpose flour and corn starch. Just measure out 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and replace 6 tablespoons of it with cornstarch. In grams, it’ll be 273 grams of all-purpose flour sifted with 40 grams of cornstarch.
If you don’t have any full-fat sour cream on hand, the closest substitute would be an equivalent amount of full-fat greek yogurt.
Here’s my method: First, make sure your bundt pan is well-made, with a high-quality nonstick coating free of any scuffs or scratches. Then, just before pouring in the batter, spray your bundt pan with baking spray (the kind that contains flour), being sure to get it in every crevice. Finally, let your lemon sour cream pound cake rest for 10-15 minutes when you remove it from the oven, then immediately turn out carefully onto a wire rack to cool completely. If necessary, tap jiggle the overturned bundt pan to loosen the cake. This is what I’ve learned to do each time, and always have great results!
Like most pound cakes, this cake stores and freezes so well! You can keep it, covered, at room temperature for up to four days, or you can freeze it, well wrapped, for up to two months.
This lemon sour cream pound cake is just one of so many lemon recipes that I love! First, you’ve got to try my contribution to the 2020 Juneteenth Virtual Cookout, my lemon icebox pie! It’s a straightforward, easy recipe that the whole family will love, but it’s elegant enough for company as well! You’ll love the homemade graham cracker crust and the rich, creamy lemon filling. And that fresh whipped cream on top just brings it all together so perfectly!
Another lemony recipe that you’ll love is my Lemon Curd Cookies recipe! They’re classic shortbread thumbprint cookies, and their tart lemon curd filling complements the buttery shortbread so perfectly!
Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake with Lemon GlazePrint Pin Recipe Rate Recipe
Equipment you may need
- 10-12 cup bundt pan
- microplane grater/zester
- 4 tsp (20 ml) lemon zest - packed
- 2 ¼ cups (450 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (227 g) salted butter – room temperature - 2 sticks
- 4 large eggs - room temperature
- 2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (61 g) fresh lemon juice
- 8 oz. (227 g) full-fat sour cream - room temperature (about 1 cup)
- 2 ½ cups (313 g) cake flour
- ½ tsp (2 ml) baking soda - 2g
- baking spray
- 2 cup (240 g) confectioners’ sugar - 230g
- 1 tsp (5 ml) lemon zest
- ⅓ cup (81 g) fresh lemon juice - or more as needed
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) salted butter - melted
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Add lemon zest and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mizing bowl. Press zest into sugar with a rubber spatula for about 1 minute to release lemon oils.
- Add butter and cream for about 3 minutes or until creamy and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla, mixing well between each addition.
- In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and lemon juice until smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour and baking soda.
- Fold in ⅓ of dry ingredients to batter until just combined, then fold in with ½ of sour cream mixture. Repeat with another ⅓ of the dry ingredients, then remaining sour cream mixture, then the final ⅓ of dry ingredients.
- Spoon batter into pan and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick entered into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon zest, melted butter, and lemon juice until smooth. If needed, add more lemon juice a teaspoon at a time to thin glaze to desired consistency.
- Pour glaze over cooled cake and let set before serving.
PIN this lemon sour cream pound cake recipe for later!
#JuneteenCookout2021 Recipes – Try, Share, and Enjoy!
- Watermelon Ice Pops by A Girl Called Adri
- Juneteenth Soul Rolls by Black Girls Who Brunch
- Honey Buttermilk Biscuits with Roasted Strawberries by Britney Breaks Bread
- Strawberry Collins by Brownbelle
- Peach Cobbler Cinnamon Rolls by Butter Be Ready
- Red Hot Pepper Shrimps by Chef and Steward
- Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins by Chef Curl Ardee
- Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake by Chenée Today
- Vegan Ranch Style Beans by Collards Are The Old Kale
- Jamaican Jerk BBQ Ribs by Cooks with Soul
- Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw by Crumb-Snatched
- Strawberry-Basil Sorbet by D.M.R. Fine Foods
- Red Velvet Layer Cake with Chocolate Covered Strawberries by Dash of Jazz
- Red Velvet Cookies by Dish It With Tisha
- Brisket Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes by Dude That Cookz
- BBQ Baked Beans by Food Fidelity
- Black Eyed Pea Salad by FoodLoveTog
- Harissa Honey Roasted Vegetable Skewers by Geo’s Table
- Gluten Free Peach Cobbler (Vegan) by Good Food Baddie
- Crispy Gluten-free Baked BBQ Chicken Wings by Gristle and Gossip
- Summer Watermelon Fizz by Handy Chef
- Watermelon and Cucumber Salad by Heal Me Delicious
- Smoky Party Style Jollof Rice by Immaculate Ruemu
- Crab Boil & Garlic Butter Sauce by Jamieson Diaries
- Tamarind BBQ Wings by Just Add Hot Sauce
- Hibiscus Rum Punch by Kenneth Temple
- Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream by Lenox Bakery
- Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches by Mash & Spread
- Grilled Hot Links & Chow Chow by Meiko And The Dish
- Strawberry Lemonade Sangria by Nik Snacks
- Brown Sugar Caramel No-Churn Ice Cream by Open Invitation Entertainment
- Strawberry Basil Pineapple Mocktail by Orchids + Sweet Tea
- Lemon Meringue Tart by Peaches 2 Peaches
- Spicy Shrimp Creole by Pink Owl Kitchen
- Strawberry Crunch Cake Brownies by Razzle Dazzle Life
- Grilled Maque Choux Salad by Savor and Sage
- Savannah Red Rice by Seasoned To Taste
- Country Style Potato Salad by Sense & Edibility
- Deviled Eggs by Slight Kitchen Werk
- Rum Punch by Sweet & Sorrel
- Mint Julep by Sweet Tea + Thyme
- Almond Peach Cake by That Green Lyfe
- Strawberry Cobbler Galette by The Dana Renée Way Strawberry Baby Back Ribs by This Worthey Life
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