The best lemon sour cream pound cake for any occasion! This old fashioned lemon sour cream pound cake with is moist, soft, and topped with a perfect buttery lemon icing! And if you want more pound cake goodness, try my Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake, my Apple Cider Donut Cake, and my Key Lime Pound Cake!
Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake Recipe
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.
Lemon Pound Cake Recipe for Juneteenth Cookout 2021
I'm especially proud to share this lemon pound cake 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.
Why is it called lemon pound cake?
The name "pound cake" comes from the fact that the cake was originally made with a pound each of flour, eggs, sugar, and butter. As time has gone on, the standard pound cake recipe has evolved to produce a softer, fluffier texture, while maintaining the moist, tight crumb of its origins. This moist lemon sour cream pound cake is the result of hundreds of years of pound cake evolution!
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 bake time is up.
Ingredients for Old Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake
- 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 teaspoon 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 - making our lemon sour cream pound cake using cake flour 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!
What does adding sour cream to cake do?
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!
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.
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 ½ cups of all-purpose flour and replace 5 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.
More Lemon Recipes You'll Love
- Lemon Icebox Pie
- Lemon Dump Cake
- Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins with Lemon
- Lemon and Blackberry Cake
- Lemon Curd Cookies
Equipment you may need
- 10-12 cup bundt pan
- 4 teaspoon (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 teaspoon (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 teaspoon (2 ml) baking soda - 2g
- baking spray
- 2 cup (240 g) confectioners’ sugar - 230g
- 1 teaspoon (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.4 teaspoon lemon zest, 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- Add butter and cream for about 3 minutes or until creamy and fluffy.1 cup salted butter - room temperature
- Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla, mixing well between each addition.4 large eggs, 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and lemon juice until smooth. Set aside.¼ cup fresh lemon juice, 8 oz. full-fat sour cream
- In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour and baking soda.½ teaspoon baking soda, 2 ½ cups cake flour
- 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.
- baking spray
- 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.2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 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
Last Updated on November 14, 2022 by Chenée Lewis
Can I make it without the sourcream?
I haven't tried this cake without the sour cream, but I would think that a similar amount of full-fat buttermilk or half milk and half softened cream cheese should be a good substitute. Let me know how it works out for you!
I made not one, but *two* of these this past week - brought a few slices into work, and those lucky enough to try it really liked it. It's a keeper! I actually like it without the glaze (I had to try it before I gave out pieces, y'know!).
Thank you!! This is definitely a popular cake to share!
This one seems so delicious, thanks for sharing recipe and instructions, will try this one for sure.
Thanks! Glad you like it!
Awesome recipe! I used a mix of citrus zests and juices...just what I had laying around; grapefruit, lemon, and oranges. I also split the vanilla extract with Brandy! So goood! Baked in mini bundts by increasing the temp to 350 and baking for about 20-21 min
The brandy and mix of citrus sounds delicious! So glad you liked the recipe!
Bake time needed to be longer than 60 minutes. I checked it and the toothpick came out clean, but after cooling for 10 minutes then removed from pan it was still not done. So disappointed 😢 because the flavor is superb! I will try again maybe at 350 degrees or longer bake time. I know the recipe is good!!
Hmm, I haven't encountered that before -- when the toothpick comes out clean that always results in a fully baked cake, in my experience. Next time you try it, it might help to check with the toothpick in a few different spots to make sure. I wouldn't recommend a higher temperature because with the density of this cake it might bake unevenly. Let me know how it goes for you next time! 🙂
Looks delicious, love this "LEMON SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE". Now I have instructions and ingredients , will surely gonna try this .
I'm so glad you're gonna give it a try! Let me know how you like it!
Just finished making this recipe and this was the best lemon pound cake I have made and I have made lots of them it's my favorite flavor. Now it's my favorite recipe. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you SO much! I love this cake too! SO glad you enjoyed it!
Love it came out wonderful and taste great
So glad you liked it! 🙂
I love lemon flavoured cakes and yours looks scrumptious! I can see myself eating a slice of this with a cup of tea in the afternoon for sure!!
You'd definitely love this one!
This was so easy to make and it was really delicious and moist! Totally making again as it did not last long!
Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed!
This cake is rich, moist and light at the same time! Such a good cake and my family loved it.
I'm so glad your family enjoyed it!
Everything about this pound cake recipe looks and sounds delicious, I can't wait to try. I also enjoyed reading the little history behind the Southern recipe book (s)!
Yes I love learning about that history! Thanks!!
So simple yet the result is amazing! We love cakes, and are always ready to try new ones! Thanks a lot for posting!
Thank you so much! Glad you liked it!
This pound cake looks gorgeous plus the combination of ingredients makes it so flavorful. Great pics too. Thanks for sharing
Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed!
What a beautiful lemon cake. It's really gorgeous. Looks very moist and flavorful. Perfect for summer. I'm so excited to try this recipe out. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you! I'm sure you'll love it!
I've never made a pound cake in a bundt pan before, but your photos make it look so pretty I've got to try! I love all things lemon and this cake is perfect for summer.
I definitely recommend it! I hope you enjoy!
Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic lemon sour cream pound cake! Really easy to make and tasted so amazing! Will surely make this one again!
Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it!
I love the flavor of lemon and this Pound Cake with Lemon Sour Cream looks delicious. Perfect Tea Time Treat.
Definitely! So glad you like it!
I came here because of the link from Food52. My usual lemon pound cake uses AP flour and doesn't have sour cream so I am excited to make this (hopefully today). Looks absolutely phenomenal!
Awesome! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
I never did come back and confirm that I made it the day after I made the comment and it was wonderful! The butter sugar lemon zest was absolutely outstanding!
Yay! So glad you liked it!
My entire family loves this cake. 2nd slice worthy! Very flavorful and bright.
Wonderful! I'm so glad your family liked it! 🙂
Kelly Christine Gorder
What a delicious recipe you have created! Thank you for sharing it with us. The Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake was everything we were hoping for and more!
Thank you so much!! So happy you enjoyed it!
I’m no baker and I loved this simple recipe that came out so yummy! I will definitely save this recipe to make again!
I'm so glad it came out well for you! Thanks for giving it a try!