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I’ve made no secret of my chai obsession or love of all things Starbucks. However, as wonderfully as my favorite Barista crafts my hot beverage of choice, there is a Starbucks treat that I love even more, and my Barista has nothing to do with it. I have a bigger weakness than what is contained in my Grande cup.

Iced Lemon Loaf

Everyone has their vices and most of mine contain flour, butter, sugar and eggs.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf falls unequivocally into the Vice category of my life. That dense, lemony pound cake with the thick layer of tangy lemon icing makes my mouth pucker and my heart sing! For years I’ve tried my darnedest to charm many a Barista into forking over the secret recipe for the Starbucks Lemon Loaf.

No matter how many chai lattes I consumed, nor how sweetly I asked, they simply could not give me the recipe. Seems Starbucks outsources their baked goods to regional bakeries, so the Baristas have no idea what goes into their bakery treats. At least that’s what I was told.


It’s times like these that I’m glad that I get a little obsessive persistent in the kitchen when I’m chasing down a recipe.  This Iced Lemon Loaf is the fruit of those efforts.

The only thing that stands between you and a rich, citrusy pound cake is unsalted butter, flour, sugar, buttermilk, eggs, baking powder, salt, lemons, vanilla extract, lemon extract, Baker’s white chocolate, and powdered sugar.

First, unwrap the white chocolate squares and place them in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on full power in 30 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let the melted white chocolate cool a bit while assembling the rest of the batter.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.

Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until blended.  Adding the eggs one at a time helps to better incorporate them into the batter and get the protein binders bonding together more efficiently; it also keeps the batter from quickly becoming the soupy mess that it would invariable happen by adding the eggs all at once.

After you get the eggs are doing their binding thing, pour in the vanilla and lemon extracts. I’m adding both lemon extract and (later) lemon zest to give the cakes a little extra zip. I think zip is an excellent quality in a citrus pound cake.

Alternately add 1/3 of the flour with 1/3 of the buttermilk, mixing well between each addition, until all of the flour and buttermilk is worked into the batter.

Zest the lemon and toss the zest into the work bowl.

Then pour in the (mostly) cooled melted white chocolate.  Mix the white chocolate into the batter on low speed until it is evenly distributed. The white chocolate may seem like an odd addition to a lemon pound cake, but it really adds a depth of richness to the whole affair.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans and bake at 350° F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  Let the loaves rest in the pans for 10 minutes before turning them onto a wire rack to completely cool.

While the loaves are cooling, prepare the icing by stirring a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice into the powdered sugar with a fork, until the icing is smooth. I like my icing on the thicker side for this kind of application, so I only use between 1 1/2 and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. If you like your icing a bit runnier, just add more lemon juice or a little water.

Once the cakes have cooled, pour the icing over the top, spreading a bit with a knife until it begins to drizzle over the sides of the loaves.

Allow the icing to set before slicing and serving with a few fresh raspberries.  If you’re impatient and want to dig into the Iced Lemon Loaf before the icing has set, then by all means…do it!  The worst thing that can happen is your icing oozes a bit onto the plate–that just means that it will be divine!

Take that, Baristas! ;)

To share the loveliness, I’m linking this to Weekend Potluck over at MeetPenny.com.

Iced Lemon Loaf (Pound cake)


Makes 2 loaves or 1 Bundt cake

For the cake:

1 C. unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ C. granulated sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp. lemon extract

1 ½ Tbs. freshly grated lemon zest

2 ½ C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 1/3 C. buttermilk

6 oz. white baking chocolate or good quality white chocolate, melted (Do not white chocolate morsels or any other white chocolate containing wax.)

For the Icing:

1C. powdered sugar

2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Optional: Fresh raspberries for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray two 8 x 3 x 4 inch loaf pans very well with baking spray, (or grease and flour them.)
  2. In a small bowl, melt the white chocolate in 30 second increments in the microwave on full power, stirring in between bursts, until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a medium size bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt to combine; set aside.
  4. Cream the butter together with sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  5. Stir the eggs into the creamed mixture, one at a time, until combined.
  6. Stir in the vanilla, lemon extracts, and lemon zest to incorporate.
  7. Gradually mix in the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, in 3 separate additions of each, beating well after each addition.
  8. Stir the melted white chocolate into the batter until thoroughly combined.
  9. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans.
  10. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean.
  11. Cool loaves in the pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  12. Once loaves are cool, prepare the icing by stirring the lemon juice into the powdered sugar with a fork until smooth.
  13. Pour icing over the top of the loaves, spreading with a knife until the icing drizzles over the sides of the loaves.  Serve immediately with fresh raspberries (if desired.)
  14. Leftover lemon loaf should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

NOTE:  Iced Lemon Loaf batter can be made in a single Bundt pan. Simply grease and flour the Bundt pan really well, add all the batter to the pan, and increase baking time by about 10 to 15 minutes. Allow cake to cool completely in the Bundt pan before inverting onto a serving plate and icing.

VARIATIONS: Substitute lime zest/juice for the lemon and continue with the lemon extract for Iced Lime Loaf; or substitute orange zest/juice and orange extract for an Iced Orange Loaf. Better yet, combine all three citruses for a All Over Citrus Loaf.