My Favorite Coffee Shop Knock-off: Iced Lemon Loaf

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

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.

Get More Updates!

Sign up to get exclusive updates & tips!

Genesis Theme Framework for WordPress


      • theislandmom says

        Glad you liked them!

        No, I am not too kind. Girlfriend just speaks truth. I certainly was not out baking Starbucks knock-offs right after my bout with The Big Nasty. Then again, I’ve never done that even in the peak of good health. But that’s hardly the point. 😉

  1. says

    Although I have to admit I am a chocolate junkie, during spring I start craving other flavors as well. One of them is lemon tarts, lemon pies, lemon everything. Don’t ask me why I have no idea why this happens to me, perhaps the flowers, the birds, the bees you know lol. Anyway, what i wanted to say is that these bars came just in time for my craving!

  2. says

    I bookmarked this for the sole reason that you can Bundt-it. We all know I’m going to have to pull that pan out again sometime soon!

    With the modifications, I may have to action a lime-themed one for my dearest Mother In Law because she is A Fan. In other circles, this is known as lifesaving.

  3. says

    Oh my!!! That looks so scrumptious!!! You do know Mackenzy works at Starbucks? In fact, she is a black belt–I mean a black apron. And for her wedding, she wants to serve all kinds of Starbucks fare. Since it’s a morning wedding, it will be perfect. I will have to show her your brilliance here. :) Oh, by the way, I had to mention you in Friday’s post. No need to worry!! It was just our “common bond.”

  4. says

    Mmmm… lemon! This just might be what it takes to get me off my coconut kick and into a citrus phase. This looks fabulous but dangerous. It would take a great deal of control not to sit down and eat the entire thing. But then, I sometimes live for danger.

  5. cherylbarker says

    The lemon load sounds and looks yummy! And I love how your vices most always include flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. A gal after my own heart :)

  6. Jaimie says

    I made this loaf a couple of days ago and I must say it is pretty much an exact duplicate flavor-wise of the Starbuck’s loaf. I added some raspberry jam into mine and swirled it to make the Lemon Raspberry Loaf and made the icing a bit thicker and it was absolutely fantastic. Thanks so much for this recipe, I will certainly be making it again! :)

  7. Dee says

    Hi I’m going to make this cake but could clarify the weights for me….I’m assuming that the ‘C’ stands for cup?? Do u have the recipe with exact weights?
    Many thanks!

  8. meabserenity says

    Yes, I know this recipe has been on the site for a few years. I’ve made it numerous times and I always get rave reviews from the people for whom I make this incredible tasting iced lemon loaf. However, just this once, when I took one loaf out of the freezer to ice it up, I found all I had was lemon juice from the bottle….to those of you who may make this recipe and read this comment–my opinion is DON’T SUBSTITUTE–I strongly suggest using lemon juice from a real lemon–it is by far much much tastier than that which comes in a bottle! This stuff is soooo yummy!


  1. […] The development process for this cake was simple: it came about after Twittering about with Jeanne about her current coconut obsession. Since I’ve been on a citrus kick, and coconut and lime are totally BFFs, the two flavors naturally came together as one in this Bundt cake.  Sounds exotic, I know, but it’s really just an adaptation of my (Starbucks-knock-off) Iced Lemon Pound Cake.  […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *