For all you lemon-lovers and Starbucks fans out there, you are really going to enjoy this Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf recipe! This loaf is SO MUCH BETTER than the over-priced Starbucks slices in the pastry case because first of all, it is homemade and it isn't oily nor too sweet, plus it has so much lemon flavour and soft moist texture! Do not skip the glaze as it really makes this loaf special.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Easy to make - this recipe is super simple to make with just a whisk. There is no mixer needed to make this lemon loaf cake!
- Fresh lemon flavour - you'll need one large lemon to make this recipe. The zest goes into the batter and the juice is used for the glaze.
- Moist lemon loaf - this loaf is so moist and soft with a tender open crumb texture.
- Tangy lemon glaze - the glaze is made from just lemon juice, icing sugar and a bit of milk for opacity. It is the perfect accent to this loaf!
- Starbucks copycat - if you enjoy the lemon loaf at Starbucks then you will LOVE this homemade version.
INGREDIENTS FOR COPYCAT STARBUCKS LEMON LOAF
Here are some notes about the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Unsalted butter - butter adds incredible flavor to make the best lemon loaf, and it is simply melted to make the batter so no need to plan ahead for softening the butter.
- Oil - this recipe has butter AND oil. Oil makes this lemon loaf extra soft since it is liquid at room temperature. Plus, with this intense lemon flavor, you won't miss the butter.
- Granulated sugar - all we need is simple white granulated sugar so that the flavor of the lemon really shines!
- Lemon zest - This recipe requires about 1 tablespoon of lemon zest which you can get from one large lemon or two small ones. Most of the lemon flavor comes from lemon zest and not the juice since the essential oils are found in the zest. Read below in my expert baking tips to find out how you can extract the most lemon flavor from the zest.
- All purpose flour - regular unbleached all-purpose flour works great in this recipe. Adding too much flour is the most common mistake and leads to a drier loaf so be sure to measure accurately using a scale or the spoon and sweep method.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla will elevate and complement the lemon flavor. I like this Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract.
- Sour cream - Use full fat sour cream or full fat plain yogurt to add tanginess to this recipe.
- Eggs - Two large eggs will add nice structure and help with the soft crumb in this recipe.
- Icing sugar or powdered sugar - You can sift the powdered sugar before making the glaze to ensure you have no lumps.
- Fresh lemon juice - this is an iced lemon loaf after all, so don't skip the icing! It really is the best part and all you need is fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar. Mix it to a thick consistency so it creates a crackling opaque white icing with a bold zesty sweet and tart lemon flavour.
HOW TO MAKE ICED LEMON LOAF - STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
This recipe is simple to prepare and you can make it with just a whisk and a large bowl!
- STEP 1). Infuse the sugar. Add sugar to a large bowl with the lemon zest and rub it together until the sugar is fragrant and takes on a hint of yellow.
- STEP 2). Mix in eggs. Add eggs and whisk until blended and smooth. This should dissolve the sugar a bit for an even more moist loaf.
- STEP 3). Add wet ingredients. Add melted butter, oil, milk, sour cream and vanilla and whisk until pale and creamy.
- STEP 4). Sift dry ingredients. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to blend well.
- STEP 5). Add dry ingredients. Add sifted dry ingredients to the wet mixture and whisk it in gently. Once it is mostly combined but still with a few streaks of flour, switch to a spatula and gently fold in the remaining flour. Do not over-mix.
- STEP 6). BAKE. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. For a nice split down the center of the loaf, run your spatula down the middle lengthwise. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer pan to a rack to cool 10 minutes. Lift the cake out of the pan and let cool completely on the rack.
- STEP 7). Make the icing. Combine icing sugar, lemon juice, milk and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. It should be thick and opaque white, but still flowing. Resist adding too much more liquid because otherwise you won’t get a nice thick icing that sets up firm on the cake. If it is too runny, it will be just a glaze. Pour the icing over the loaf, spread it out to drip over the edges a bit and then let it set until the icing dries out. Slice and serve!
BAKING TIPS FOR MAKING STARBUCKS LEMON LOAF RECIPE
- Infuse the sugar with lemon flavor - to get the most out of your lemons, you can rub the sugar with the lemon zest first before mixing with the liquid ingredients. The essential oils in the yellow zest will coat sugar crystals and carry all of that wonderful flavor through the batter!
- Do not reduce the sugar - the right amount of sugar will keep this loaf soft.
- Sift the dry ingredients! In order to get a smooth batter and soft, light texture, it is important to break up any lumps in the flour.
- Do not over-mix. Just fold in the flour gently until well combined, but no need to mix vigorously. Just mix until no streaks of dry flour remain.
- Do not over-bake. This cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean and the crust is nicely golden.
Can I freeze this lemon loaf?
Yes! I would recommend slicing it first, then place the slices in a resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
How do I store this lemon loaf?
Store this loaf in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge to keep it longer.
Does lemon loaf cake need to be refrigerated?
This lemon loaf cake does not need to be refrigerated if you plan to keep it for just a couple of days. If you live in a hot climate, however, I would recommend refrigerating it. It is actually very tasty when cold too!
How long does lemon loaf last?
This lemon loaf will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for up to a week.
What can I use as a substitute for sour cream in Starbucks lemon loaf recipe?
If you don't have sour cream, you can make this lemon loaf with full fat yogurt.
What kind of oil can I use to make lemon loaf?
I prefer sunflower oil for this recipe since it has a nice clean flavour, but olive oil tastes very nice. Canola oil and regular vegetable oil will also work. Make sure your oil is fresh.
Can I double this lemon loaf recipe?
Yes you can! If you have 2 loaf pans, you can double this recipe and make 2 loaves.
How do I get an even split in the center of the loaf cake?
To get that signature split down the center of a loaf, run the edge of your spatula (or us a butterknife) down the length of the batter in the pan to create a trench.
If you love lemon, check out my other lemon recipes:Easy Creamy Lemon TartOne Pot Lemon CurdLemon BrowniesLemon Raspberry Sheet CakeLemon Crinkle CookiesLemon Raspberry MuffinsSwirled Lemon Cheesecake BarsLight & Luscious Lemon CakeEasy Small Batch Lemon CurdEasy Almond Raspberry Lemon Bars (gluten free)Lemon Coconut Crumb Tarts
Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf
Loaf cake batter:
- 1 cup 200g granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 2 large lemons)
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ¼ cup 56g unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup 60ml sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon 5ml pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup 80ml sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 ⅔ cups 235g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup 80ml milk, at room temperature
- 1 cup 120g icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon 15ml lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon 15ml milk
- pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8.5x4.5-inch or 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Combine sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl and rub them together until the sugar is fragrant and the lemon oils coat the sugar crystals. Add the eggs and whisk until the sugar is dissolved a bit and smooth. Add melted butter, oil, vanilla and sour cream whisk to blend well.
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl.
- Add the flour mixture and start to fold it in gently. Add milk and continue to fold gently until the dry ingredients are incorporated and there are no pockets of flour remaining. Do not over-mix.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. For a nice split down the center of the loaf, run your spatula down the middle lengthwise. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer pan to a rack to cool 10 minutes. Lift the cake out of the pan and let cool completely on the rack.
- For the icing, combine icing sugar, lemon juice, milk and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. It should be thick and opaque white, but still flowing. Resist adding too much more liquid because otherwise you won’t get a nice thick icing that sets up firm on the cake. If it is too runny, it will be just a glaze. Pour the icing over the loaf, spread it out to drip over the edges a bit and then let it set until the icing dries out. Slice and serve!