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California Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

California Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

Citrus trees grow abundantly in California, and I'm always looking for new recipes which use the fruit from the orange and lemon trees in my yard. This is one of my favorites! My mother passed this recipe down to me. —Richard Killeaney, Spring Valley, California
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 70 min. + cooling YIELD:12-16 servings


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel


  • 1. In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in lemon peel and extract. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Beat just until combined.
  • 2. Pour into a greased 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • 3. In a small bowl, combine the frosting ingredients; beat until smooth. Spread over top of cake. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Recipe Note

Test Kitchen Tips

  • For extra nonstick insurance, grease with shortening, then give the greased pan a quick spritz of cooking spray.
  • A flexible plastic knife works wonders to remove a cake from a fluted tube pan without damage. Slide the knife along the sides and center of the pan to loosen the cake before inverting it.
  • Nutritional Facts

    1 slice: 500 calories, 23g fat (11g saturated fat), 107mg cholesterol, 333mg sodium, 70g carbohydrate (50g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.

    Reviews for California Lemon Pound Cake

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    Christine User ID: 9144498 267385
    Reviewed May. 27, 2017

    "I would suggest using a touch of lemon oil in the batter to ramp up the lemon flavor!"

    CakenGifts User ID: 9166983 266189
    Reviewed May. 22, 2017

    "Wow!!! its watching very nice. What a wonderful cake!!! It Very nice and simple recipe that can provide me very amazing cake.

    Last time i saw such amazing cakes on :"

    Queenlalisa User ID: 15400 261796
    Reviewed Feb. 25, 2017

    "This is a delicious cake. Has a good texture. I did add a little fresh lemon juice to the batter."

    honey25 User ID: 5819292 252260
    Reviewed Aug. 5, 2016

    "Love the texture of this cake. Made it in my sister-in-law's kitchen where there is no bundt pan :( So used a 9x12 and doubled the icing.... Nice results. And was better the 2nd or third day."

    cliftonhanger User ID: 742252 248512
    Reviewed May. 22, 2016

    "This is as good a lemon pound cake as I’ve had, great lemon flavor and very moist. Frosting fans might want to double the recipe. Don’t skip the lemon extract in the cake. Trader Joe’s sells a very good one as does Olive Nation on line. DON’T buy the artificially flavored ones that the supermarkets sell. The difference between artificial and real flavor is night and day. Those who had it burn or be very dry, try using an oven thermometer. Cooper Atkins is a good brand."

    Halee2003 User ID: 7213920 247877
    Reviewed May. 4, 2016

    "Made cake today. Flavor was good,, but when u slice it cake falls apart. Also very dry. I followed recipe not sure what went wrong."

    neeniep User ID: 8536615 247662
    Reviewed Apr. 30, 2016

    "Great basic recipe. However,most people complain not enough lemon flavor if you have lemons, why use extract. I used half lemon juice and half milk to get a real...lemon flavor. Then still use lemon juice for icing. I grow meyer lemons and they are wonderful. Waste not want not. Thanks"

    Debglass11 User ID: 6300479 246924
    Reviewed Apr. 11, 2016

    "Made this yesterday and everyone loved it! It's a perfect summer dessert with a delicate lemon flavor. Instead of icing it as indicated in the recipe, I served it with whipped cream and fresh strawberries macerated in sugar. I'm sure it would be great with the icing too! I'll definitely make this again!"

    sewsal User ID: 2105914 244477
    Reviewed Feb. 25, 2016

    "I baked this cake in individual bundt cake pans. It was ok but not great in my opinion. I even used buttermilk. It stuck in the pans even though I sprayed it .I probably

    won't make it again"

    RedRain User ID: 702637 244255
    Reviewed Feb. 21, 2016

    "mickiej43, shortening is a solid whereas cooking oil is a liquid. In most pound cake recipes (not all, just most) the recipe calls for a combination of butter and shortening, as it makes for a lighter cake. Both butter and shortening should be room temperature, as should all the other ingredients, including the milk. You will find this keeps the cake from falling. This is a great pound cake and you can interchange orange zest and orange juice or lime zest and lime juice to change it up. A terrific cake for Spring Summer!"

    mickiej43 User ID: 2352534 244243
    Reviewed Feb. 21, 2016

    "What do you use for shortening in the recipe? Is it margarine or crisco? Thanks"

    TiffJ1975 User ID: 7950100 238136
    Reviewed Nov. 26, 2015

    "OUTSTANDING! I made this cake yesterday for our Thanksgiving celebration. There is NONE left. My children and guests RAVED over it. This is definitely going to become a staple and a go-to for me."

    Bratgal User ID: 4418404 230034
    Reviewed Jul. 23, 2015

    "Delicious! It turned out so moist an flavorful. Was a great treat on a hot summer night."

    Bobki User ID: 8157540 222616
    Reviewed Mar. 12, 2015

    "Great lemon flavor! Will do again!"

    Dan_Doyle User ID: 8268866 221156
    Reviewed Feb. 22, 2015

    "I didn't grease my pan enough, so my cake came out like Frankenstein's monster... but it tastes phenomenal. I made zero modifications to the recipe."

    gparo User ID: 8267604 221048
    Reviewed Feb. 21, 2015

    "Absolutely divine!"

    conniefergusoncameron User ID: 8143444 221032
    Reviewed Feb. 21, 2015

    "I've made lemon pound cake before but never with frosting....can't wait to try this !!!"

    [email protected] User ID: 1005610 220741
    Reviewed Feb. 17, 2015

    "I've made this cake for years, but I make it with orange juice and orange peel, rather than lemons as my husband isn't a lemon fan. Every time I take the cake somewhere I'm always asked for the recipe! One of these days I'll have to try it with lemons!"

    MsPattyinLoveland User ID: 5671128 220701
    Reviewed Feb. 17, 2015

    "I used half stevia and half sugar. Also omitted the shortening and half the butter and used 1/2 cup of natural applesauce. Used fresh lemon juice instead of extract. This cuts out a considerable amount of calories and fat. I don't know what the original taste like but this was delicious. Instead of the frosting I made a fresh blueberry sauce and drizzled over slices with fresh blueberries. Everyone raved over it."

    Pulseox User ID: 2055993 38991
    Reviewed Jan. 6, 2014

    "Really good flavor! Mine burned, and I covered it and took it out 10 minutes early. Maybe my oven is too hot, or the recommended temperature is too hot. The inside is really good though. Maybe I will cut off the outside crust and ice it :)"

    Kinda96 User ID: 7538815 23785
    Reviewed Dec. 17, 2013

    "Sound very good."

    ejdr1 User ID: 6190588 38987
    Reviewed Aug. 24, 2013

    "Made this cake for the first for a party it was a hit.I will add this to my regular list of go to cakes. I used butter and one stick of margarine."

    HighDee215 User ID: 7318317 39299
    Reviewed Jul. 7, 2013

    "This is the best cake! It was so easy to make and tasted mhmm mhmm mhmm. I added my icing while the cake was warm and it was more like a glaze. Try this tonight."

    coopgirl703 User ID: 6769121 13415
    Reviewed Jul. 11, 2012

    "<p>Wow - absolutely fantastic! I didn't have any lemon extract so used the juice from the lemons I used for zest, about 2-3 Tbsp. Heavily sprayed pan with baker's joy and then sugared the pan. Still had some sticking but the lemony sugar crystals that stuck were wonderful :). Didn't use the frosting and did have enough batter to make 6 regular sized cupcakes. The cake is a lighter pound cake so you may want to leave out the shortening and add another egg, as another, denser pound cake I make uses. However, it is outstanding on it's own!! Mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm!</p>  PS - did put in a cold oven at 325 as others suggested for about 70-80 minutes."

    Licia1207 User ID: 5481922 13908
    Reviewed Apr. 23, 2012

    "This cake is unbelievably amazing. The best citrus cake I ever had."

    bobeezwrld User ID: 2606286 8008
    Reviewed May. 15, 2011

    "Ah man, this is so good! And it made my mother and grandmother who weren't fans of lemon, love lemon!"

    recipehound54 User ID: 4246730 13337
    Reviewed Apr. 16, 2011 Edited Jun. 21, 2015

    "I tried this out on a group of friends who are always willing to be guinea pigs with new recipes. I thinned the frosting with a little more lemon juice to make it more of a glaze. I also used the blueberry sauce recipe from a Taste of Home recipe called Lemonade pie with Blueberry Sauce. I drizzled a little blueberry sauce over each slice of cake and added a dollop of real whipped cream (not Cool Whip.) This wasn't a low-calorie dessert but it was simple, light and refreshing. Guests raved about this dessert. I've added it to my "keeper" file!"

    angelasandoval User ID: 2401339 13336
    Reviewed May. 19, 2010

    "This cake is perfect! Comparable to my great-grandmother's pound cake that's saying something!"

    Spiffy64 User ID: 5125460 11221
    Reviewed May. 12, 2010

    "This is the best lemon cake I have ever eaten. I made it for the first time when we had company and it turned out perfect...everybody loved it, including the picky eaters. It has a wonderful lemony flavor and is very moist! The frosting is a nice touch!"

    krista6082 User ID: 3079498 37137
    Reviewed Feb. 28, 2010

    "This cake turned out lovely! I made it for church today and it was a hit! The lemon flavor is very refreshing and the cake is so moist! Even the icing is excellent!"

    BJS Mom User ID: 772530 23784
    Reviewed Nov. 17, 2008

    "Do I put the cake in a cold oven or preheat at 350 degrees?"

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