This lilac lemon pound cake recipe is moist, tender, and perfectly citrus-y for summer. Enjoy it with your afternoon coffee and take a moment to soak up the beautiful flavors of the season!
Pound cakes are one of the first cakes any baker should master. Typically, they’re pretty forgiving being rich with moisture and naturally dense.
They are also easily customizable and super impressive. They’re a great thing to share when guests are coming over…or in reality when your parents come to visit for the weekend and you want to look like you’ve got your shit together.
And I’m not sure if there’s a more impressive easy pound cake recipe than this lilac lemon one. It’s rich in summery flavor, moist, and so pretty!
Make sure you check out this post (How to use Lilacs in Baking) to get your lilac syrup recipe to use in this one!
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Lilac Lemon Pound Cake Recipe FAQs
Temperature matters… A LOT!
For a perfect pound cake, you MUST have room temperature ingredients. (Okay, yeah your pound cake will still be good if not everything is room temp, but it won’t be perfect).
Did you forget about this part, but now you’re ready to bake? Here’s some tips to bring your ingredients to room temp.
Fill a bowl with warm water (like comfortable bath water). Place your eggs in the bowl for about 5 minutes.
Fill a glass with hot water (almost boiling) and let it sit for a minute. Use an oven mitt and pour the water in the sink.
Flip the glass over and put your sticks of butter inside. Wait 5 or so minutes.
*Note* This doesn’t really work for frozen butter so if your butter was in the fridge, you’re golden. Frozen butter will probably need some assistance form the microwave.
Measure out your sour cream and put it in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second intervals until room temperature.
Store your lemons on the counter or in a cabinet. (Unless you’re me that has a cat that is obsessed with playing with and destroying citrus fruits. Then you just have to wait for these to warm up out of the fridge).
Put the jar in a bowl with the lid still on. Fill the bowl around it with hot water. Wait a few minutes and you’re good to go.
Why are there 2 different oven temperatures?
Remember temperature matters a lot in baking! Depending on the color of your pan, your loaf pan may bake to fast and too hot.
Darker pans will over brown your edges and dry out the outer sides. So! Decreasing your oven temp to 325 will lessen that overbaking.
Glass pans and light aluminum pans don’t conduct as much heat as dark metal ones do. So a normal oven temperature of 350 is perfect.
Okay, I’m doing all that but my pound cake is still not right!
Here’s an important fact: it might not be you….it’s probably your crappy oven. Many ovens aren’t calebriated well or lose their calibration over time.
In some of the apartments I’ve lived in, my oven temperature is sometime 50 DEGREES OFF! Meaning instead of cooking something at 350, I’m cooking it at 400 or 300, which is a recipe for disaster.
I highly suggest getting this cheap oven thermometer. It’s mind blowing how much it will benefit your baked goods. It pays for itself over in over with how many baked goods it’s saved from burning!
If that still doesn’t help, it may be the quality of your loaf pan. Low quality ones are thin or have spots that overheat more than others.
Is the batter supposed to curdle?
Sometimes when mixing your wet ingredients together, they will appear to curdle or get super lumpy.
This is simple a reaction between the acidity of the lemon juice and the sour cream. Don’t fret. Once you blend in the flour it’ll smooth out again.
What if I can’t find Lilacs?
Lilacs are everywhere where I live. But if you’re not as lucky to be able to pick a bunch from your grandma’s backyard, you might have a hard time finding any to use.
You can substitute lilac with lavender. Of course it won’t taste quite the same but it will still be delicious! Simply follow the instructions for the lilac syrup but replace the lilacs with dried food grade lavender like this.
Materials for this Easy Lilac Lemon Pound Cake Recipe
Lilac Syrup: It’s hard to make a lilac lemon pound cake without the lilac. Make it in advance and enjoy it over some summer pancakes, in some summery lemonade, and of course in this lemon pound cake recipe.
Loaf Pan– For this pound cake recipe, I used a 9×5 loaf pan to achieve this glory
Hand Mixer + Whisk – this batter is pretty thick (as are most pound cakes, so having a good hand mixer makes things easier). However, since we don’t want to overmix, it’s good to have a whisk ready to mix in the last of the flour to avoid that overmixing.
Lilac Lemon Pound Cake
- 1¾ cup all purpose flour spooned and leveled
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup sour cream room temperature
- ¼ cup lilac syrup
Lilac Lemon Glaze
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 4 tbsp lilac syrup
- 1-2 tsp milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Or if using a dark loaf pan, preheat oven for 325°F. Make sure your oven rack is directly in the middle. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with butter.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, use your hand mixer to cream your butter until smooth (about 1 minute). Add your sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Then on a slow speed add in one egg at a time. Stop when the last egg is combined.
- Next add your sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lilac syrup. (see recipe notes). The mixture may appear to be curdling but don't freak. When we add our dry ingredients things will smooth out.
- Slowly add in your dry ingredients. DO NOT OVERMIX!! Mix until just barely combined and then turn off your hand mixer and use a spatula to finish incorporating your flour.
- Spoon your batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake on that middle rack for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take your pan out of the oven, cover with a tented piece of aluminium foil and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. You will know it's done when you stick a toothpick in the center and only a few wet crumbs stick to it.
- Remove from oven and place pan on wire cooling rack. Wait at least 45 minutes for the loaf to cool before you flip it out of its pan.
- After 45 minutes, flip it out and allow it cool completely. You can choose to glaze it warm or when it cools.
To make the glaze
- In a small bowl, combine your powdered sugar, lilac syrup, and lemon juice and mix well. If the glaze is too thick add ½ tsp of milk at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Pour over your pound cake.
KEEP YOUR SWEET TOOTH SATISFIED AND FOLLOW US FOR MORE INSPIRATION ON INSTAGRAM!
I don’t know what summer is going to look like this year, but one thing I know for sure is that it’s probably going to be filled with a hell of a lot more baking for a lot of us than usual.
And this easy lilac lemon pound cake is just the thing we need to keep our spirits up and the summer vibes strong.
I mean, honestly, this pound cake is spectacularly moist, delicious, springy, and oh so satisfying.
So once you’ve made some this easy lemon pound cake, take a pic, post it on the gram and make sure to tag me (@handheld_eats)! I love seeing you creations and really, if you don’t post it on Instagram, did it even happen?
Sharing is caring! Do you know someone who would would love this pound cake? Share it with them!