Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf | The Domestic Rebel

a photo of a starbucks lemon loaf with the end of the loaf cut off of it and a yellow dish cloth in the background

This Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf is packed with lemon flavor in a moist and tender loaf cake! A must make.

Hope you don’t mind all the lemon desserts because I have yet another one for you today and it’s a good one!

I love lemon desserts! Lemon desserts and banana desserts are easily my top 2 favorite flavors, be it cake, pudding, frozen yogurt, you name it. Color me a huge fan.

I’m also quite a fan of Starbucks’ lemon loaf, but my coffee order is already over $5, and adding on another treat is just so frivolous, so I set out to make my own loaf cake. This one is pretty darn close to Starbucks, but I think it’s better because you get a whole loaf instead of a measly slice!

closeup shot of lemon loaf on wire rack with slices cut from it

Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf

There are a few key components to making a lemon loaf cake, and those are:

  • Oil: I like using oil in this cake recipe instead of butter because oil makes it extra moist. There’s nothing worse than a dry cake!
  • Sugar: for sweetness!
  • Eggs: for binding everything together and moisture
  • Lemon zest: and plenty of it! I use close to 1/4th cup. This provides a huge amount of the lemon flavor.
  • Pure lemon extract: this gives another huge kick of lemon flavor. Make sure you purchase pure lemon extract as opposed to imitation, as pure has better flavor.
  • Flour, baking soda, and salt: these are your structure ingredients and leavening agents!
  • Sour cream: adds moisture and richness. Make sure you use full-fat sour cream.

And of course, Starbucks’ cake is known for that irresistibly thick glaze on top. We can achieve a similar glaze by using confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice and pouring it over the cake.

two slices of lemon loaf on a white plate

I love the pure, unadulterated lemon flavor in this moist and tender cake. The one-two punch of lemon flavor from the heavy-handed zest and the pure lemon extract is the best, and the texture is amazing thanks to the oil and sour cream. You’re going to love this one, trust me!

And you’re welcome on saving that extra $4 at the coffee shop! 🙂

lemon loaf cake with a slice cut off and a yellow cloth in the background

Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf

This Copycat Lemon Loaf is similar to Starbucks but BETTER because it can be made at home, tastes fresh and is so moist, tender and delicious! You’ll love its punchy lemon flavor!

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time45 mins

Total Time55 mins

Course: Bread, Cake

Cuisine: American

Servings: 8 slices


  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup lemon zest (from about 3 medium lemons)
  • 2 Tbsp pure lemon extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream

For Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice


  • Preheat your oven to 350° degrees F. Liberally grease a 9″ light metal loaf pan with cooking spray. (See Note if you’re not using a light metal loaf pan).

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the oil and sugar with the paddle attachment until combined, about 1 minute. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, followed by the lemon zest and lemon extract, mixing well. Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix on low speed until just barely combined, then add in the sour cream and mix until fully combined. Do not overmix.

  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake the loaf for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist, but not wet, crumbs. Cool for about 20 minutes in the pan, then carefully invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • For the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until just combiend, smooth and glossy. Pour over the cooled cake and allow glaze to drip down the sides. Let glaze harden slightly before cutting and serving the loaf.


Note: when baking loaf cakes or breads, I HIGHLY recommend using a light metal or even a disposable foil baking pan. Why? Light metal and disposable foil pans conduct heat the most consistently, yielding a perfectly baked loaf. It’s also the type of pan I use and what I have tested my recipe with, hence the baking time given. If you do not have a light metal baking pan or a disposable foil pan, please note that your baking time may be off by quite some time depending on your type of pan.
Glass doesn’t conduct heat as well, so your loaf may be cooked on the bottom and sides but raw in the middle and therefore will need a longer baking time. Conversely, dark metal pans cook way too quickly as they absorb heat too fast and will cook much faster. 

lemon loaf slice cut in half and stacked on a white plate

This loaf cake is so delicious! I know you’ll love it!

best lemon loaf photo collage

Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

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