JOIN! 12 Weeks for $1

Lemon-Buttermilk Pound Cake

8 Servings

1½ hours 30 minutes active

Made This Recipe? Write a Review.
Thank you for submitting your review! A member of our team is confirming the review meets our site's Community Guidelines. It will be posted on the site shortly.

To lighten traditionally dense pound cake, we separated the eggs, a trick we learned from Kathryn King of Atlanta’s Aria restaurant. Beating the whites resulted in a texture reminiscent of angel food cake, while the yolks and butter preserved the rich pound cake flavor. Baking soda made the cake even lighter, and a combination of lemon zest and juice produced a more complex citrus flavor. Begin checking the cake for doneness after 40 minutes and check frequently thereafter. At Aria, slices of the cake are buttered, toasted and served with fresh fruit and whipped cream.




Don’t overbeat the whites. They should appear smooth and glossy, with gentle peaks that curl back on themselves.

1½ hours

30 minutes active


  • 13

    tablespoons salted butter, room temperature, divided

  • 433

    grams (2 cups plus 3 tablespoons) white sugar, plus extra, divided


Pardon the interruption

You need to be a Milk Street Digital Member to see the full recipe


and get access to all of our recipes and articles online, as well as in print.

How we use your email.

Your email address is required to identify your subscription. We will use it for customer service as well as other communications from Milk Street. We will not share, or rent your email address.

Jo U.
June 20, 2023
I have made this cake multiple times and it is always yummy & perfect. Don’t skip the sugar sprinkle in the greased cake pan. It adds just a bit more magic to this special cake.
Maggie F.
April 16, 2023
Wonderfully light with a bright, sweet lemon flavor
This recipe is perfect for a light spring or summer dessert. I love the omission of baking powder because there is no heavy metal aftertaste and the baking soda/buttermilk reaction was just enough combined with the egg whites to give it perfect loft. The only substitution I made was adding 1/2 tsp of Fiori di Sicilia, and instead of dusting the greased pan with granulated sugar, I used bakers goop to grease the detailed nooks and crannies of the bundt pan. After the cake was baked and turned out but still a little warm, I drizzled an icing of 2 TB melted butter, 1/3 c granulated sugar and 1TB lemon juice over the top. This still gave the crust a nice crunchy edge without risking any sticking in the bundt pan.
Christina C.
March 25, 2023
Delicious pound cake
We paired this pound cake with a strawberry compote and it was so delicious as the perfect brunch dessert. We love referring to MilkStreet as the directions and measurements make a flawless recipe every single time. Thank you!
Debbie H.
November 1, 2022
Cake Math
Any tips on how to reduce this recipe to a loaf pan to better accommodate 2 people.
Michele F.
May 18, 2024
Not your typical pound cake
I have to say I really wanted to like this cake but it kind of missed the mark for me. The crumb is really tender (which isn’t reminiscent of a pound cake) and I wanted something with more heft. I suppose I should have expected it what with the meringue that was folded in. I also found the lemon flavour to be very subtle. Too subtle in fact. There is too much batter in this mix for a 10 cup bundt pan. Don’t fill past 2/3 of your 10 cup pan otherwise you’ll end up with Mt Vesuvius.
Carolyn F.

Should this be stored in the refrigerator?

Janelle C.

As a general rule, you should not refrigerate cakes unless your kitchen gets hot during the day, it won't be served for more three days, or it has some sort of fresh fruit topping.

The Milk Street Team

Linda M.

Can you use regular milk instead of the buttermilk? Or a milk & cream mixture?

Janelle C.

Hi Linda,

To substitute the buttermilk use milk with a spoonful of lemon juice or white vinegar!

The Milk Street Team

Rita Y.

I am certain that this cake is delicious and thank you for the recipe, but perhaps this lighter version of pound cake could more accurately be renamed Lemon-Buttermilk Half-Pound Cake? Just gently jesting, of course, but I like the ingredient list, especially the use of the buttermilk. What would happen if I omitted the whipping of the egg whites and changed the flour to unbleached all-purpose for a denser texture to the cake? We like a denser pound cake as a base for fruit toppings and whipped cream, or lightly toasted with butter, and I haven't found another pound cake on your site yet.

Janelle C.

Hi Rita,

We don't have an answer for you as we haven't tested this, but feel free to experiment and please report back!

The Milk Street Team

Peggy L.

If I don’t have cake flour is there an equal substitute?

Lynn C.

Hi Peggy -

A common substitution for cake flour is a combination of all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Per each cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of flour, and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

The Milk Street Team

Margaret R.

W O W ! ! I’ll bet I’ve made over 100 pound cakes in my lifetime and tried at least 25 different versions of lemon pound cake. This is THE BEST!

Ntianu Y.

Delicious cake. I did not get a strong lemon flavor but the texture was so lofty that I didn’t mind. The sugar crust on the cake was a nice touch.