Lemon-Buttermilk Pound Cake

8 Servings

1½ hours 30 minutes active

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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


Debbie H.
November 1, 2022
Cake Math
Any tips on how to reduce this recipe to a loaf pan to better accommodate 2 people.
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.