Whole Wheat Lemon Pound Cake


It’s been birthday week at our house, as our third son turned nine on Tuesday. We now have 13, 10, 9 and 6 year olds at our house (and two 37 year olds but never mind that). 

Birthday week means mom makes a special treat…usually a cake chosen by the birthday boy. I’ve tried to come up with healthier varieties of cakes and treats so that we’re not just consuming empty calories…even if it is a birthday. You can click through this entire section of Healthy Celebrations if you’re interested in finding other healthier varieties of treats I’ve shared in the past. I mean, Lemon Pound Cake is delicious, but sometimes you just need Chocolate. Or is that just me? Regardless, hopefully you’ll find something fun that will please your sweet tooth in our Healthy Celebrations section…and I plan to continue to add to this category as I continue to experiment. If you recall, White Cake and Angel Food Cake are both on the Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge list!

For some reason, two of the last three birthdays celebrated at our house have included a Lemon Pound Cake. It has been fun to experiement with…although the first time I got a little bit carried away with the lemon juice. We were all pretty puckered up by the end of that cake. Whew! A little lemon goes a long way!


Lemon Pound CakeYum

1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 1/4 cups sugar (I use sucanat and I’m pretty sure honey would work well in this recipe)
1/4 cup 100% lemon juice (from a bottle or from freshly squeezed lemons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 eggs
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

With beaters, whip butter, sour cream, sucanat, lemon juice and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time beating well with each one, or until you get tired of adding eggs one at a time…then just crack them all in and beat well. (Sometimes I get so lazy about individual egg cracking…)  Beat in flour and baking powder until the batter is well mixed.

Pour cake batter into a well buttered cake pan (I use a fluted cake ring pan). Bake in a 325° oven for 50-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing cake from pan and placing on a cake plate. Allow cake to cool completely before pouring Lemon Glaze over the top…

Lemon Glaze

1/2 cup 100% lemon juice  (if that’s too much lemon for ya, just cut the amount of juice down and substitute water)
1 cup powdered sugar (I recommend using unbleached organic powdered sugar or your own homemade powdered sugar from sucanat)

Use a fork (or a spoon or a whisk or whatever is clean at the moment) to mix the two ingredients. Drizzle the glaze over the cake. You can even use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the cake before you start to drizzle so that some of the glaze goes down into the cake!!


So are you a lemon lover? Does lemon make you pucker? Have you ever been one of those parents who have given their baby a lemon wedge, just to see the face they make?


  1. Renee B. says

    How well do you think Egg Beaters would work in this recipe? I love lemon pound cake!



    Laura Reply:

    I really have no idea as I haven’t looked at Egg Beaters for a while. What is in them? Are they real eggs?! Have you baked with them successfully before?


    Danielle B Reply:

    Egg beaters are a substitute for real eggs. It’s basically the whites of the eggs, and they add beta carotene to make them look yellow.


  2. says

    Yay! My husband will thank you! He loves lemon cake, but we gave it up when we switched over to sucanat and whole wheat. Can’t wait to try this!


  3. Kelly says

    Thanks for solving my dilemma….I just bought blueberries at the store today and was wondering what to make for dessert when I thought, “I’ll check Laura’s site!” (my entire family is on a first-name basis with you BTW). I added the berries to this recipe and it’s in the oven making the house smell so good!


  4. Lissa says

    That looks decedent and delicious. We love lemon baked good in our house. Have you tried using lemon rind? Just the yellow part. Gives a great flavor. I have a scones recipe where you use the rind in the batter then the juice of the lemon for the icing.

    May need to do a little baking this weekend.


  5. jessica says

    Yum! My family loves lemon cake! The recipe I use calls for store bought cake mix and 2 boxes of jello pudding. I will definitely be making this cake. I have all the ingredients already:)


  6. Dawn says

    I love, love just about anything lemon. Can’t wait to try. BTW the 18th was my birthday also! My mother in law made me a lemon cake and my mom made me lemon poppy seed muffins- still can’t wait to try your recipe. I’m not really big on sweets but I’m always up for lemon anything!


  7. susan says

    you are the best laura. “have you ever been one of those parents that give their baby a lemon wedge just to see the face they make?” i’m gonna have to do that to baby this weekend…. and now i know why i *should* have bought that $1.75 bag of lemons i saw at stuff mart this week….oh well. i’ll pick up a few when i make my diaper run tomorrow. can’t wait to try this one. we LOVE lemons.


  8. says

    oh man!! my mouth is watering now! When i was pregnant with my 4th baby, i craved lemon and anything citrus so we had alot of these types of cakes and sweets. love anything with lemon!!! thanks for sharing your recipe.


  9. Carmen says

    We tried the lemon pucker face on our first two – who promptly removed the offending lemon wedge, looked at it from all angles… and put it right back in again. They wouldn’t let the lemons go until they’d sucked them try!

    Ah, well, it’s about time to try it on #3…


  10. Jenifer Parker says

    I heard using applesauce in a cake replaces (what?) some or all of the butter? For the life of me I can’t remember, so obviously I’ve never tried it. Any idea?


  11. Fee says

    Lemons….that takes me back quite a few years to a family dinner in our wonderful homeland, Scotland, during the hot summer of 1990. Our firstborn daughter, Miriam was only a few months old, and she started to cry. We were all seated in a country hotel, the food was about to be served, and Miriam was starting to create… Nappy was clean, she was fed – just bored.
    My brother took her outside, went to a shop and bought some fresh fruit juice, believing it to be orange.
    He couldn’t believe the expression on his baby niece’s face, as he offered her a few teaspoons of the juice. Priceless!!
    Looking more closely at the carton, he realised he had mistakenly purchased grapefruit juice, and just for laughs, fed her a couple more teaspoons!


  12. Shawna says

    I haven’t tried a lemon pound cake, but if it is as good as all your other recipes I will put it on my to try list. Yes, we love to give babies lemons, it’s always fun restaurant entertainment.


  13. Ann says

    I gave my soon-to-be six year old the choice of this lemon cake or our favorite chocolate zucchini cake for her b-day. She chose lemon! Can’t wait.


  14. Holly in Virginia says

    I LOVE lemon!! This lemon cake looks really good. Though I would probably use some zest in the cake and the glaze as well, just because I know how nice zest tastes and it seems like a shame to throw away all those lemon rinds.


  15. brook says

    This looks DELICIOUS! Can’t wait to try it! One of my first memories is of me and my dad eating raw lemon slices together; a whole plateful of course (no sugar either) So, I guess you could say that I do love lemons!


  16. Priscilla says

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I so am looking forward to making it & trying it…we’ve already celebrated 4 b-days this month (in our family), this sounds so delicious.

    I’ve had one from Sam’s Club, it is delicious but there are so many ingredients in it that I can’t pronounce so, I am sure I don’t want to be eating that. I also love the print friendly link, that lets me take out the parts I don’t need printed. 1st time I’ve seen those options. Neat! Saves me ink. Once again, thank you!


  17. Sa'ada says


    i just wanted to let you know that i found some unrefined golden powdered sugar. it’s from a company called billington’s. you can read more here:


    and here:


    and you can buy it here:


    although that is an expensive price. i get it in saudi arabia for about $2.50/500 gm.

    actually, i see that azure sells billington’s muscovado sugar so you could see if they can carry the powdered sugar also.


  18. Charlotte Moore says

    Lemon is one of my favorite cakes also. No one will eat lemon much at our house so i do not make it very much or I would eat it all.

    The cake looks great!!!


  19. Jennifer says

    Made the cake and it was wonderful, but I will say that I had to add more powedered sugar to make it a little tiny bit thicker. The glaze completely ran everywhere even when I added more sugar. Great recipe though!


  20. Tami says

    For what it’s worth, all four of my babies LOVED lemon wedges, and also sour pickles (or sweet pickles, or any pickles, or olives). They still do! When we went to restaurants w/ our small kids, they would pass the waiting time sucking on and eating lemon wedges – YUM. Cracker Barrel would also bring us bowls of pickles while we waited. We have a birthday this week also – our youngest daughter turns 9 on Sat the 22nd. So happy birthday to Elias too.


  21. says

    I wanted to say, I changed this recipe to a chocolate pound cake and used it for my daughter’s birthday cake (I used a 3D Wilton pan that required a heavier cake recipe) and it came out wonderfully! No one could tell it was whole wheat and everyone commented on how moist and yummy it was! I used 1/4 cup applesauce in place of the 1/4 cup lemon juice, and added 1/2 cup cocoa powder, plus 1/4 cup honey to offset the bitterness of the cocoa powder and to add a bit more liquid. Yum! Thanks so much for this recipe, and for being my go-to source for real food recipes that even my daughter’s picky friends will eat!


  22. Francine Moore says

    I would very much like to know how you made the 1/2 sheet cake? I need to make a 1/2 sheet cake for a large gathering. I don’t have a good recipe for that lsiz of pan only small pans. Could you help out with this one? When I saw the picture I thought maybe you could but wasn’t sure so I thought I would ask. Can you help me out with the amounts for each ingredient?


    Laura Reply:

    I simply made the cake as the recipe states, then poured it into a buttered sheet cake pan. Baked it at 350 for 30 minutes.


    Trudi Reply:

    Hi Francine,

    It can vary, but typically a 9×13 pan is actually a 1/4 sheet (two put together would make a half sheet size cake). A lot of bakeries’ half sheet sizes are 9×16. So, it just depends on how big a cake you need. This recipe works great as is in a 9×13 pan, but if you need a true half sheet cake, you probably want to double and bake in two pans. I’ve done that for years for our birthday celebrations. Just put the two cakes together when you want to frost. Also, most grocery stores that have bakeries will sell you a box and board so that you don’t have to worry about how to frost a cake that large, much less storing or transporting it. It’s definitely worth it — a box and cake board are around $2. Hope this helps!


  23. Cecilia M. says

    Hello Laura,

    I just wanted to say thank you very much for this recipe, i substituted applesauce for the butter and the honey for sugar and it was fantastic! I also made it into a strawberry shortcake kind of cake and served at my engagement party and it tasted great!


  24. Colleen says

    Does this cake come out as dense as a traditional loaf pound cake? I am trying to find a cake recipe that would hold up if I cube & skewer it with peaches to grill …


    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I would say that it should hold up!


  25. Heather Schilling says

    It’s in the oven now! My 9 year old son made it with me coaching him a little since I’m on bedrest until the end of my pregnancy. I’m so excited to try it for dessert tonight!


  26. Rajani says

    How come the cake is brown in colour without adding any cocoa powder or chocolate to it?


    Laura Reply:

    That’s because of the whole wheat flour and sucanat, both of which are light brown in color. :)


  27. Kris Dobbins says

    Would this recipe work as muffins? If so how long should I bake them? Thanks!


    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    You could certainly make these into muffins! I would just reduce baking time to 18-20 minutes or so.


  28. Beth says

    Wondering if you you used the whole wheat pastry flour (soft white wheat) or the hard white wheat flour – I have both grains that I can grind… wanting to make this successfully for my MIL’s birthday!


    Laura Reply:

    Either one would work, but I’d go with pastry flour. :)


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