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Better Than Starbucks Iced Lemon Loaf

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Moist, buttery, lemony, and delicious! There’s no surprise that the iced lemon loaf is one of the most popular items at Starbucks. It’s hard to imagine it getting any better, but it does! This recipe is bursting with irresistible lemon flavor that’s impossible to resist. Because that’s what irresistible means.

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Why Make it at Home?

Look, I love a starbucks iced lemon loaf as much as the next guy, but there’s some things that are just better made at home. This is clearly one of them. Not only does it taste better, it saves a significant amount of money! A single slice of iced lemon loaf at starbucks will cost you about $3.60. This recipe for an entire loaf costs roughly $4.21 worth of ingredients. A slice from this loaf that’s equal in weight to a starbucks slice costs $0.61 cents! That’s six homemade slices for the cost of one starbucks slice!

In order to make the perfect lemon cake, you need to master two components: The cake, and the icing. The cake is moist and rich, while still being light and fluffy. The icing is thick and sweet. Both are full of lemon flavor that complement each other so well.

Tips For The Cake

  • Only mix the batter enough for it to come together smoothly. Additional mixing afterwards will only serve to develop gluten and make the cake tougher. 
  • Check for browning at the 40 minute mark. If there is no browning then crank the oven temperature up to 350 and bake for an additional 7-8 minutes.

Tips for the icing

  • Wait until the cake is FULLY cooled before applying the glaze. A warm cake will not let the icing set, and it will soak into the cake. 
  • The lemon flavored icing is made with lemon juice, powdered sugar, and almond milk.The milk cuts the intensity of the lemon flavor, and helps color the glaze a more opaque white. Almond milk can be substituted with any plant based milk, or even water if you do not care about the color. However, do not use regular milk. The proteins in milk may curdle with the lemon juice and lead to an unpleasant texture.

Better Than Starbucks Iced Lemon Loaf



Prep time


Cooking time




  • Cake
  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest. about two lemons

  • 1 stick butter, softened

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • ½ cup buttermilk

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • ¼ tsp baking soda

  • Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp milk


  • Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. 
  • In a large bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Mix together thoroughly  to extract the oil from the zest into the sugar. Add the softened butter and mix until fully incorporated. Add the vegetable oil and whisk together until the mixture is airy and lighter in color. Add the eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and buttermilk then whisk together.**
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Whisk together just until it becomes smooth. Do not overmix.
  • Pour batter into a lined loaf pan and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least an hour.
  • When the cake is cooled completely, mix together milk, lemon juice, and powdered sugar to make the icing. Pour icing over the cake while it’s still in the pan and let sit for 4-5 minutes to set. Remove from the pan and enjoy.

Recipe Video


  • **Do not worry if the mixture looks clumpy. Slight curdling occurs when acid is added to dairy. It will smooth out once flour is mixed in.

Want some more starbucks recipes? Try these!


  1. Was the tips for the cake and icing suppose to be the same notes?

  2. Really excited making this! In the oven right now, I just feel like it got too brown too quick, any tips?

  3. Hey Matt, I finally gave this recipe a go after much excitement. I was disappointed when I pulled the load and and the center collapsed on itself!

    The only change I made to the recipe was sour cream in place of buttermilk, which is something I do often. Think I should compensate next time with a little extra baking powder?

    Thanks for your help, friend!

    • It’s possible the extra fat in the sour cream caused the cake to collapse. Baking recipes tend to not deal well with substitutions, so sadly the only recommendation I can make is to try a different recipe that is made with sour cream.

  4. Abi Dauterman

    are there any sugar substitutes I could use or possible ways to lower the sugar content while still giving it the same flavor?

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