Lemon Loaf Cake (super moist and fluffy)

4.7 of 21 votes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
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A delicious lemon cake recipe or cake au citron in French that’s super moist and fluffy at the same time. There’s an important secret step I received from a French pastry chef that I’m going to share with you!

Zoom on a slice of moist lemon loaf

For me, this is the best lemon loaf recipe to obtain the perfect balance of texture and an intense lemony flavor.

The secret: I soak the cake in a homemade lemon syrup after baking. A tip from French a pastry chef to get a moist lemon cake with a fresh lemon flavor!

By the way is a great recipe for a birthday cake.

Zoom on a moist lemon loaf

Ingredients and alternatives

You only need a few simple ingredients to make this moist lemon loaf. Here are some tips: 

Ingredients on a kitchen counter to make a moist lemon loaf
  • Lemons: Choose organic or untreated fresh lemons because you’ll need the zest. Many recipes call for one lemon only, but I prefer using two large lemons, or even three if they’re small!
  • Eggs: Medium-sized eggs
  • Sugar: I use white sugar preferably to avoid giving color to the cake. You’ll also need it for the syrup.
  • Flour and cornstarch: I use all purpose flour. I like to replace some of the flour with cornstarch to lighten the cake and make it even more fluffy. For a gluten-free version, replace wheat flour with a gluten-free flour mix or gluten-free oat flour.
  • Baking powder: To make the cake rise.
  • Salt: Just a pinch, as in all my cakes!
  • Yogurt: For a moist texture. I like to use Greek yogurt with 10% fat, but you can use any type of yogurt or even sour cream.
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled so it doesn’t cook the eggs when incorporated into the batter. You can replace the butter with a neutral vegetable oil, in this case only count 80 % (e.g. 3/4 cup oil instead of 1 cup butter or 80 g oil for 100 g butter).
  • Vanilla: A dash of vanilla extract for flavor (optional). 

You will find the exact quantities in the recipe card

A moist lemon loaf cut in slices

How to make a moist lemon loaf (with photos)

1. I always start by mixing the sugar and lemon zest together and I whisk this mixture with the eggs until fluffy.

2. Next, I mix the dry ingredients separately before incorporating them into the egg and sugar mixture in two or three batches.

3. In between each batch, I add the yogurt and then the butter. I finish with a bit of vanilla extract.

4. I pour the batter into my prepared pan and bake the cake in the oven. Note that the recipe is for an approximately 8-inch (20-22cm) cake pan. To get a nice loaf shape, add a streak of butter in the center of the cake. 

5. And now, here’s the secret of this cake! While the cake is baking, I prepare a lemon syrup with water, fresh lemon juice (from the lemons after removing the zest), and sugar.

6. I let the cake cool for 5 minutes, I poke it with a toothpick before pouring the syrup while the cake is still in its pan.

7. I wait about ten minutes for the cake to absorb the syrup well before take it out the cake pan and let it cool on a wire rack. 

I personally don’t need any additional glaze on top as this lemon cake is moist and sweet enough, but you can of course add a simple lemon glaze made with icing sugar and lemon juice. 

Géraldine’s Tips

  1. Release the Essential Oils: When preparing the lemon zest and sugar mixture, take your time to rub them together. This process helps to release the essential oils from the zest, enhancing the flavor of your cake.
  2. Incorporate Dry Ingredients Gradually: To avoid clumps in your batter, add the dry ingredients in two or three separate additions. This method ensures a smooth and evenly mixed batter.
  3. Use an Electric Mixer for Consistency: While mixing, I prefer to use an electric mixer for a more consistent texture. However, make sure not to overwork the batter, as this can lead to a denser cake.
  4. Monitor Baking Time Closely: Oven temperatures can vary, so it’s essential to keep an eye on the baking time. After 40 minutes of baking, check the cake’s progress every 5 minutes to ensure it’s cooked to perfection.

More Cake Recipes

FAQ : Moist Lemon Loaf Cake 

How long will the lemon cake stay fresh?

This lemon cake can be kept for up to 4 days. Place in an airtight container or on a plate sealed with cling film, and leave at room temperature, away from heat and light.  

Can I make this lemon cake in advance? 

Of course, you can prepare this cake one day in advance. Thanks to the lemon syrup, the cake is still super moist the next day.

Can I freeze the lemon cake?

Yes, you can! Wrap the cooled cake tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before placing it in an airtight container or freezer bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

How to know if the cake is done’?

Insert a toothpick into the cake and if it comes out dry, the cake is cooked. If the batter sticks to the toothpick, add another 5 minutes of baking time.

Recipe card

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Lemon Loaf Cake (super moist and fluffy)

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4.7 of 21 votes
A delicious lemon cake recipe or cake au citron in French that’s super moist and fluffy at the same time.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Course Cake
Cuisine French
Servings 8
Calories 366 kcal


  • 1 cake pan (8 inche long)


For the cake

  • 2 lemons untreated or organic for the zest
  • 3/4 cup sugar (150g)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 + 2 Tbsp cups flour (200g)
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch (50g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (7g)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (125g)
  • 4.5 oz butter melted (125g)
  • 1 dash of vanilla extract
  • Icing sugar optional

For the lemon syrup

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar


  • Preheat the oven at 320 °F (160 °C, fan oven).
  • Grate the lemon zest and rub it with the sugar to extract the essential oils. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs until the mixture thickens.
  • Mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Incorporated half of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, mix well, then pour in the yogurt.
  • Incorporate the remaining dry ingredient mix, and finish with the melted butter. Pour the cake batter in a prepared load pan greased with butter or covered with parchment paper. Bake for 50-55 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat water, lemon juice, and sugar over low heat in a small saucepan until the sugar melts.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Make small holes in the warm cake with a toothpick and then pour the syrup over the cake in the cake pan.
  • Let it soak the lemon loaf for about 15 minutes, removing any excess juice if necessary. Decorate with icing sugar (optional).



Calories: 366kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 6gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 222mgPotassium: 129mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 539IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 90mgIron: 2mg
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  1. too dry..I probably should have taken it out of the oven sooner, but it did not develop a nice brown top crust as shown. disappointed that it was not moist

    1. I’m really sorry it turned out dry… Did you use the fan oven, at 320 °F? I always write in the tips to watch the cake 5 minutes, maybe 10 minutes before the time indicated as each oven is different. Let me know if you try it again.