This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
This easy Gluten Free Lemon Loaf recipe is sure to brighten your day. Greek yogurt keeps it moist and tender, and don’t forget the glaze that adds an extra burst of bright citrus. It is simple to make, and you’ll be ready to enjoy a slice of this lemon pound cake as a breakfast quick bread or lovely dessert.
Moist Gluten Free Lemon Pound Cake
You can admit it. Ever since you had to go gluten free, you’ve had the occasion where you’ve walked into Starbucks (or really any other bakery or coffee shop) and wished you could order one of the treats in the glass display case.
One of the treats that has often called my name as I order my cold brew is the Starbucks Lemon Loaf. It just looks so perfectly light and fresh and tender.
One day, as I was staring longingly through the glass, I remembered that years ago, a lovely blogger named Stacey From Bake Eat Repeat shared a Lemon Yogurt Bread recipe on my site.
By the time they called me to the counter to pick up my coffee, I knew I had to head into the kitchen. It was now time to transform that recipe into a Gluten Free Lemon Loaf.
(If you end up loving this gluten free lemon cake, try this Gluten Free Potato Pound Cake With Berries next!)
Why You’ll Love This Lemon Loaf Recipe
Years ago, gluten free baking seemed like a daunting task that could only be tackled by professional bakers. But with some common ingredients and simple techniques, you can have a delicious gluten free lemon pound cake that isn’t dry, gummy, or bland.
- 1-to-1 flour makes it easy. Quick breads, like my gluten free banana bread, are the types of recipes that come out best when using a 1:1 gluten free all-purpose flour. These blends have just the right mix of flours and starches, plus usually a bit of xanthan gum to make them easy to use in many recipes. And it works well in this recipe too, so you’ll end up with a nice, fluffy loaf.
- Yogurt makes it moist. The use of Greek yogurt helps keep this lemon cake moist with a nice, tender crumb. And as an added bonus, it adds a little protein which even helps give the lemon pound cake a little more structure and not be as crumbly as some gluten free breads and cakes.
- Fresh lemon makes it yummy. Unlike many lemon pound cake recipes that use lemon extract, this one uses just lemon zest. You get pure lemon flavor without that harshness you can sometimes get from using an extract. Rubbing the zest with sugar is a trick that you can use to release that bright citrus flavor.
Once you’ve gotten your favorite gluten free flour blend, the other ingredients are pretty simple. But, they all come together to add bright flavors to this lovely lemon bread. Here’s an overview of the ingredients, but be sure to scroll to the recipe card for the full amounts and instructions.
For the Lemon Pound Cake:
- Lemon zest: Be sure to avoid the bitter white pith.
- Granulated sugar: Of course, sugar sweetens up this lemon loaf. But it is also key to bring out that lemon flavor.
- Flour: You can make your own or buy a bag (I usually use Bob’s Red Mill or Cup 4 Cup). But be sure it is a 1-to-1 all-purpose or baking blend that you can use in a 1:1 ratio for regular flour.
- Baking powder: To make sure it turns out fluffy and not dense.
- Salt: This also helps with enhancing/balancing out the sweet, tangy flavor of the bread.
- Greek yogurt: Use plain yogurt, rather than flavored yogurt.
- Eggs: It is always best to bring them to room temperature.
- Vanilla: Just a bit really brings out the sweet lemony flavor.
- Oil: This recipe was originally made with melted coconut oil for its health benefits and the hint of coconut flavor that compliments the lemon. But you can also use any neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola.
Don’t forget the glaze! It adds that extra zesty burst of citrus and even a bit more moisture and sweetness.
For the Lemon Glaze:
- Powdered sugar: If yours is clumpy, make sure to sift it.
- Lemon juice: Don’t toss that lemon after you zest it. You’ll need the juice to make the glaze.
How to Make a Gluten Free Lemon Cake From Scratch
Making this lemon drizzle cake is really quick and easy. It is perfect for even a beginner gluten free baker. Like most standard baking recipes, you’ll mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, and fold them together. You don’t even have to get out the mixer. Let’s get into it!
- Prep the oven and the loaf pan. Before you get started, go ahead and preheat the oven to 350°F. Then spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Release the lemon flavor. In a large mixing bowl, rub the lemon zest and sugar together between your fingers until you smell the aromas and the sugar starts to turn a light yellow color.
- Combine the dry ingredients. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the sugar mixture and whisk it all together.
- Combine the wet ingredients. Whisk together the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla extract, in a small bowl, then slowly mix in the oil.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir them together until just combined.
- Fill, bake, and cool. Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Bake at 350°F for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the loaf cool for 5-10 minutes before removing it from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Glaze and enjoy! The hardest part will be trying to stop yourself from digging in as those luscious aromas fill your kitchen. But trust me, give it time to cool so you can slather it with that glaze. While it is cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice to make a glaze that is thin enough to drizzle. Pour it over the cake, then cut yourself a slice!
Tips for Success
There are a couple of important tips I’d like to share here, to help you get the best results when making this lemon loaf recipe! Read on, and enjoy!
- Measure your flour correctly. It’s important to measure your gluten free flour by spooning it into your measuring cup and then leveling it off with a knife. The reason for this is that if you scoop flour out of the bag with your measuring cup or just pour it into the cup, you may pack it in tightly. This will lead to a dense loaf.
- Don’t over-mix the batter. Usually, over-mixing has to do with developing gluten too much in your cake batter. But even in gluten free baking, you can accidentally work too much extra air into the mixture. The lemon loaf may start to rise and get puffy, but then it will sink in the middle. So use a spatula or wooden spoon to gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together.
- Don’t over-bake the cake. Baking it for too long will make it dry. You may want to check it a few minutes early and take it out if the toothpick comes out mostly clean with just a few small crumbs attached.
- Get it out of the pan. The heat of the pan will carry over into the loaf, again making it dry out. It does need 5-10 minutes in the pan so that it isn’t too fragile. But after that, carefully turn it out onto a wire rack to cool it completely.
What Goes With Lemon Bread?
Whether you want to have a slice morning, noon, or night, it’s always a good time of day for lemon pound cake!
- Breakfast. For your morning meal, grab a bowl of Waldorf Fruit Salad and pour yourself a Copycat Starbucks Protein Blended Cold Brew to enjoy with your lemon bread.
- Brunch. Whether it is Easter, Mother’s Day, or just Sunday, make this part of your brunch menu with Ham Asparagus Egg Muffins and Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Avocado.
- Dessert. While a slice of lemon pound cake on its own is perfect, it never hurts to add a scoop of Vanilla Cheesecake Ice Cream, some Fresh Blueberry Sauce, or even Baked Strawberries.
How to Store Lemon Pound Cake
The lemon loaf will stay fresh for 3-4 days if you store it in an airtight container or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. No need to refrigerate, it’ll be just fine at room temperature. That said, keeping it in the refrigerator may make it last a little longer.
Can I Freeze Gluten Free Lemon Loaf?
Yes, this recipe does freeze well! If you are freezing an entire loaf, I recommend leaving it unglazed and wrapping it very tightly with plastic wrap. Then, place the wrapped pound cake inside a plastic freezer storage bag or airtight container. When sealed well, it will be safe to eat for a very long time, but will have the best texture and flavor if you enjoy it within 2 months.
You can also wrap a few slices together and freeze them that way so you can always have a gluten free treat on hand to grab when your sweet tooth calls.
More Gluten Free Lemon Desserts
If you’re a big fan of this lemon loaf recipe, you might want to try one of these easy lemon desserts as well!
- Easy Gluten Free Lemon Bars
- Gluten Free Lemon Cupcakes
- Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- Lemon Meringue Pie Fudge
Gluten Free Lemon Loaf
For the Bread:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest (zest of one lemon)
- 1 1/2 cups 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour or all-purpose blend (recommended: Bob's Red Mill or Cup 4 Cup)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil, or coconut oil (melted and cooled)
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar and lemon zest, rubbing the zest into the sugar with your fingers until it is fragrant and a light yellow color.
- Add the gluten free flour, baking powder and salt to the sugar mixture and whisk together until well blended.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs and vanilla. While still whisking, slowly add the oil, whisking until combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Start with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and add more as needed until it’s thin enough to drizzle, up to 3 tablespoons.
- Spoon the lemon glaze over top of the cooled bread and allow to set. Store at room temperature in an airtight container, or wrapped in plastic wrap for 3-4 days.
- To Store: The lemon loaf will stay fresh for 3-4 days if you store it in an airtight container or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. No need to refrigerate, it’ll be just fine at room temperature. That said, keeping it in the refrigerator may make it last a little longer.
- To Freeze: If you are freezing an entire loaf, I recommend leaving it unglazed and wrapping it very tightly with plastic wrap. Then, place the wrapped pound cake inside a plastic freezer storage bag or airtight container. When sealed well, it will be safe to eat for a very long time, but will have the best texture and flavor if you enjoy it within 2 months. You can also wrap a few slices together and freeze them that way so you can always have a gluten free treat on hand to grab when your sweet tooth calls.