The Starbucks lemon loaf cake has something of a cult following, IYKYK. If you've missed grabbing a slice with your morning coffee since going gluten free, don't worry I've got you covered. This copycat gluten free lemon loaf recipe is so moist and delicious. It is bursting with lemon flavor and that icing...
If you love copycat recipes, check out my gluten free Levain cookies or these killer gluten free fudge rounds (that might just be better than Little Debbie).
Why You'll Love This Lemon Loaf Cake
- It doesn't cost $3+ per slice.
- It's so moist.
- It's a lemon lover's dream.
- It uses real ingredients, no hard to pronounce chemicals.
- It's gluten free and dairy free!
- Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend - I use Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Flour Blend in all of my recipes. You can use the flour blend of your choice just make sure it has xanthan gum. Different flour blends may produce different results. For the best outcome, weigh your flour.
- Baking Powder - This leavening agent will help the cake come out soft and fluffy.
- Vegan Butter & Oil - This recipe uses a combination of butter and oil. The butter provides the richness of pound cake while the oil allows for more moisture to be used, resulting in a nice moist cake. If you're not dairy free, you can use regular butter in the same measure.
- Eggs - The eggs provide structure for the loaf. I haven't tried egg replacements with this recipe. If you do, let me know how it works in the comments.
- Vanilla - To provide some sweetness.
- Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice - The star of the recipe. No lemon extract is used here. You'll need 2 lemons for the cake and icing.
- Vegan Sour Cream - The sour cream helps keep the loaf moist. If your stores don't carry vegan sour cream, you can substitute dairy free yogurt or even milk. It might change the end result slightly, but it will still be delicious. If you're not dairy free, just use regular sour cream.
- Powdered Sugar
See recipe card for full ingredient list and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Not Dairy Free - use dairy butter and sour cream in the same measure.
- Make it Vegan - This cake uses 3 eggs, which can be tricky to replace. I would try a combination of a baking soda + vinegar egg and some applesauce.
- No Lemons - Try replacing lemons with limes or oranges in the same measure.
- Make it Less Sweet / Lower Calorie - Omit the icing from the top of the lemon loaf.
How to Make an Gluten Free Lemon Loaf
This copycat lemon loaf is easy to make. For the best result, use an electric mixer.
STEP 1: Combine your lemon zest with the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the sugar and zest together. This imparts the oil from the lemon rind into the sugar making for a stronger lemon flavor.
STEP 2: Once your sugar is thoroughly mixed with the lemon, it will be light yellow in color.
STEP 3: Combine the butter, oil and lemon sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
STEP 4: Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Then add the eggs one at a time, mixing for a minute between each addition.
STEP 5: Add half of the dry ingredients, followed by the sour cream. Then add the remaining dry ingredients.
STEP 6: Spread the batter into a lined loaf pan and bake!
How Do You Make Lemon Icing?
The icing on this cake makes it extra delicious. It's sweet and filled with lemon flavor.
Lemon icing is so easy to make. You combine powdered sugar and lemon juice and stir together until smooth. The icing will seem very thick, but that's what you want to get that copycat Starbucks lemon loaf cake.
Pour the thick lemon icing on top of the cooled cake and spread just to the edges with an offset spatula. It will naturally run down the sides a bit, but it should be thick enough to dry to the touch within about 30 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! When you’re making a cake, you are trying to create an emulsion between the fat and eggs. You want the ingredients to combine effortlessly, so the air bubbles can be whipped in resulting in a light cake.
This iced lemon loaf should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. It will last 3-4 days.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, a handheld mixer will do fine. You will want to use an electric mixer of some sort though to make sure you get enough air into the batter for it to rise.
More lemon recipes to consider:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
(Starbucks Copycat) Gluten Free Lemon Loaf
For the cake
- 1 ½ Cup Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend I use Bob's Red Mill
- 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Cup Vegan Butter room temperature
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil substitute with melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 3 Eggs room temperature
- 2 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
- 2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- ½ Cup Vegan Sour Cream room temperature
For the icing
- 1 ½ Cup Powdered Sugar sifted
- 3 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the gluten free flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Whisk together until well combined.1 ½ Cup Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend, 2 teaspoon Baking Powder, ½ teaspoon Salt
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub together with your fingers to impart the oils into the sugar. The sugar should turn a light yellow color.1 Cup Sugar, 2 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
- Add the lemon sugar, butter and oil to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula.¼ Cup Vegan Butter, ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Mix for 30 seconds.1 teaspoon Vanilla, 2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 60 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the bowl.3 Eggs
- Turn the mixer to the lowest speed. Add half of the flour mixture, followed by the sour cream. Then add the remaining flour mixture. Stir until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.½ Cup Vegan Sour Cream
- Spread the batter into your prepared pan. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes of until top springs back when gently poked. If top begins to brown too quickly, lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top and continue to bake.
- Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then remove from the pan and continue to cool on a wire rack. Cool completely before adding the lemon icing.
For the icing
- In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Stir until it is smooth. It will be a little thicker than expected.1 ½ Cup Powdered Sugar, 3 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- Pour the lemon icing on the top of the cake and use a knife to push it just to the edges. A little will spill over and run down the sides.
- Allow the icing to dry for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.
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