Iced Gluten Free Lemon Pound Cake

Iced Gluten Free Lemon Pound Cake

This gluten free iced lemon pound cake is a moist and tender, sweet pound cake is just like those thick slices in the glass coffee shop case.

Baked, iced and sliced gluten free lemon pound cake, closeup image

What makes this pound cake recipe special

A simple loaf cake made in the traditional style, this pound cake gets its lift from eggs and eggs alone. No baking powder and no baking soda.

In the past, I’ve made this recipe with True Lemon crystals, which are truly delicious, but they can also be hard to find for some. This time, the bright lemon flavor comes exclusively from lemons themselves, both the juice and the zest.

I even added some lemon zest to the glaze, which is by far the sweetest part of the pound cake—especially since I reduced the sugar from 1 1/2 cups to 1 cup. The lemon flavor in this pound cake is intense.

What really sets this pound cake apart is the combination of butter and cream cheese in the batter. A traditional pound cake, delicious in its own right, has only butter, sugar, eggs and flour. In fact, it’s so-named for beginning with one pound of each ingredient.

Raw gluten free lemon pound cake batter in mixing bowl.

Do I need a stand mixer to make this recipe?

No, you don’t need a stand mixer. If you have one, it makes quick work of creaming together the butter and cream cheese, and then the granulated sugar.

If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer with the regular beater attachments. Use a large bowl, larger than you really need, so the ingredients don’t escape during beating.

If you don’t have a hand mixer, use elbow grease. You’ll need to cream together the butter and cream cheese until it’s light and fluffy. This is a dense recipe (like a pound cake is meant to be), but you do need some air in the batter.

Try using a very large whisk, turn the bowl on its side, and lean against the counter heavily. Holding the bowl with your nondominant hand, whisk vigorously until the ingredients begin to get lighter in color. Proceed with the recipe.

Gluten Free Iced Lemon Pound Cake. Just like Starbucks makes, but gluten free for you!

Does Starbucks have gluten free desserts?

Generally, no. And it’s a shame because, although their coffee ☕️ just tastes burnt to me, their pastries, cookies and cakes are simply spot-on.

When you’re gluten free, you can’t have their best treats, and that’s just not right. Between their petite vanilla scones, asiago bagels, chocolate cinnamon pound cake, and vanilla almond biscotti, we’re really missing out. 

Over the years, they have introduced a few gluten free treats, only to pull them right off the menu. If I’m being generous, I’ll admit that they probably just didn’t sell well enough. But still.

Now all they seem to have are little egg bites. It’s just a heartbreak when the other kids are getting a scone or bagel, and your gluten free kid is getting … an egg bite. At least there’s something?

Slices of lemon pound cake on a rectangular serving platter.

Ingredients and substitutions

I’m going to discuss some other allergens in this recipe, but I want to say up front that the news isn’t good. Here are the details.


You can replace the butter in pound cake with vegan butter (I love Miyoko’s Kitchen and Melt brands). But I just don’t know how you can effectively replace cream cheese with a nondairy alternative.

I have never tasted a nondairy cream cheese that has tasted anything like cream cheese. Some people love Kite Hill brand. So far, I am not one of those people.


Since there is no baking powder or baking soda in this recipe, all of the rise comes from eggs. In fact, there are 4 whole eggs in this recipe.

I do not suggest trying to make this recipe with any sort of egg replacer. There are just too many eggs, and they’re too important.

I will continue to work on a recipe for vegan gluten free pound cake and vegan gluten free cheesecake. I will work until I can work no more—or I develop a great recipe. ??


You can easily replace the cornstarch in this recipe with arrowroot or potato starch. If you are using a higher starch blend, like Cup4Cup, just replace all of the cornstarch in the recipe with more Cup4Cup.

Two images of iced gluten free lemon pound cake, one raw and one finished and sliced.One slice of lemon pound cake on a small plate, with coffee.

Image of baked, iced, and sliced gluten free lemon pound cake.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 loaf pound cake


For the pound cake
1 1/4 cups (175 g) all purpose gluten-free flour (I used Better Batter)

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch (or try arrowroot or potato starch)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

12 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

4 eggs (200 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounces) freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze
1 1/2 cups  (173 g) confectioner’s sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

3 to 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease a loaf pan that is no more than 9-inches by 5-inches, and set it aside.

  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, salt and about 3/4 of the lemon zest, and whisk to combine well, working to break up any clumps of lemon zest. Set the bowl aside.

  • Make the pound cake batter. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), place the butter and cream cheese and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the granulated sugar and mix to combine. Add the eggs and lemon juice, mixing well after each addition until the mixture is smooth. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, beating well to combine after each addition. The batter will be smooth and thick, but relatively light. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and smooth the top with a wet spatula.

  • Bake the pound cake. Place the loaf pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a tester inserted in the center of the pound cake comes out clean (about 50 minutes). If the loaf begins to brown too much, cover it tightly with a piece of aluminum foil. Remove the pound cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Make the glaze & assemble the cake. Once the pound cake is nearly cool, make the glaze. In a small bowl, place the confectioner’s sugar, salt, and the remaining lemon zest, and whisk to combine and to break up any lumps in the confectioner’s sugar or the lemon zest. Add the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, and mix well. Continue to add lemon juice by the teaspoon, stirring in between additions, until the glaze is thickly pourable. Pour the glaze over the cooled pound cake, and allow to set at room temperature. Slice and serve.

  • Recipe originally published in March 2013. Adapted from the Pound Cake recipe on page 186 of my first cookbook, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.


Comments are closed.

  • Anonymous
    September 5, 2020 at 1:55 PM

    I just baked this today and it turned out fantastic. I’m a beginner baker, and my brother is gluten and nut free, this was the first thing I’ve baked that wasn’t from a mix or box. The glaze came together beautifully (I think I added a little more lemon juice than recommended) and the cake looks golden and delicious. I can’t wait to taste it. Thank you for this recipe! It’s definitely going in my collection.

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 6, 2020 at 10:44 AM

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I hope venturing out of the box like this makes you feel more confident, so you’ll do it more!

  • Charlie
    August 27, 2020 at 6:07 PM

    Hi! I literally just pulled them out of the oven and they are gorgeous! Thanks! I am bringing one to a friend tomorrow. Would you recommend I glaze and refrigerate or leave outside covered? It is very hot in my kitchen today so just wondering what you think would be best! Thank you!

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 27, 2020 at 6:13 PM

      Hi, Charlie,
      I would recommend you cool completely, wrap very tightly, and leave at room temperature until tomorrow. If it’s very, very hot in your kitchen, even overnight, then you can refrigerate it, but the refrigerator is drying so I would avoid that if you can. Tomorrow, unwrap, glaze and let set before serving.

  • Sarah
    August 27, 2020 at 1:13 PM

    Hi, has anyone tried in a muffin pan instead ? For my kids they like eating muffins instead of a slice of bread. What did the cooking times look like?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 27, 2020 at 2:00 PM

      This recipe would not work as muffins, Sarah. It’s a pound cake, not a quick bread. I do have a recipe for lemon cupcakes (just use the search function). That may suit your needs better.

  • Becca
    August 6, 2020 at 4:43 PM

    Do you think I could add blueberries to this and make a lemon blueberry pound cake?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 6, 2020 at 6:25 PM

      I definitely would not do that, Becca. Blueberries add a ton of moisture during baking. I have a lemon blueberry cake that you’d like. Just use the search function.

  • Aura Lee Wilson
    July 18, 2020 at 7:34 PM

    Made your lemon pound cake today. It is delicious. Made it exactly by the recipe! Turned out perfect!

    • Nicole Hunn
      July 19, 2020 at 7:56 AM

      That’s great to hear, Aura!!

  • Micaela Moore
    June 11, 2020 at 5:15 PM

    Nicole?? Hi is is possible to add milk to the glaze because ours is not working.

    • Nicole Hunn
      June 11, 2020 at 5:34 PM

      You can always add more liquid to make a simple glaze like this (milk, water, lemon juice), but you want to be sure to add it a literal drop at a time, and mix it in thoroughly, since a glaze will become too thin and drippy quite quickly. Thickening a glaze with more sugar is much harder to calibrate properly. I think I’m going to have to film a video of me making one of these confectioners’ sugar glazes, since so many of you seem to be struggling with them!

  • Lorraine
    February 1, 2016 at 8:54 PM

    Hi Nicole. I believe the cake should be made with GF Self-raising flour otherwise the cake will not rise, hence Kristan’s problem with it being dense & flat. Am I right or am I wrong? Lorraine.

    • February 1, 2016 at 9:36 PM

      The recipe is correct as written, Lorraine. Pound cake is leavened only with eggs. I, and many others, have made it as written successfully many, many times.

  • Raquel LM Sukhu
    January 25, 2016 at 11:16 AM

    Thanks for this recipe Nicole. I am unable to use dairy or soy. Can I substitute anything else for the cream cheese?

  • Kristan
    January 22, 2016 at 4:55 PM

    Thank you for this recipe. However, I followed it to a tee, with out substituting and it came out very dense and flat (almost uncooked). Is it possible to use Expandex for the 1/4 cup of cornstarch? Thank you Nicole

    • January 22, 2016 at 6:30 PM

      Hi, Kristan, that sounds frustrating. However, this is one of the best-tested recipes on the blog and it will work when made as written. There are so many variables than it is very hard for me to guess where you went wrong but I would always begin with your flour blend (you must use one of my recommended blends), be sure you are measuring by weight, not volume, and be sure you are using an oven thermometer as most ovens run hot. You definitely can’t use expandex!

      • Kristan
        January 23, 2016 at 1:22 PM

        Thank Nicole. Yes, I use Better Batter Flour as suggested….and use Arrowroot to replace the cornstarch.

    • Cindy
      January 31, 2016 at 6:46 PM

      I had the same problem. The cake was dense and almost gummy in the middle. I beat the batter a little extra to achieve the “lightness” described in the instructions. Is it possible the eggs were overbeaten causing the cake to rise too much and then fall as it cooled ? I checked the oven temp so it wasn’t that. Your thoughts, Nicole?

      • February 1, 2016 at 8:23 AM

        Without knowing more, Cindy, I’m afraid I really don’t know so I’ll just give you my standard tips! First, I always look to the flour blend. If you’re not using one of my recommended blends, the recipe simply isn’t going to work. Not all flour blends are created equal. Second, if you’re not measuring by weight, but rather by volume, your proportions are likely off. And finally, if you are making substitutions, I’d always look there.

  • Georgia
    January 19, 2016 at 1:32 PM

    Hi!!! I wanted to know when you put the cornstarch… Want to make this, it looks delicious and easy!!! Thanks Nicole!! ?

    • January 19, 2016 at 2:56 PM

      So sorry, Georgia! I added it to the instructions. You add it right after the flour and xanthan gum (if your blend already doesn’t contain it). :)

      • Georgia
        January 20, 2016 at 4:50 AM

        Thanks Nicole! I thought it would be like that! I made it yesterday… And it isn’t what I expected… I think I did something wrong as it’s a bit hard… ?

        • January 23, 2016 at 5:50 PM

          I’d always check your flour blend first, Georgia. They are not all created equal! For success, you must use one of my recommended blends and measure by weight, not volume. Check your oven temp, too, as most ovens run hot.

  • Maureen Flynn
    January 19, 2016 at 9:53 AM

    Hi Nicole. So far every recipe of yours I’ve tried has been incredibly successful. Thanks for making me feel less deprived. I use Bobs Red Mill 1 to 1 gf flour blend do I still need to use the cornstarch or potatoe flakes in this recipe?

    Thanks again for your mastering gf baking.



    • January 19, 2016 at 12:25 PM

      So glad, Maureen! I really don’t care for Bob’s flour blends, especially the grittiness of the rice flour in their 1:1 blend. If you like it, you can try to see if it will work here, but yes, you’ll still need the cornstarch!

  • Anne Lairmore
    January 18, 2016 at 10:24 PM

    Can anyone help me with a paleo substitute for the refined and powdered sugar? I’m dying to make this for my husband but don’t know if 1:1 honey would work (he doesn’t eat coconut, so coconut sugar is not an option this time.). Thanks so much for giving us our pound cake back!

    • January 19, 2016 at 12:23 PM

      Hi, Anne, I’m afraid this simply isn’t a Paleo recipe. Even if you replaced the sugars, it must be made with a rice flour-based all purpose gluten free flour blend. I recommend you have a look through the Paleo recipes here on the blog.

  • Tonya
    January 18, 2016 at 3:19 PM

    This looks amazing and I am surely going to give it a try. I’m VERY lactose intolerant, I would like to know if there is a substitute for the cream cheese.

    • January 19, 2016 at 12:24 PM

      Hi, Tonya,
      If you’re lactose intolerant, you will have an issue with both the butter and the cream cheese. I’m afraid that is a really dramatic substitution in a recipe like this, so I really couldn’t promise results!

    • I darefsky
      January 27, 2016 at 3:30 AM

      I cannot eat any cows milk products, grew up on goats milk. I found that yogurt from ewes milk (sheep), can be turned into wonderful cream cheese, by hanging in cheesecloth, for savory add a bit of salt before hanging. A couple of hours, when it has the right consistency, use.
      I hope this is an option you can use.

      Ghee (butter fat) has neither lactose nor protein, it is 99.9% fat, just has the butter taste. I use that along with some tasty marge when baking/cooking.

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