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.


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