Lemon Sugar Loaf Cake

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With a little imagination and creativity, we can all prevent waste in our kitchens. One way to do so is to use more of your groceries in your cooking and baking. This Lemon Sugar Loaf Cake uses nearly two whole lemons, peel and all! Easy to make and coated in a warm lemon-y drizzle, it’s sure to impress whenever you have a few extra lemons on hand.

Makes 1 9×5 inch loaf


For the lemon sugar 

  • 2 lemons, washed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

For the pound cake 

  • 1.5 sticks Imperfect Foods Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup milk + 1 ½ tsp lemon juice (let sit for 15 minutes before adding to batter)

For the lemon glaze 

  • ¼ – ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar


Make the lemon sugar:

  1. With a serrated peeler, carefully remove the outer zest of the lemons, avoiding the white pith (which can be bitter). Place sugar and peels into a food processor and pulse to combine. Keep pulsing until zest is completely incorporated into the sugar. The sugar will be very fragrant and pale yellow.
  2. Juice the lemons and add 1 ½ tsp of the juice to ½ a cup of milk. Let sit for 15 minutes. Set the rest of the juice aside for the glaze.

Make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper. 
  2. Place lemon sugar and butter into a large bowl and cream until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one. Beat for another 2-3 minutes once all eggs are in.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add ⅓ of the milk and lemon mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the batter and mix until just combined. Continue, alternating adding the milk and lemon mixture with the flour mixture until all ingredients are combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and stir to make sure everything is incorporated.
  5. Grease the inside of your loaf pan and then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then remove from the pan to fully cool for about an hour.

Make the glaze:

  1. While the cake is cooking, whisk together powdered sugar with ¼ cup of lemon juice. If the glaze looks too thick, add more lemon juice, 1 tsp at a time, until your desired consistency is achieved. Pour glaze over cooled cake.

Recipe Notes and Variations

  • To easily make your cake dairy free, sub the butter for your favorite vegan butter (you can get Miyoko’s from Imperfect!). To make it vegan too, sub the three eggs for three flax eggs: Mix three tablespoons ground flaxseed meal with nine tablespoons of water and let sit in your fridge for 15 minutes to thicken up.
  • Want more ways to “use the whole carrot?” Try our Creamy Whole Parmesan Pasta and Warm Whole Beet Salad.


  • Helen
    January 27, 2022 at 10:08 am

    Do you think I could substitute almond milk for the regular milk in the Lemon Cake recipe?

    • Imperfect
      January 27, 2022 at 3:51 pm

      Yes! Definitely!

  • Lis
    January 29, 2022 at 4:43 pm

    Can I use almond flour and brown rice flour instead of reg flour?

    • Imperfect
      February 8, 2022 at 10:20 am

      Yes! We encourage you to modify all of our recipes to help fit your diet and taste preferences best 💚

  • Colleen
    February 1, 2022 at 6:01 am

    Great recipe, but could you please make the print version of your recipes more environmentally friendly? This one prints out with a whole color photo and five pages! A single page, no color would be much better.

    • Imperfect
      February 8, 2022 at 10:21 am

      We’ll pass the suggestion along to our team and in the meantime you can adjust the settings to whatever you are printing to only print the pages you desire and to print in black and white if you’d like too.

  • Rebecca
    February 5, 2022 at 8:17 am

    I gave this recipe a try last night with two large lemons I had on hand and we LOVED the results! I had family visiting and they asked for seconds. This lemon loaf didn’t last long at all. LOL Turns out my loaf pan has a little larger dimensions so the 50 min bake time ended up overdoing it just a little, so I’ll keep a better eye on it and shorten the baking time for the next one. But (even a little overdone) the flavor is great. Thanks so much!

    • Imperfect
      February 8, 2022 at 10:22 am

      So happy that you and the fam loved this recipe so much! 😍👏

  • Aimee
    June 7, 2022 at 2:36 pm

    Such a delightful cake! I’ve made it a few times now, and it comes out beautifully every time. Plus, I always end up with a bit of extra lemon glaze, which is perfect for sweetening a glass of iced tea 🙂

  • Erin
    August 23, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    This looks delicious! We don’t have a food processor at the house but we do have blenders (1 immersion and 1 regular)… do you think one of those work well for making the lemon sugar?

    • Imperfect Foods
      September 13, 2022 at 11:48 am

      It should work great! We’d suggest using the immersion blender, but either should work 🙌


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