Meyer Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Meyer lemon cake drenched in a sweet cream cheese glaze.

I thought spring had finally sprung until I was greeted with swirling snow this morning. I live in Ohio, so I am very well aware of snow and I’m not much of a weather whiner – but seriously, is this winter ever going to end? I’m starting to think Elle is going to outgrow the bassinet attachment for her stroller before we can actually put the thing to use.

Eric and I were going through our latest produce delivery from Door-to-Door Organics and we were pretty pumped to find a large bag of Meyer lemons. It was like happening upon a much-needed little piece of sunshine tucked inside a cardboard box.

lemoncake2RSI wanted to bake with them immediately and I wanted cake – so it was kind of like dessert serendipity. As soon as Elle took her afternoon nap, I headed into the kitchen and started zesting away. The fresh citrus scent flooded the kitchen and for a moment, I forgot that I could go outside and have a legit snowball fight.

This recipe is baked in two loaf pans, so there’s plenty to go around. It’s perfect on its own as a sweet breakfast treat or layered with fresh berries in mini glasses to create a stunning and springy dessert.

It also freezes well, either in the full loaf or in individual slices separated by wax paper. Perfect for when you need just a tiny little snack fix with your afternoon cup of tea.

So while I stare out at the winter tundra that has been my backyard for the better part of four months now, I’ll savor each bite of this Meyer Lemon Cake, and its promise that spring is coming. I’m sure of it. It has to be. Otherwise, I might have to succumb to Eric’s pleas for an impromptu Florida vacation just so Elle can actually go outside without four layers and a snowsuit.

Meyer Lemon Cake

Yield: 2 loaves

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour


For the Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided use
  • 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large Meyer lemons)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice, divided use
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. Line the bottoms of both pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups of sugar and lemon zest with your fingertips until moist and fragrant.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and lemon sugar mixture until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a baking sheet; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
  6. For the cream cheese icing: Beat together cream cheese, confectioners' sugar until smooth. Add milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract, Continue beating until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, gradually add a little more milk 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Spoon cream cheese icing over the tops of the cakes.


  • Meyer Lemon Bread is best served the day it is made, but it will store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Top with cream cheese icing before serving.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten via the Food Network

31 Responses to “Meyer Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Icing”

  1. Jamie — March 25, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    I’ve been craving lemon cake! It must have something to do with this time of year. I’m definitely going to bake this later this week because this is exactly what I’ve been in the mood for! :)

  2. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — March 25, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    I love lemon caaaake! This looks so yummy!

  3. Belinda@themoonblushbaker — March 26, 2014 at 4:21 am

    Lemon cake is all about the icing! While summer is actually ending where I live; this means the citrus fruits are coming in. I can not wait to be inspired by your recipes this season. Fab pictures too.

  4. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness — March 26, 2014 at 7:04 am

    That is one GORGEOUS cake! I love lemon and cream cheese…and together?! Amazing!!


  5. Delicious! It seems like this winter is never going to end!

    • Jamie — April 9th, 2014 at 4:07 pm


      The end is in sight!! Thanks so much for stopping by and have a wonderful day!


  6. Abbie @ Needs Salt — March 26, 2014 at 9:06 am

    This cake is gorgeous and looks so delicious. That cream cheese glaze is like perfection.

  7. Sue — March 26, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I can relate about all the snow, we dodged a bullet today here in NY as the storm headed out further into the Atlantic!
    I must admit I am a huge fan of Meyer Lemons and have been waiting for them to come back, I made something similar last week, but there’s just something so special about a Meyer Lemon. Can’t wait to try your recipe, hang in there warmer days are coming!

  8. Liddie @ Pink Sugar Goodies — March 26, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Mm that cream cheese dripping off the cake, it’s making my mouth water! Must try these, thankyou for sharing! :)

  9. I love lemon! I would like to eat this right now! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Rowena — March 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Oh, wow, thank you! That sounds absolutely delicious & I need a taste of spring amidst all this cold & snow. I will be making this one right away.

  11. Elisa — March 26, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    This looks delic! I love, love Meyer lemons. Do you think this recipe could be halved to make only one loaf?

    • Jamie — March 29th, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      I think it would be just fine halved! :)

  12. Norma — March 26, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Man oh Man oh Man!!!! Just got this recipe and just made it. Soooooooo goooooood! Talk about feeding the need for lemon! My hubby isn’t one who’s really into lemon desserts, but even he liked this! I had 9 meyer lemons I needed to use or lose so decided to get right on it. If I’m not careful, this will be my dinner tonight! It is so good, so lemony, so good!!!! I wouldn’t halve the recipe….you can put the second one in the freezer to enjoy later (possibly minus the glaze, don’t know how it will freeze). Needless to say, our second one won’t make the freezer…it’s going to my son and daughter-in-law so it will be out of the house and I won’t eat it all!! Meyer lemons are my favorite lemons and they definitely make this cake! The glaze has just the right amount of sweet and tart. Really tops the cake beautifully! Jamie, you’re going to have a hard time topping this recipe!

  13. Megan A. — March 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    I don’t have two small loaf pans, so I tend to make a lot of baked goods in my bundt pan…think the baking time would be roughly the same?

  14. Kathy A. — March 27, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Question: I don’t know anything about the brand of lemons. What is a Meyer lemon? Can you purchase them in the South? If not, can you use just a regular ol’ store bought lemon? Thanks!

  15. Kathy A. — March 30, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Ooops! Nevermind :-)

  16. Rebecca K. — April 2, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    If I freeze some, can I freeze it with the icing or should I only freeze without?

    • Jamie — April 2nd, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      I would definitely freeze it without the icing. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Renee @ Awesome on $20 — April 6, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    This cake is gorgeous. I adore a lemon pound cake. Whenever you get too cold, you can always come stay in our spare bedroom in Honolulu.

  18. Mausumi Ray — May 8, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    This cake was so delicious! I couldn’t find meyer lemons at the local grocery stores, so I used the regular lemons from the Kroger brand. I also skipped the frosting because I wanted to send some of it in my kids’ lunchbox and in the school they won’t allow them to eat cakes with frostings. So it was more like a lemon bread for us but it was so good. Thank you for posting this recipe!

  19. Courtney B — May 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    This sounds delicious! Definitely going to be trying it out immediately! As for your still snowing in March conundrum, look on the bright side! You could live in Canada… it snowed last weekend and is still hitting freezing temperatures over night on a frequent basis. It has been SIX MONTHS of more or less winter here. This cake is definitely going to at least make it feel like spring though!

  20. Miss 416 — June 3, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    I just made a version of this cake and it was delicious! Check out my blog post here:

  21. Kathryn — August 1, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    I made this tonight for my brother’s birthday. It was the best cake I have ever baked. Thank you!!

  22. janet — December 18, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Hi I noticed in notes it said it was a bread? Is this re pie a cake type loaf or bread like?

    • Jamie — December 18th, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      I would say it’s more the texture of dense cake than bread. I hope this helps.

  23. Claudette Floyd — March 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    I love lemon . This look so good. I will .try this recipe . I am going to enjoyed this!

    • Jamie — March 22nd, 2015 at 10:11 am

      I hope you get the chance to try it. Thanks for visiting.


  24. Jeanne — April 5, 2015 at 12:01 am

    When I go to Starbucks, I always get a slice of their Lemon pound cake. Yummy..

    • Jamie — April 15th, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  25. Cheryl @neurotic baker — June 25, 2015 at 6:33 am

    Looks mouth watering!!!

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