Starbucks Lemon Loaf Copycat Recipe

Sunday 7 November 2021

Starbucks Lemon Loaf

 I have only ever been to a Starbucks once. I am not a coffee drinker per se, although I do love to eat coffee flavored sweets.  I have always heard however that their baked goods are excellent, especially the Starbucks Lemon Cake Loaf.

The one time I went, I thought they were very expensive baked goods.  Something would have to be extremely delicious for me to spend that kind of money on a baked good. 

Starbucks Lemon Loaf 
I am a sucker for anything lemon however and after reading about how delicious the Starbucks Lemon loaf, I have been really keen to try it out.

I had found one recipe which used a golden cake mix along with a cooked lemon pudding mix. I could find the cake mix, but not the cooked lemon pudding mix.  
Starbucks Lemon Loaf 
I then discovered this recipe on a site called Lil' Luna.  She said it was even better than the Starbucks cake.  Loaded with lemon flavor with a lush lemon buttercream frosting. It also uses instant pudding mix, not cooked, which was much easier for me to find and there is no cake mix in site.

I was keen to try it.  I felt it lent itself to being baked in the UK as well.  I want to have recipes on my page that people on both sides of the pond can cook and bake. 

Starbucks Lemon Loaf 

 I baked it today, with a few changes. I have  adapted the measurements to UK measurements so that people in the UK can make it. 

I have also gone to the trouble of finding an instant pudding mix source in the UK so that people over there can bake it as well. You can find the required pudding mix in the UK via Amazon. You will have to buy the vanilla one and add extra lemon extract or zest to make up for it, but it will work beautifully.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf 
As you can see it has an excellent texture. It is nice and dense, which is just how I love my loaf cakes.

It also has a beautiful lemon flavor.  The page where I got the recipe from used more lemon extract in her bake, but its been my experience that using too much lemon extract can make things taste a bit like perfume, so I cut it back a bit, and didn't use it at all in the frosting.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf 

Simple every day baking ingredients, with the exception of the pudding mix.  This has an almost pound cake texture.

For the cake:
  • all purpose flour
  • instant pudding mix (lemon or vanilla)
  • fresh lemon, juice and zest
  • butter
  • canola oil
  • granulated sugar
  • large free range eggs
  • vanilla and lemon extracts
  • full fat plain Greek yogurt
  • salt, soda and baking powder

For the frosting:
  • butter
  • lemon zest
  • lemon juice
  • icing sugar

Starbucks Lemon Loaf 

This lush cake goes together like most loaf types of cakes or quick breads. It is a simple process of combining your wet ingredients and then folding in the combined dry ingredients just to combine.

You want to begin by pre-heating your oven and preparing your loaf pan. She buttered the pan and only lined the bottom. I like to line three sides of the pan, including the long sides, leaving a bit of an overhang for ease of lifting the loaf out of the pan when done

Starbucks Lemon Loaf 
You will need to mix your dry ingredients together first for the cake.  Just measure them all into a bowl and then using a whisk, whisk everything together well. 

You want to make sure your leavening is evenly distributed. By that I mean the baking powder and the soda.  Because you will be using an acidic ingredient in this cake you will need baking soda to help it rise better.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf 

I beat all of the wet ingredients together in a bowl using an electric hand whisk to make sure everything was well incorporated and the mixture was smooth.

Once you have done that you can start to add the dry ingredients. I did this 1/3 at a time, mixing everything in only until the dry ingredients were combined. You don't want to overmix anything, or your cake could end up tough.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf 
Once mixed it is a matter of spooning it into the prepared pan.  I like to smooth the top over with my spatula/spoon.  

Bake in the preheated oven until the cake tests done.  A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. It will be a nice golden brown. if you think it is browning too quickly, you can cover it while it is baking loosely with a sheet of foil.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf 
Leave it to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes then lift out to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Don't ice it until it is completely cold.  The frosting is very easy to make as well. Just pop everything into a bowl and beat it all together until creamy and smooth.  Then just spread it over the top of the cooled cake.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf 
I popped mine into the refrigerator to chill before I cut into it.  That resulted in nice even slices and you can see the texture on this cake is perfect.

The icing was also well set by chilling it.  I also think you could freeze this cake without frosting it.  You can just make the frosting on the day you want to serve it.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf

Since I have never had a Starbucks Lemon Loaf to taste in the past, I cannot say for sure if this is an accurate copycat version of the original!  I can attest however to the fact that it is one very delicious lemon cake.

I would make this again.  I hope you will be inspired to make one of your own.   I think it is a cake you will all enjoy!  And if you like lemon as much as I do, you are really going to love this lemon cake!  Its simply lovely.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf

Starbucks Lemon Loaf

Yield: 10
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 55 MinTotal time: 1 H & 4 M
This is a nice dense lemon loaf cake. With its rich lemon frosting, it is perfect to be enjoyed with a nice hot cuppa.


  • 1 1/2 cups (210g)plain all purpose flour
  • 1 (4 serving size) package instant lemon pudding mix (In the UK? Check out the recipe notes.)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • the finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 2 TBS butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) canola oil
  • 3/4 cup (185g) plain Greek yogurt (not low fat)
For the frosting:
  • 3 TBS butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (195g) icing sugar, sifted
  • the finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 TBS lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F/180*C/gas mark 4. Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf tin and line it on the long sides and bottom using a sheet of baking parchment paper, keeping an overhang for lifting the cake out when done.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, pudding mix, soda, baking powder, salt and lemon zest together in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract, lemon juice, oil and yogurt together in a larger bowl, using an electric hand mixer until everything is evenly mixed together.
  4. Beat in the dry ingredients a third at a time, beating only until just combined and evenly mixed. Pour into the baking tin and level off.
  5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before lifting out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Combine all of the ingredients for the lemon frosting together in a bowl and beat together until smooth.  Spread on top of the completely cold cake. Chill until the icing sets. 
  7. Cut into slices to serve.  Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container.


In the UK you can get instant lemon pudding mix on Amazon. Click here.

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Starbucks Lemon Loaf
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  1. This looks so delicious! Love lemon and quick bread. I think this will be lovely at holiday time.

  2. Starbuck do a Cranberry Bliss bar in December.

    Would you be interested in duplicating that?

  3. This looks so lovely and something I'd be happy to make. Sadly there are no instant puddings to be had here, so I'll just have to drool at the pictures :)

  4. First of all, it's lemon! And it looks yummy! Thanks!


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