Lady Bird Johnson’s Lemon Pound Cake

Lady Bird Johnson's Lemon Pound Cake

There’s something about lemon pound cake that is so supremely satisfying. The tartness of the lemon flavor is subdued by the butter and sugar in the recipe, making for a delectable treat that is perfect all year round. Add a hot cup of tea or a glass of cold milk and you’ve got a perfect afternoon snack, but this cake also really shines as the dessert after dinner.

Lady Bird Johnson's Lemon Pound Cake

When a lemon cake recipe comes from the esteemed recipe box of a First Lady, you’ve got a world class recipe on your hands. Lady Bird Johnson’s lemon pound cake is now known to have been one of her signature desserts. Among her other favorite desserts to make were lace cookies, lemon squares, and drop nut cookies.

First Lady Johnson was an avid cook and baker who was very with the times of the 1960s, making recipes like cold salads made with blanched green beans and strips of chicken. These were just a little more elegant than the Jell-o salads and other oddities of the era. But, she was known for her classic dishes (and for her mouth-watering Southern biscuits as well).

Lady Bird Johnson's Lemon Pound Cake

Lady Bird Johnson's Lemon Pound Cake

This lemon cake recipe is quite special and gets a kick from fresh lemon zest, lemon juice, and from a buttermilk glaze that’s unlike most other cake glazes. If you’re looking for something to really impress your family and guests, then this cake is the one for the task.

Lady Bird Johnson's Lemon Pound CakeLady Bird Johnson's Lemon Pound Cake

This cake is most striking when made in a bundt pan for that extra special look on the serving plate. Drizzled over with the unique glaze, it makes quite the spectacle at the table.

Lady Bird Johnson's Lemon Pound Cake

If you’re looking for a classic dessert that goes well with any meal, then look no further than Lady Bird Johnson’s Lemon Pound Cake.

Lady Bird Johnson's Lemon Pound Cake

1 hour 15 minutes to prepare / serves 10-12


  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • For the lemon glaze: 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons buttermilk
  • Zest of one lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and grease a bundt pan with butter or nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until light and pale yellow. Add to creamed butter mixture and mix to combine.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt three times. Add to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk and mixing in between.
  5. Add vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice and beat for two minutes.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool 20 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. While cake cools, make the glaze.
  8. Glaze directions: in a medium bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, buttermilk, and lemon zest.
  9. Add more lemon juice and buttermilk as needed. Once cake is on serving platter, pour glaze over, slice, serve, and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Maine House.