Lady Bird Johnson Lemon Cake

Lady Bird Johnson Lemon Cake vintage lemon bundt cake with a sweet lemon glaze. A lemon pound cake that makes a delicious birthday cake!

I love poring through vintage cookbooks. I have a whole shelf full of my grandma’s classics…and finding a good retro cookbook at a thrift shop is like finding gold.

This Lady Bird Johnson Lemon Cake is not just another pound cake. It is one of those vintage recipes that is a MUST MAKE.

lemon bundt cake slice on a plate

Simple pound cakes are some of my favorites. No, they don’t have a thick layer of peanut butter frosting and they aren’t topped with candy, but they have a simple, sweet flavor that pairs so well with a cup of coffee.

Let’s talk about this Lady Bird Johnson Lemon Cake…AKA…homemade pound cake!

What is a Lady Bird Johnson Lemon Cake?

This recipe comes from an old book called A White House Diary by Lady Bird Johnson. Their daughter, Lucy Baines Johnson, got married in 1966. The family served this southern pound cake at a White House reception after the ceremony.

Homemade Lemon Pound Cake

This cake is a traditional pound cake, full of butter and 8 egg yolks. Yes, 8 yolks! These two ingredients keep the cake rich and moist. Don’t skimp on the butter or the eggs. Enjoy a pound cake, president style.

You’ll notice that the cake also calls for cake flour. Cake flour is lower in protein than all-purpose flour and allows cakes to have a more tender crumb than cakes made with standard flour.

Can you use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour? Yes. The cake will still turn out. But be careful not to overmix the cake (which will promote gluten strands forming, making a tougher cake). And it still may not have as soft of a texture, but the flavor will still be spot on.

lemon pound cake on a cake stand

How to Make Lady Bird Lemon Cake

Here are a few hints for making this cake:

  • Use a 10″ bundt cake pan. This makes a lot of cake batter. Don’t overfill the pan or it may overflow all over your oven. Fill cake cake pan about 3/4ths full.
  • Before you fill the cake pan, grease with pan grease so the cake comes out easily. Here is our pan grease recipe.
  • If you don’t have a large bundt cake pan, you may also bake it in 3 greased 9-inch layer pans at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. If you choose this route, you may want to frost it with our lemon frosting.
  • This cake takes 3 bowls: One to mix the batter, one to whisk the eggs, and one to sift the flour mixture in. The cake will work the best if you don’t take shortcuts on these steps. It will help the cake to mix together properly.
  • Only allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn it out to cool completely on a wire rack or cake plate. If you leave the cake in too long, it may stick to the pan.

How to Make Lemon Glaze

  • Combine the powdered sugar, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. Use a hand mixer to mix until well combined.
  • If the glaze isn’t thin enough, add a touch of heavy cream to thin it out to drizzling consistency. If the lemon was super juicy, you probably won’t need this.
  • Once the cake is cooled, drizzle the glaze over the cake.
  • Garnish the cake with more lemon zest if desired.
lemon pound cake with lemon glaze on a wooden cake plate

How to Store Pound Cake

This cake is best stored at room temperature. Keep it in an airtight container for 2-3 days. If you want to keep it longer you can refrigerate the cake after 3 days or freeze it.

Can you freeze pound cake?

This cake freezes really well! Make sure it is wrapped well in plastic wrap, then place in a zippered storage bag or plastic storage container.

When you are ready to serve the cake, remove the cake from the freezer. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before opening the package or container. This will keep the moisture in the cake and keep it soft.

slice of Lady Bird Johnson Lemon Cake on a spatula

Other Lemon Cake Recipes

A close up of a slice of cake on a plate, with Lemon and glaze

Tools to Make This Cake

  • Bundt Cake Pan: This is a classic, must-have kitchen tool.
  • Bundt Cake Carrier: Store your cake in this carrier to keep it fresh and easy to transport!
  • Cake Plate: I have this cake plate and everyone loves it! It comes with the cute server too.
lemon pound cake on a cake stand
lemon pound cake on a cake stand

Lady Bird Johnson Lemon Cake

5 from 1 vote
Lady Bird Johnson Lemon Cake vintage lemon bundt cake with a sweet lemon glaze. A lemon pound cake that makes a delicious birthday cake!
Servings 16
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour

Ingredients
 

For the cake:

  • 3/4 cup salted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 8 large egg yolks (yolks only!)
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup salted butter (at room temperature)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • heavy cream (only if needed)

Instructions
 

Make the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 325º Fahrenheit. Grease a 10" bundt cake pan with shortening, then dust with flour. Or you can use our magic cake release recipe.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the 8 egg yolks together to break up the yolks until they light and lemon-colored. Mix the yolks into the butter/sugar mixture.
  • Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add the sifted ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk. (⅓ of the flour, half the milk, ⅓ of the flour, half the milk, ⅓ of the flour) Beat the batter thoroughly after each addition, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat for 2 minutes.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan** and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the lemon icing:

  • Combine the powdered sugar, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. Use a hand mixer to mix until well combined.
  • If the glaze isn't thin enough, add a touch of heavy cream to thin it out to drizzling consistency.
  • Once the cake is cooled, drizzle the glaze over the cake.
  • Garnish the cake with more lemon zest if desired.

Notes

**You may also bake it in 3 greased 9-inch layer pans at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.
The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 16 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of glazed cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 123mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 488IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 325
Keyword bundt cake recipe, easy lemon cake recipe, old fashioned cake
lemon bundt cake title image

About Julie Clark

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