The Best Rosemary Lemon Loaf Cake

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This is truly the best lemon loaf cake! Made with fresh rosemary and lemons, this cake is SUPER moist, buttery, and full of flavor. Topped with a lemon, sour cream glaze. This recipe will be your new favorite loaf cake!

If you’ve tried our coconut loaf cake and loved it, then you will absolutely love every bite of our rosemary lemon loaf cake. It has the exact same moistness with a crispy, buttery top and fluffy inside!

Also check out our banana bread, pumpkin bread and monkey bread recipes! Furthermore, check out all of our favortie lemon recipes!

rosemary lemon loaf cake recipe with glaze over the top.

The rosemary adds a freshness to it and compliments the lemon nicely. It’s perfect to serve spring or winter, as the rosemary adds a nice herby flavor to it. Also great to bake and gift to friends and for simple gatherings.

We love this loaf cake because it’s made with sour cream, oil and butter making it incredibly moist and full of lemon flavor. It’s truly one of the best we’ve ever had and are so happy to share it with you!

Need more brunch recipes? Check out our favorite brunch recipes and brunch cocktails.

What is a loaf cake?

A loaf cake is a buttery, moist cake. It usually features fruit flavors such as strawberry, pumpkin, and, in this case, coconut. Then it’s usually topped with a glaze or icing and served at room temperature. It gets its name because it’s made in a bread loaf pan.

How to Make a Rosemary Lemon Loaf Cake


Loaf Pan – This is our favorite loaf pan. It’s the only one you’ll ever need!

Measuring Cups

Mixing Bowls

Electric Mixer – Hand held or stand alone.

Parchment Paper

Super moist lemon loaf cake with glaze


Fresh Rosemary

Lemon Juice + Lemon Zest


Vegetable Oil


Sour Cream



Baking Powder


Vanilla Extract

What is the purpose of baking powder?

If you’re curious about the difference between baking powder and baking soda and what they do in a recipe, check out our baking soda vs. baking powder guide.

Loaf cake batter with rosemary and lemon in a mixing bowl.
cake batter in a loaf pan.

The top will be golden brown and the center will come out clean (moist crumbs is okay) with a toothpick.

Removing the Loaf Cake

When the loaf cake is done, serve it from the pan, with the glaze poured over the top OR remove the loaf cake from the pan, serve it on a small platter and pour the glaze over it. 

Golden brown rosemary lemon loaf cake on a white Heath ceramics platter.

The easiest way to remove the loaf cake is by pulling up on the two sides of the parchment paper.

Lemon loaf cake with lemon slices and rosemary.

Delicious Lemon Glaze

The glaze is an essential part of this recipe! It’s beyond easy to make and only 4 ingredients!

Powdered Sugar

Lemon Zest

Lemon Juice


Lemon loaf cake with a drizzled glaze over the top.

In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients with a fork until it becomes a thick glaze texture. If you need a little extra water, add it. Next, pour it over the lemon loaf cake and enjoy it!

Full recipe below.

How can you tell if a cake is done without a toothpick?

Insert the toothpick into the center of the cake and if the toothpick comes out clean the cake is done. If it comes out with batter, the cake needs more time to cook.

If you take the loaf out too early it will fall in the center. However, we personally do like to take it out about a minute before it is fully done cooking so it’s not overcooked. 

Additionally, you don’t have to have a toothpick to test the center. A clean sharp knife will work as well.

Loaf Pan

A loaf pan is a rectangular pan that is used for baking bread and loaves. If you like to bake, it’s a good idea to invest in one good loaf pan that you will have forever. 

Our favorite is Emile Henry’s ceramic pan. It’s made from Burgundian clay, which absorbs, distributes, and retains heat evenly, so bread and casseroles bake and brown to perfection.

Rosemary Lemon Loaf cake cut with sliced lemon and fresh rosemary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a lemon loaf?

A lemon loaf is a moist, buttery lemon-flavored cake that is baked in a loaf pan.

Why is my lemon loaf dense?

There are several reasons a lemon loaf can come out dense. If the recipe calls for too much acid and not enough baking powder to balance it out it can become dense. It can also become dense if the flour is over mixed in the batter or if a recipe calls for too much flour and not enough liquid.

What is lemon cake made of?

Lemon loaf cake is made of all-purpose flour, unsalted butter, sugar, baking powder, eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest, vegetable oil, salt sour cream, and vanilla extract.


No, loaf cake and pound cake are not the same. A pound cake gets its name from the traditional way of making it. This requires a pound of each ingredient to make the batter.

Why Does My Loaf Cake Crack?

It’s very common for a loaf cake to crack on top. When the batter bakes, the heat causes it to rise. When it starts rising over the top of the pan, then it spreads outward. This often causes the top to crack.

More Recipes You’ll Love!

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The Best Devil’s Food Cake Recipe

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The Best Blueberry Muffins

Let us know if you make this rosemary lemon loaf cake by leaving a comment and rating below! We love to hear your thoughts!

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Rosemary Lemon Loaf Cake

This is truly the best lemon loaf cake! Made with fresh rosemary and lemons, this cake is super moist, buttery, and full of flavor.
4.91 from 20 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 1 Loaf Cake
Calories: 4399kcal
Author: Eden


Rosemary Lemon Loaf Cake

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, organic
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs, organic
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp rosemary , fresh, minced. Find this in the herb section of the grocery store.

Lemon Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp water


Rosemary Lemon Loaf Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Mix the butter (room temperature) and sugar on medium speed in an electric mixer. 
  • Add in the sour cream and eggs and beat. 
  • While that is beating add the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and lighting whisk.
  • Next, add the lemon juice, oil, rosemary, zest, and extract in a liquid measuring cup and alternate with the flour mixture.
  • Cut a piece of parchment paper the same length as the loaf pan and leave extra room to go over the sides. 
  • Butter the bottom and sides of the loaf pan and place in the parchment paper. 
  • Pour the batter in the loaf pan 1/2 of the way full.
  • Bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees.

Lemon Glaze

  • Add the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk with a fork until combined and the texture turns into a glaze.
  • Drizzle the glaze over the rosemary lemon loaf cake and garnish with lemons and fresh rosemary.


Make sure to use fresh rosemary and freshly squeezed lemon juice for this recipe.
Baking times will vary on true oven temperature and location. Check on the loaf cake after 50 minutes and continue checking until it’s done. It will be golden brown, risen in the center and the sides. 
Do the toothpick trick to help tell if it’s done or not. 


Calories: 4399kcal | Carbohydrates: 461g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 276g | Saturated Fat: 179g | Cholesterol: 1039mg | Sodium: 2647mg | Potassium: 1441mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 307g | Vitamin A: 7205IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 666mg | Iron: 13mg
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13 thoughts on “The Best Rosemary Lemon Loaf Cake”

  1. 5 stars
    Amazing flavor and the rosemary accent is perfect. I’ve made it twice and it’s easily my favorite even over banana and pumpkin bread. I’d love to eat it every day – the single downside of the recipe being the calories. Oh yes, I followed the recipe exactly.

  2. 5 stars
    This is a cake I enjoyed eating when I was a kid. Your recipe is awesome. I did, and I had unexpected results. It’s very good. Its taste is great. Thanks for the great article.

  3. 5 stars
    I love a good loaf cake, I usually prep one and have it on the cake stand to enjoy with tea throughout the week and this I gotta tell you is on my top 3. I love the rosemary, the flavor of this cake is amazing and it is so moist, this makes for the perfect fall treat.


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