The Daley Question

Coffeeshop-style lemon pound cake recipe

Reader seeks to match famous coffee chain version

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Seeking coffeehouse cake recipe

People look at the Starbucks pastry case in suburban Chicago. (Chicago Tribune file photo / July 30, 2013)

Q: I wonder if you have a recipe for those delicious, moist, lemon-frosted pound cakes found in the popular coffee shops (they'll remain unnamed!).

—Jean Anderson, Chicago

A: I love that cake! Company recipes can sometimes be scaled for large production and can pose a challenge to home bakers. So I contacted Todd Wilbur, a self-described recipe hacker, author and television personality (

The Las Vegas-based Wilbur has made a very successful career out of "cloning" popular products for cooks to reproduce at home. He included a version of Starbucks' "Iced Lemon Pound Cake" in his ninth book, "Top Secret Recipes Unlocked." You'll find the recipe below.

The challenge, he told me, is the lemon flavor. Too much lemon juice makes for a thin batter. Better to combine lemon juice and lemon extract for that full-throttle lemon taste, he said.

"It's pretty close,'' Wilbur said of his version. "If you like the Starbucks' lemon loaf you'll like this."

I'll have to take his word on that; I haven't yet made the recipe or conducted a side-by-side comparison. Let me know what you think.

Lemon loaf

This take on Starbucks' Iced Lemon Pound Cake is found in "Top Secret Recipes Unlocked" by Todd Wilbur.

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon each: baking soda; baking powder; salt

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon each: vanilla extract; lemon extract

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Lemon icing:

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

2 tablespoons whole milk

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

2. Use an electric mixer to blend together eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

3. Pour wet ingredient into dry ingredients and blend until smooth. Add oil and mix well.

4. Pour ingredients into a well-greased 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean.

5. Make the lemon icing by combining ingredients in a small bowl with electric mixer on low speed. When the lemon loaf is cool, remove it from the pan and frost the top with the lemon icing. When the icing has set up, slice the loaf into eight 1-inch-thick slices.

Do you have a question about food or drink? Email Bill Daley at: Snail mail inquiries should be sent to: Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 60611. Twitter @billdaley.

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