Lighter lemon loaf cake is such a delicious and easy cake to make. It's based on Starbucks lemon loaf cake so if you love that but want a healthy version with less calories and fat then this is for you!
Lighter lemon loaf cake is my lighter version of the tasty lemon loaf cake that you find in Starbucks.
As I mentioned in the wholemeal chocolate cranberry cookies recipe last Thursday, I see it every morning when I pop in for my Americano.
I've been wanting to make a lower calorie version of it for a while so that's what I've done here.
I tried my lemon cake recipe out on my colleagues at work.
They not only assured me that the taste and texture were identical to the original Starbucks one, but also wolfed down the whole loaf I left in our communal kitchen in one hour!
I think that says it all!
Now folks, my recipe is not in any way dissing the actual lemon loaf cake you get in Starbucks.
I'm a huge fan of Starbucks. Their cakes look amazing and I enjoy their coffee daily.
I'm just conscious of the fat and calories that I consume. That's all.
On the cake label in the Starbucks store, they advertise their lemon loaf cake as having 360 calories per slice.
What I've got for you here today is still a really soft, moist and tender lemon zest packed cake. I've then covered it in a lemon juice and icing sugar topping.
But my lemon loaf calories come in at only 154 per slice. So in comparison to the Starbucks version this is a healthy lemon cake recipe!
This is a remarkably easy to make cake too.
I'm not one who has loads of time to faff about in the kitchen. Trying out all sorts of different cake batters and layers. As well as a pristine topping.
Nope, I just want to make a cake. Because I love cake. And then I love to share it with people who I know will appreciate it. Like my work colleagues and you folks!
This lighter loaf cake is just two bowls of ingredients mixed together.
A loaf tin for baking and a bowl of icing sugar mixed with lemon juice.
I've even managed to minimise the washing up as well as the calories and fat here.
I accept your thanks. 😉
Love this Lemon Loaf Cake Recipe? Then try these!
Cherry Bakewell Loaf Cake - an easy and delicious budget cake with all the flavours of a bakewell tart. Topped with a layer of icing sugar. It's perfect for sharing with friends!
Gluten Free Carrot and Sultana Cake - a deliciously simple and sweet tasting delight. With a beautifully moist texture and hints of cinnamon. Topped with a smooth and dreamy no fat cream cheese topping.
Pumpkin and Walnut Loaf - filled with crunchy little pieces of walnut and made from whole wheat flour this tasty sharing recipe is a healthy way to enjoy pumpkin with friends and family!
Easy lemon cupcakes - these cupcakes take just 30 minutes to make and taste delicious. Moist and bursting with lemon flavours they’re also made with no butter!
Best carrot cake loaf. With smooth cream cheese icing and a moist texture this delicious and easy to make recipe is just perfect to share!
For This Lemon Loaf Cake Recipe You May Need….
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This is the basic loaf tin I use.
As you can see it's relatively inexpensive and its perfect for loaf cake recipes.
Plus it's teflon coated and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
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Lighter lemon loaf cake is such a delicious moist and easy cake to make. It's based on Starbucks lemon loaf cake so if you love that but want a healthy version with less calories and fat then this is for you!
Lighter Lemon Loaf Cake Recipe
This lighter lemon loaf cake is perfect to bake and share with friends.
No need to go to Starbucks when you can recreate it at home. And save money too!
I’d love to hear what you think of my recipe in the comments below and please do rate my recipe 5* if you like it! 🙂
Lighter Lemon Loaf Cake Recipe
The following links and any links in the recipe card below are affiliate links.
This means that if you click on it and then buy that product I’ll get a small commission (at no extra cost to you of course).
If you do click through then thanks for being a part of Neil’s Healthy Meals!
- 300 g self raising flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 100 g golden caster sugar
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 100 ml Greek yogurt
- 50 ml sunflower oil
- 125 ml lemon juice
- ½ tbsp. vanilla extract
For the topping :-
- 200 g icing sugar
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 20cm x 12.5cm / 8” x 5” loaf tin.
- Sift all of the dry ingredients, the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar and lemon zest into a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, add the wet ingredients the eggs, yogurt, oil, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Mix together.
- Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the larger bowl with the dry ingredients. Fold all of the ingredients together using a spatula.
- Pour cake mixture into loaf tin and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until risen and golden brown.
- Check the loaf has cooked by inserting a wooden skewer / cocktail stick into the centre which should come out clean if cooked then remove from the oven.
- Allow to cool slightly in the tin before removing and transferring to a wire baking rack.
- In a measuring jug make the icing by whisking together the icing sugar and lemon juice and pour on top of the loaf spreading out evenly.
- Store in an air tight container or slice into 14 slices and freeze.
Shashi at Savory Spin
Oh WOW! Neil, my daughter and I LOVE Starbuck's lemon slices - we usually cut one in half and enjoy a small half each - but - with this lightened up version of yours, we could enjoy a WHOLE slice!!! A WHOLE SLICE!!!! WOW! It's such a simple recipe - I bought a ton of lemons to make limoncello with and now know what to do with 'em! Thanks so much for this one - cannot wait to try it out! Hope y'all have a wonderful week!
Ha ha yes that's right Shashi, you and your daughter CAN now enjoy a whole slice of this lemon loaf cake each! I've got to admit I've no idea how the Starbucks one is so calorific, I mean there must be a ton of sugar and butter in it, right?
Hope you get a chance to make this and hope you really enjoy it too!
Sounds delish does it have to be full fat Greek yoghurt or could I swap for 0%fat? And also could I use coconut oil instead of sunflower?
Thanks Bernadette. You can definitely use 0% Greek yogurt. That's mostly what I use. I haven't tried coconut oil though, so can't comment on whether that would work or not. 🙂
Neil I’ve put this in my fitness pal with using 0% yogurt and it’s nowhere near 150kcals a slice - more like 190 for 14 servings. Not sure how the hell you get yours so low using the exact same ingredients? Still tastes great and I love it!
Hi Lorna. Thanks for your comment. I pay for software that calculates the nutritional values. My Fitness Pal is free and therefore can differ as its information is pulled from free sources. Glad you enjoy the recipe!
Agness of Run Agness Run
Such a perfect cake and awesome combination of ingredients, Neil. It will go perfectly with a cup of green tea. 😉
That sounds like a perfect combination Agness. Like a foody match made in heaven. 🙂
David @ Spiced
I hear ya about baking during the winter, Neil! There's just something about getting in the kitchen and baking up delicious treats that helps you forget about the dark, cold days outside. I've seen this lemon cake at Starbucks, but like you I've never actually tried a slice. I just get my cup of coffee and go about my merry way. But you've got my attention now! I love a good lemon cake, and this looks moist and delicious...perfect to nibble on with my morning cup of coffee! I might have to give this one a try during the holidays. I love a good lemon dessert, and the use of Greek yogurt here is a fun twist! 🙂
I love the smells of baking coming from the kitchen during the winter David, and also the smells of soups, casseroles and roasts too!
So glad I've got you interested in the lemon loaf cake! I might have a go at "lightening" up some of the other cakes in Starbucks next too. Anything you fancy? 😉
What?!? I always get a slice! It's as good as it looks!
It does look amazing Jeff. I may have to compare it to mine one day! 😉
Susie @ Suzlyfe
I adore lemon cake--one of my favorite things. I kind of want to add blueberries to it, but I might have to wait for spring!
Blueberries in this lemon cake would be absolutely amazing Susie! I love that idea, never thought of it. I say GO FOR IT!
A delicious cake which doesn't have all these calories and fats than a regular cake would? And just 150 calories per slice? Neil, is it Christmas yet (Cause it feels you've brought an amazing gift haha). And you know what's also good about a healthier cake? You can eat more of it!:)
As it's near enough Christmas Ben I say we should definitely eat more of this cake.
I mean if two slices of this equals one slice of the actual Starbucks cake then who am I to deny anyone that pleasure?
Neil, this does sound like a delicious cake! I love the ingredient list! I've never baked a cake with Greek yogurt.If it tastes like Starbucks', I'm all in.
Thanks Jeff. I practically bake all my cakes using yogurt in the ingredients. It seems to help to keep the cake moist in the absence of butter. Its only something I started doing over the last 4 years though. Previously I was a big user of butter but now I tend to only use that in making my bread and rolls.
Ashika | Gardening Foodie
Oh, I love baking with lemons and and a slice of this lemon loaf would be absolutely perfect with coffee. The lighter version of the recipe is a welcome alternative to all the high calorie and sugary treats which tempt us during this part of the year. I absolutely love it!
Thanks for the great recipe Neil.
Thanks Ashika, I love baking with lemons too. Such a great ingredient that adds flavour to a dish with only a very small amount needed don't you think? 🙂
This looks AMAZING! I have a go-to lemon cake recipe, but I’m going to give this one a try because these photos were too mouthwatering. Thank you!!
Thanks for your awesome feedback. I hope you enjoy the cake! 🙂
Can i ask what type of greek yogurt i.e. 0% or 2 % etc ad also I have some brown granulated sukrin (stevia) can i use that in the cake? and can you do it in a round cake tin
Hi Lisa, I use fat free Greek yogurt but I don't think it would make a difference to the recipe if you used 2%. I haven't used stevia in this cake before so I guess you could try with it. But maybe only a very small amount to try it out to start off with? Yes a round cake tin would be fine. Although might not give you as much quantity. But would still work to bake it in. Hope this helps!
I baked this today. I used milk instead of yoghurt plus added 1tbs. of poppy seeds and zest of 2 lemons as I didn't frost the top. Baked beautifully in my gas oven at 160 degrees.
Thanks Neil for sharing your low fat low sugar cake recipe.
Hi Sarah. Thanks for making my recipe and for sharing your options to change it. Sounds delicious! ?
I made this today and it was successful, I only made a small amount of icing as I am trying to make cakes with reduced sugar. If I wanted to use a cooking fat like Bertolli instead of yoghurt do you know how much I would need to use.? I think I would also increase the amount of lemon zest in the cake to compensate for the small amount of icing. Looking forward to trying more recipes.
Hi Sarah, thanks for your comment and rating. I would not recommend using cooking fat instead of yoghurt. That will make the recipe "sludgy". Hope you enjoyed this recipe and glad you are looking forward to making more! 🙂
This would have to be the nicest lemon cake I've ever had,and is much better if you leave it for a day, thankyou sooo much.
You're welcome Adela. Thanks for much for making my lemon loaf cake and taking the time to comment. 🙂
I made this cake this morning and both me and my partner loved it. It feels so much naughtier than it is and a great taste of lemon!! Thank you.
Thank you so much Liz! I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe. 🙂
Thanks a lot for the recipe !! I used whole wheat flour and grape molasses instead of caster sugar and it turned out amazing !!
Sounds great Nad! Good to know that it works with whole what flour and grape molasses. I've never tried it with either of those before! 🙂
Well i'm trying to introduce healthier sugar alternatives into my baking ! The measurements slightly differ. I found rules of substitution on the internet! Still an apprentice though :)I'm having a piece while typing !!! yummmmm 🙂 thanks again for this lighter version !!
Glad you enjoyed it Nad! 😀
Hi! I want to try this out, will it work with plain flour instead of self raising flour?
Hi. No it will not work with plain flour. Please only use self raising flour and the rest of the ingredients in the recipe card to get the result! Thank you.
Just made it - turned out great. Definetly will be making this time and time again!
Thank you Laura! That made my day! 😀
quick question, the recipe says 125mls of lemon juice..that sounds like a lot? can you use it from a bottle or does it have to be fresh?
also it says to add some lemon juice to the cake mix with the eggs yogurt and oil etc but also to the icing, how much goes it each??
i know lots of people have made it so Im sure its obvious and I'm just being silly!
Hi Annie, I use 125ml lemon juice in the recipe and it works out great, as it has for others who have made it too. Why don't you try 125ml and if that's too much / too little for you then alter it to suit your taste next time? Lemon juice from a bottle is fine here. The recipe says to add the lemon zest into the dry ingredients (instructions number 2.). You add the lemon juice into the wet ingredients (instruction number 3.). You add 3 tbsp lemon juice into the icing that is specified as well (instruction number 8.). Hope this helps and you enjoy the recipe! Neil
oh wow.. probably the best lemon cake I've eaten in years. thank you so much for this recipe..cant waitvto try the carrot cake next x
You're welcome Annie. Thanks for sending the picture to me too. Hope you enjoy the carrot cake. Take care! 🙂
I made this last night and it was so unbelievably delicious. Low sugar, yes but it wasn't missed. Shop bought cakes are too overly sweet. Thank you so much.
Hi Fay. So glad you liked my recipe! Thanks for taking the time to rate it and comment on it too. 🙂
Oh wow. Like WOW. The cake is DELICIOUS ! It's light, airy, fluffy and super tasty !
Thank you so much, I have tried so many low sugar / low fat recipes for lemon drizzle cake, and I am proud to say that I have finally found the one that exceeded my expectations !
Keep 'em coming !
Many thanks for your kind comments Anya! So glad you like my lemon loaf cake. It is one of the most popular recipes on the blog. 🙂
I made this and I loved it, but I was wondering if the batter is suppose to be this thick or did I do something wrong? it was almost bread-like thick lol
Hi there, thanks for making my recipe and your comment. Glad you loved it! If you're finding the batter is too thick, next time you could add a little more Greek yogurt to make it a little more moist. Or not cook it for so long? (Check inside is cooked by inserting a wooden skewer). All oven cooking times can vary so also maybe your oven is more powerful than mine and doesn't need quite as long cooking. I never get a recipe right the first time. More like 5 times! Ha ha!
I was attracted to this recipe as it didn't have butter or a high ratio of sugar, both of which I must minimise for health reasons. Just enjoying my second slice of it now and doing all I can not to demolish the rest! It's so light and airy and moist and the sweetness is perfect to my tastes, even without adding the icing on top. I added some poppyseeds on a whim and they work really well too. It did need 40 minutes in my oven though, but after 25 minutes I tented some foil over the top so it cooked through without burning. But this one is definitely going onto my list of reliable recipes.
So glad you enjoyed the recipe Cherry and thank you very much for taking the time to write your review and rate it too. That makes all the difference to me. 🙂