Home Desserts 1920’s Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake

1920’s Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake

The legendary Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake is known for it’s rich, buttery texture and bright lemon flavor.

The recipe is thought to have originated at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in the 1920s, where it was a popular item on the menu.

But is it true?

Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake with glaze on top
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Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake 

There’s no readily available evidence that the Ritz-Carlton Hotel currently serves this lemon pound cake, or that it ever did!

Whether historical fact or folklore, this pound cake has clearly stood the test of time.

When only the real thing will do, this time-honored recipe always hits the spot.

Top it off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’ve got the perfect sweet treat.

Lemon Pound Cake, Top View


Most of what you’ll need for this cake are standard baking ingredients. Here’s the complete list: 

  • Flour – All-purpose flour is the best option for this cake. If you prefer, you can use cake flour, but I find it harder to work with. It makes it a little fluffier, though. 
  • Baking Powder – Baking powder will help the cake rise.
  • Salt – Salt acts as a flavor enhancer for the other ingredients. It also complements the bright, lemony flavor well. 
  • Butter – I use salted butter for this recipe because salt and lemon pair well together. Be sure to set it out ahead of time and let it soften. Don’t substitute with oil or margarine. You’ll want the gorgeous yellow color the butter provides. 
  • Shortening – Any shortening will work, but I’m a fan of good old-fashioned Crisco. It’s the secret ingredient that made all my grandma’s cakes so good. And now, it does the same for me. Don’t skip this ingredient. It’s what you need to provide the cake with its delightfully dense crumb. 
  • White Sugar – Plain granulated sugar is perfect. 
  • Eggs – Use five large, room-temperature eggs. They add moisture and lightness to the cake while holding everything together. 
  • Whole Milk – Usually, I say use whatever milk you have on hand. However, whole milk is non-negotiable for this recipe. It’s the only type that provides the right balance of sweetness and richness. 
  • Lemon Juice and Zest – Remember to zest your lemon BEFORE you juice it. Trying it the other way around is a recipe for disaster. 
  • Confectioners’ Sugar – While optional, confectioners’ sugar is a fantastic addition to the cake. It makes it look lovely and adds additional sweetness. 
  • Optional Lemon Glaze – This cake is so moist you don’t need a glaze. But if you want extra sweetness, you’ll need a simple blend of powdered sugar and lemon juice.
Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake 1920's

How to Make Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake 

Baking a cake from scratch always takes more work than making a boxed cake. Still, as long as you follow the directions, it isn’t too hard. 

1. Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 10-inch Bundt pan. Grease it liberally with butter, then dust it with flour. 

2. Mix the dry ingredients. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. (Use a sifter to do this. It will help aerate the ingredients.)

3. Mix the wet ingredients. Combine the butter, shortening, and sugar in a second bowl. Cream them together until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time. 

4. Combine the two bowls. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture by alternating it with the milk. (i.e., Add a little flour mixture, then a little milk.) 

Continue until you’ve added all of the flour mixture and all of the milk. Don’t overmix during this step! Mix in the lemon juice and lemon zest. 

5. Bake. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake for about 60 minutes. 

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6. Cool. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, loosen it with a knife and turn it onto a wire cooling rack to finish cooling. 

7. Add the sugar or glaze (optional). Dust the cooled cake with confectioners’ sugar or drizzle over the glaze. 

8. Enjoy! Slice, serve, and enjoy! 

Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake with glaze, Top View

Tips for the Best Pound Cake 

Want a few tips to ensure your cake is the best it can be? Try these: 

  • Don’t zest the lemon too deep. If you do, you’ll run into the pith, which is bitter. Zest only the outer peel, and don’t dig too deeply into it. 
  • Roll the lemon before juicing. Rolling it will make it softer and easier to squeeze. You’ll get far more juice this way.
  • Measure the flour accurately. A kitchen scale is the best tool for doing this. If you don’t have one, use a spoon to transfer the flour to the measuring cup. Don’t just scoop the flour out with the measuring cup. (You’ll use too much if you do.)
  • Beat it (butter, sugar, shortening)- just beat it! You must cream the butter, sugar, and shortening for about 5 minutes. Take your time with it. Doing so aerates the butter (which is essential for the cake’s texture). It will be light, fluffy, and paler in color. 
  • Don’t overmix! Creaming the butter, sugar, and shortening is the only time you want to mix for a while. When adding the other ingredients – particularly the eggs – don’t overmix. 
  • Bake on the middle rack. It’s the perfect spot – neither too close nor far away from the heat source. 

How to Store & Freeze

Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature. It should last for about 4 days before going stale. 

You can also freeze the cake* for up to 3 months. First, wrap it in plastic wrap. Then, wrap it again in aluminum foil. 

Store it upright in the freezer with nothing on top of it. 

Be sure to let the cake thaw at room temperature before eating it. Avoid warming it in the microwave. Otherwise, it can dry it out. 

*Note: If you want to freeze individual slices, that’s fine, too. Slice the cooled cake and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Then, store all the wrapped slices in a freezer-safe bag.

More Cake Recipes You’ll Adore

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1920’s Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake



Prep time


Cooking time







This Ritz Carlton lemon pound cake will bring a taste of luxury right to your table. This Bundt is moist, airy, and bright, perfect for any occasion.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup shortening

  • 3 cups white sugar

  • 5 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 6 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • zest from one lemon

  • Optional Toppings
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

  • 1 cup powdered sugar + 3 tablespoons lemon juice, for the glaze


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease a 10-inch bundt pan. Dust it with flour and set aside.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, beat the butter, shortening, and sugar until well blended, pale, and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  • Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk. Stir with a spatula gently until just combined.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and zest, then pour the batter into the pan and bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, loosen the cake from the edge and turn it onto a wire rack to cool.
  • To make the glaze, mix the powdered sugar with the lemon juice until smooth. Adjust the consistency as needed with more sugar or lemon.
  • When the cake is cool, dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with the glaze, if using. Then slice, serve, and enjoy!

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17 thoughts on “1920’s Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake”

    • Hi Kathy, you can certainly give it a shot! Since limoncello is less acidic and more flavorful, you could start by substituting it in a 1:1 ratio for the lemon juice.

    • Hi Anita! I’ve added the optional glaze to the recipe. It’s just a simple mix of lemon juice and powdered sugar. Mix them in a bowl and adjust as you like until it’s pourable. Drizzle it over the cake when it’s cold and enjoy!

  1. I baked this cake today, and it is absolutely delicious. The crumb, the color, moistness, and that crunch around the edge. I baked my cake for 63 min, and it could have still used about 4-5 more. Also, not sure why all the pics you posted have a glaze on the cake, yet you don’t mention it in the recipe. I would have also posted the plain with confectionary sugar since that is what you are talking about in the post. Otherwise, I am looking forward to baking again.

    • Hi Kimberly! So glad you liked the recipe. You’re so right about the missing glaze. Thanks for catching that. I’ve added it an an optional topping because the cake doesn’t really need it.
      Thanks again!

  2. Second time I’ve made – just took out of oven, carrying it to Virginia. I live in SC. Can’t wait to dig in. First bake, I carried to friend who had death in family. So I really don’t know how it turned out but the batter sure tasted good. lol
    Thanks for sharing

    • Hi Mindy. So glad you like the recipe.
      How kind of you to bring a cake to your friend. I’m sure she was very grateful for the gesture.
      Hopefully you enjoyed it, too, the second time around!

    • Hi Paulette! We don’t have an official recipe for a strawberry jam cake.

      But I sometimes make a shortcut version with a box of white cake mix (plus the ingredients listed on the box) and 1 cup of strawberry jam. Just make the cake per the box instructions and add the jam. I fill it with jam, too, and top it with buttercream. For the buttercream, I mix 1 cup of butter with 1 cup of jam, then mix in 4-5 cups of powdered sugar until it’s smooth and spreadable.

      Hope this helps!

    • Hi Melanie!
      Yes, you can swap oranges if you prefer.
      But since they’re usually sweeter, I suggest cutting the sugar down by about 1/2 cup 🙂


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