Ladybird Johnson’s famous lemon pound cake recipe (1966)

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Lady Bird Johnson — born in Texas as Claudia Alta Taylor — was the First Lady of the United States from 1963 to 1969. Her husband was Lyndon B Johnson, the 36th President of the United States. This lemon cake was baked for the 1966 wedding of their daughter, Luci Baines Johnson, for the ceremony held at the White House.
A presidential favorite: Ladybird Johnson’s famous lemon pound cake recipe

Kin to the famous Genoa cake of Italy, and not too different from the old-time pound cake, Mrs Johnson’s Lemon Cake is truly American, luxuriously Texan, with its eight egg yolks and all that butter.

It’s a big, hospitable cake — at least 16 good-sized golden wedges when you bake it as we did, in a 10-inch Bundt pan, large ring mold or an angel food pan.

The crust looks so beautiful, we couldn’t bear to cover it with frosting. But we wouldn’t dare omit the recipe for Mrs Johnson’s lemon icing!

Ladybird Johnson's famous lemon pound cake recipe

Ladybird Johnson’s lemon cake recipe: President Lyndon Johnson’s favorite


3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1-1/4 cups white sugar
8 egg yolks
2-1/2 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (zest)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cream 3/4 cup butter or margarine with 1-1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, beat 8 egg yolks until light and lemon-colored; blend into creamed mixture. Sift together 2-1/2 cups cake flour, 3 tsp. baking powder and 1/4 tsp. salt; resift 3 times. Add the sifted ingredients in thirds, alternating with 3/4 cup milk. Beat the batter thoroughly after each addition. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon. grated lemon rind and 1 teaspoon lemon juice and beat 2 minutes.

Bake in a greased 10-inch Bundt pan (or a large ring mold or an angel-food pan) for 1 hour, or until a straw inserted in the center comes out clean. You may also bake it in 3 greased 9-inch layer pans at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.

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If you like, frost with lemon icing (recipe below).

Serves 16

Lemon icing/glaze ingredients


2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons cream


Combine powdered sugar with butter or margarine. Beat in the juice and grated ring (zest) of 1 lemon. Add 2 tablespoons cream (or a little more) to spreading consistency. Garnish with grated lemon rind, if desired.

>> You might also like this recipe: Triple lemon ripple cake with cream cheese (1982)

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