Rich, moist, and filled with the ultimate lemon lime combo, this old fashioned 7 UP Cake Recipe is the perfect dessert to welcome citrus season!!
And just like that, the holidays are over. Which can leave you either two ways. Sad, yearning for the simpler days of endless egg nog, cookies, and Christmas movies. Or hopeful for the new year ahead. For me, I choose to focus on the latter. Because with the new year comes citrus season and there is nothing better than that tart, zesty lemon lime flavor. Case in point, this 7 UP cake recipe. Its the perfect cake for the start of the new year. Sweet, buttery, and filled with yep, you guessed it 7 UP. I know, it sounds a little strange. But please believe me when I say one bite will have you devouring your first slice and happily reaching for your second.
What is 7 UP pound cake?
This 7 UP cake recipe is an old fashioned Southern favorite. It also happens to be one of the first pound cakes I ever learned to make. 7 up cake is essentially a lemon cake. Its decadent and rich from the ample amount of butter and sugar in the batter. That lemon lime combo is taken to the extreme with the addition of lemon juice and lemon zest. You get that crusty exterior, which I could eat all day. And that famous dense (not dry), moist, tight crumb that pound cakes are known for.
- Unsalted Butter - This is a butter cake all the way!! The butter not only provides the fat but gives us that richness we know and love.
- Eggs - Eggs not only provide moisture in our cake but also add stability.
- Lemon juice / Lemon zest - I like using both lemon juice and lemon zest in this recipe. When zesting your lemons, make sure to only zest until you see a hint of white. If not, you will end up with the bitter white pith in your cake. And trust me, you don't want that!!
- 7 UP - The star of the show!! Make sure you use an unopened bottle of 7 UP. If not, you run the risk of your soda being flat which would ultimately lead to not enough carbonation or rise to your cake. Also, I have never used any other brand when it comes to this cake, only 7 UP. Because I am not sure you would have the same results, I would not recommend switching out the soda with any other brand.
Tips for making a moist 7 UP cake
- Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. This includes the butter and the eggs. In order to make sure our ingredients come together and create a harmonious emulsion they need to be at room temperature. If your ingredients are not at room temperature, your batter will begin to curdle. If you forget to take out your eggs ahead of time, no worries. Just put them in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes before adding them to your butter.
- Cream your butter!! Just when you think you are done, cream again. You want your batter to be pale, almost white in color. It is imperative to cream your butter for at least 6-7 minutes to add air to the batter. The more air in your batter, the better your cake rises.
- Sift your flour. I know, sifting flour is a pain but trust me its worth it. Sifting aerates the flour and makes it lighter resulting in a lighter, fluffier cake!!
- Make sure you scrape your bowl. In order to ensure every morsel of butter is mixed properly it is important to scrape your bowl several times during mixing. I like to scrape my bowl while creaming the butter, after adding the eggs, and at the end after the addition of all the ingredients. Not only does this make sure there is nothing left at this bottom on the bowl but also ensure you don't get those unsightly holes in your cake.
What does soda do to cake?
So I know you may be reading the ingredient list and thinking to yourself, "hey, where's the leavening agent?" Well I am here to tell you that his cake does not need one!! Why? because the 7 UP is a triple threat: it serves as the leavening agent, the liquid for the cake, and it amps up that lemon lime flavor combo. The carbonation from the soda creates that foam and fizz to help the cake rise.
Using soda as an ingredient in the South is nothing new. Baking with soda originates all the way back to the Great Depression. Due to the lack of baking staples and rationing, cooks had to look for alternative ways to sweeten and leaven their baked goods. Think of 7 UP taking the role of buttermilk in baked goods. The acidity helps to tenderize the strands of gluten creating a softer crumb and also helps the cake to rise.
This glaze is fairly simple. I like to not only utilize the 7 UP in the cake batter but also in the glaze to ensure you get that lemon lime flavor in every bite. To make sure my powered sugar is clump free, I like to sift it first before adding any other ingredients. Depending on how thick or thin you want your glaze, you might want to add more or less of the 7 UP to achieve the consistency you love. If you prefer a lemon glaze only, feel free to omit the 7 UP and increase the amount of lemon juice until you reach your desired consistency.
Cake serving options
This cake already has an amazing glaze, but if you wish, you could fore go the glaze all together and this cake would still taste amazing.
You could also serve this cake with a dusting of powered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream and fresh fruit, or alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The options are endless and all delicious. However my favorite will always be that amazing glaze.
How to store the cake
This cake will stay fresh for up to 4 days at room temperature. Store cake in a air tight container or wrap cake tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. You could also wrap your cake in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to three months.
Get a head start on citrus season and make this cake!! Epically moist, rich, and with a tart glaze to match, this 7 UP cake recipe is the perfect Southern comfort.
Craving some more soda loving cakes? Don't forget to check out my Old Fashioned Coca Cola Cake!!
7up Cake Recipe
- 1 ½ cup unsalted butter 3 sticks, room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 5 eggs large, room temperature
- 3 cups flour sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup 7 UP
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons 7 UP
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously spray a bundt pan with baking spray with flour, set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, sift together flour and kosher salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and beat for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add sugar to butter and mix until light and fluffy. About 6-7 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
- Turn mixer to lowest speed and add flour to butter mixture in three additions. Mix each addition until just combined, scraping down the sides as necessary. Be careful not to overmix.
- Lastly, add lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and 7 UP. Mix until just combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 1 hour to and 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let cake cool in budnt pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert and remove from pan. Let cake cool completely on a wire rack.
For the glaze
- In a medium bowl, sift powdered sugar. Add lemon juice, 7 UP, and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Pour glaze over cooled cake.