lemon poppy seed cake with lemon frosting
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5 from 1 vote

Pretty Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

A simple and fresh - perfect for spring - a classic buttermilk lemon cake.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Cake, Dessert
Keyword: brunch
Servings: 12 -24 slices
Author: Trish Cowper | the infinebalance food blog


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup butter milk
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

lemon glaze

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 cups icing sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Zest the lemons, then reserve their juice. Set aside.
  • Prepare bundt or tube pan - spray inside of pan with cooking spray, then dust with a tablespoon or so of white floor, shaking and tilting the pan to ensure it is evenly coated. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds, and salt. Stir with a whisk so that poppy seeds are evenly distributed. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and 2 cups granulated sugar together until well whipped, light coloured and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each egg.
  • Now add the remaining ingredients to the batter as follows: alternating flour and buttermilk, and starting with 1/3 of the flour mixture, add the flour to the eggs and sugar and beat at low speed until just combined, then add 1/2 of the butter milk, beating again until just combined, continue alternating flour and butter milk, ending with flour. Beating gently after each addition. Add lemon zest and juice and again beat gently until just blended.
  • Spoon batter into prepared pan, tapping the pan to remove any air bubbles. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Test with a wooden tooth pick, it should come out of the center of the cake clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan at least 10 minutes on a wire rack before attempting to remove from the pan. Allow cake to completely cool before frosting.

for the frosting:

  • In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons lemon juice with 1-1/2 cups icing sugar with a whisk until smooth and creamy. Glaze should drip from the whisk in long thin strands. Adjust thickness by adding more lemon juice) or more icing sugar. Once cake is completely cool, drizzle glaze over cake.
  • Cake should be frosted the day it is served. Cake can be made up to one day ahead of time. Once cooled, wrap unfrosted cake (remove from pan) with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to frost.


For a buffet or as part of a dessert table, I like to serve this cake in very thin slices - you can easily get 24 from a cake this size.
Cake can be made a day ahead. Do not frost cake and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one day. Frost before serving.
Frosting is meant to be a runny glaze. It should drizzle off your whisk in ribbons. Add more sugar or lemon juice to adjust texture.