Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Lemon poppyseed loaf

The perfect cake for a springtime brunch.

Lemons and poppyseed = great loaf

The classic combination of poppyseeds + lemons creates a tangy, crunchy result.

I’ve had this recipe triple-starred in my “favourites” file for a while now. Every time I make it, not only is it consistently delicious, but I am always surprised that a healthier recipe variation can be so perfect. Sometimes you can tell with “light” recipes–but this one, you REALLY can’t. Really and truly. The delectable combination of tart lemons and crunchy poppy seeds bakes into a simple, pleasantly dense pound cake that still has a fluffy bite and puckery glaze.

Lemon Loaf

The batter is hard to resist but try to--that means more cake for later.

And really, this cake is just begging to be made for a Mother’s Day brunch. A tall stack of pancakes, a large bowl of strawberries, some thick Greek yogurt, fresh flowers on the table and this beautiful little shiny loaf to have with coffee–I think that sounds pretty good. In fact, I think it sounds fairly spectacular.

(As a side bonus, here’s a link to the Flight of the Concord’s Sugar Lumps, that I reference in the recipe below. If you haven’t watched this piece of hilariousness, you must watch it now. And if you already have–well, it’s always good for a repeat viewing.)

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: [url href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/lemon-poppy-seed-pound-cake-10000000223022/" target="_blank"]Cooking Light[/url]
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
Serves: 12
This tender cake blends the tartness of lemon with the sweetness of sugar–and is all offset by the crunch of poppy seeds. A delicious dessert for a springtime brunch.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • For glaze:
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • To prepare pan:
  • 1 tsp flour
  • cooking spray
  1. Prepare a loaf pan by misting it lightly with cooking spray and dusting with 1 tsp of flour. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon zest and vanilla, beating in well.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds.
  4. In three instalments, alternate adding in your flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.
  5. Pour the batter in your loaf pan and bake in the centre of your preheated oven for about an hour. Test with a toothpick in the middle–if it comes out clean, it will be done.
  6. Let your cake cool in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes while you prepare the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar with the lemon juice. Make sure it is mixed very well–sugar lumps (though a great Flight of the Concords song–see above!) don’t make for a pretty glaze.
  7. Run a butter knife around the cake in the pan and lift out, placing on rack. While cake is still warm, place the rack over a sheet of wax paper and poke some holes on the top. Brush on the glaze.
  8. Let it cool completely and then ENJOY.
  9. This cake stores well at room temperature in an airtight container.
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 219 Fat: 6g Carbohydrates: 38g Fiber: 0g Protein: 3g

Enjoy this light and luscious cake any time of day!


  1. Are you reading my mind, Z? I LOVE Lemon Poppy Seed Cake! It’s one of my favorites. I will definitely be making this for myself on Sunday.

    • Ha! I’m glad I got the right recipe at the right time for you! But…..on Mother’s Day you should have someone make it for you…. ;)

  2. Wow, this looks amazing! And your pictures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  3. May I know, how many cup is the buttermilk? Cant wait to try this heavenly looking cake :D thankssss

    • Desita, thank you so much for pointing out that error! I’ve updated the recipe with the correct amount, it’s 3/4 cup.

  4. I was just wondering if you can omit the lemon zest if you’re in a pinch?

    • Erin, I do think the zest is a key ingredient to give it that distinctive lemony flavour. You could always try it out and see how it goes–it will still be a tasty cake, no doubt, just without the lemon kick. If you have oranges around, I think orange zest would be really good too.

  5. I would like to thank you for posting this recipe. It is absolutly delicious! The best lemon poppy seed cake I have ever tried. My parents love this cake and comment on how it tastes ” store bought”. I am recommending this recipe to eveyone! Once again, thank you.

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