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Lemony-Poppy Seed Cake + Great Celebratory Spring Recipes

Posted by Peggy on May 21, 2016

Recipe:Lemony-Poppy Seed Pound Cake


  • 3/4 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 6 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups unbleached cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons best-quality vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups whole milk buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 to 1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons finely chopped lemon zest
  • ¼ cup poppy seeds
  • Powdered sugar for dusting cake
  • Fresh seasonal flowers, mint leaves or berries, optional garnish
  • Recipe for Lemon Drizzle (yield: ¾ cup)
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust rack to middle of oven.
  2. In a large bowl fitted with an electric mixer, beat the butter until very light. At medium speed, slowly beat in the sugar and then add the eggs, two at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to insure all ingredients are incorporated into the mixture. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the vanilla, buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice,  1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest and the poppy seeds. (Clare prefers the cake extra lemony so uses 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of lemon zest.)
  5. Alternately add the wet and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat to combine after each addition but do not overmix the batter, which would toughen the cake.
  6. Thoroughly grease a 6-cup bundt or fluted tube pan.
  7. Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth the surface with a spatula.
  8. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  9. Meanwhile, while the cake is baking, make the lemon drizzle: In a small pan over low heat, stir the sugar and lemon juice together until the sugar has dissolved.
  10. When cake is baked, remove from oven, With a wire tester, skewer or the sharp tip of a cooking thermometer, poke the cake completely through in 16-20 places so that the drizzle can soak through the cake. Pour half of the drizzle onto cake. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Loosen the sides of the cake with a spatula and invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely. Pour remaining drizzle over cake and let rest 30 minutes.
  11. At this point, the cake may be served warm or at room temperature. Before serving, place the on a cake pedestal or large dish, dust with powdered sugar, and fill the hole in the center with fresh flowers or berries, if desired.

Active time: 35 minutes

Baking time: 55-65 minutes

Rest time: 45 minutes

Number of servings (yield): # 18-22

Special Nonfood Items Needed: Bundt or fluted tube pan (apr. 9-inch circumference by 3-inch depth; the pan should accommodate 6-7 cups of water with an additional 1/2-to-1-inch space at the top for the cake to rise.)  Electric mixer; wire rack; skewer-type instrument for poking tiny holes in cake.

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