Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
This Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake is moist, perfectly sweet, and lemony! It’s completely homemade and is topped with the most delicious lemon glaze.
Are you more of a fan of lemon or chocolate desserts? When it comes to the two, I really have a hard time choosing. On one hand I love love love chocolate, but on the other hand I’m a total lemon lover too.
But since I may have gone a little crazy on the chocolate recipes lately and it’s been sooo cold, today I’m bringing you this bright and fresh lemon poppy seed bundt cake!
This recipe is kind of a mix of my vanilla cupcakes (doubled) and this lemon bundt cake from Martha Stewart. The first time I made the cake, I used all butter and it was just okay. The cake came out a little dense, which I expected, and the next day it wasn’t quite as moist.
I decided to adjust the recipe a bit and used a mix of butter and oil and the end result was so much better! The cake is still buttery, but the 1/4 cup of oil helps to make the cake just a bit lighter and helps to keep it moist.
The lemon glaze really adds to the cake though and adds a little extra pop of lemon flavor, so don’t leave it off! It’s just two easy ingredients and you can mix it up in no time.
This lemon poppy seed cake is made completely from scratch with ingredients you likely have in your pantry already. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:
- All-purpose flour: Spoon and level the flour when measuring it, otherwise you might wind up with a dense cake.
- Baking powder & baking soda: Help the cake rise in the oven.
- Salt: Balances out the sweetness in the batter.
- Poppy seeds: Can be omitted if you don’t have any on hand. You’d be left with a marvelous lemon bundt cake!
- Butter: Is beat with the sugar for several minutes to incorporate more air into the batter. This makes the cake fluffier.
- Granulated sugar: Sweetens the batter without adding any flavor.
- Eggs: Must be room temperature before being added to the batter.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract will give the strongest flavor.
- Lemon juice and zest: I highly recommend using freshly squeezed lemon juice in this recipe.
- Oil: Canola or vegetable oil works best.
- Sour cream: If you don’t have sour cream on hand, plain Greek yogurt should work as well.
- Confectioners’ sugar: Is mixed with lemon juice to make the lemon glaze for the cake.
How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
First, you’ll need to beat together the butter and the sugar for several minutes until light and fluffy. Do not skip this step; this is what ensures that the cake turns out soft. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time, followed by the remaining wet ingredients.
Stir the sour cream and dry ingredients into the butter mixture, alternating between the two so that everything is incorporated evenly. Turn the batter into a 10-cup bundt pan that’s been greased and floured.
Bake the lemon poppy seed cake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Once the cake has cooled completely, top with lemon glaze.
Do I Have to Use a Bundt Pan?
No, you can also make this recipe in two 8×8-inch cake pans. Don’t try to cram the batter into one regular cake pan, as it will overflow in the oven.
- The lemon bundt cake itself isn’t overpowering with lemon flavor, but it still has a nice lemon flavor to it. If you’re a total lemon fanatic (like me!), then you can definitely add a bit more lemon zest to the batter. Don’t add more lemon juice as that could affect the texture of the cake.
- If you notice the top of the cake is started to brown in the oven, loosely tent the pan with foil to prevent further browning.
- Before glazing the cake, place a piece of foil underneath the wire rack it’s cooling on. This will catch any glaze that drips off and will save you from having to clean up a mess.
More Lemon Dessert Recipes!
- Glazed Lemon Bread
- Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
- Blueberry Lemon Bread with Lemon Glaze
- Classic Lemon Bars
- Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake:
- 2 and 3/4 cups (345 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter (softened)
- 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs (room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup (240 grams) sour cream
- 1 cup (120 grams) confectioners sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) fresh lemon juice (or as needed to thin out the glaze)
To make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Mix in the eggs one a time, then mix in the vanilla. Slowly mix in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and oil.
- Alternate mixing the flour mixture and the sour cream into the wet ingredients, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.
- Spray a 10-inch bundt pan well with non stick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and evenly spread it around.
- Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil if needed for the last 5-10 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then invert the cake onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
To make the glaze:
- Add the powdered sugar and lemon juice to a small mixing bowl and mix until fully combined.
- One the cake has cooled, place a piece of foil under the wire rack (to catch any glaze that falls off). Pour the lemon glaze evenly over the cake and allow to harden for about 10-15 minutes.
- Slice and enjoy!
This cake is delicious. We used only 1 cup of sugar as we thought that two cups were just too much and that was perfect. Also, we did not have sour cream so we used greek yogur instead. Perfect!
Very delicious cake! Next time I will only put in 1 cup of sugar as it was super sweet! Thank you for sharing a yummy recipe!
This is a wonderful recipe. I’ve made this Bundt three times. Everyone I’ve shared it with has enjoyed it as much as I have. And since a LOVE glaze I doubled it. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
I made this recipe this weekend and I have to say, it came out wonderful! I used 1 1/2 cups of sugar and plain greek yogurt (Fage 5%) and it was a huge hit! I was worried because I made it for my grandparents who do not like cakes that are too sweet. Everyone loved it! I printed this recipe out and threw away my previous recipe I had found. Highly recommend this one. Thank you for sharing! I will browse your other recipes for new creations!
So happy to hear that everyone enjoyed the cake, Cassandra!
I made the cake and put it in loaf pans. to my disappointment all 3 loaves sank in the middle.
So sorry you had trouble with the recipe, JoAnn. Did you happen to make any adjustments to the recipe and were the cakes fully cooked in the middle when you removed them from the oven?
Danille, thank you for responding so quickly. The cake tasted GREAT. it was fully cooked through the middle of the cake. Do you think the baking powder should have been more than just a teaspoon.
But like I said the cake tasted great but not pretty to look at.
That’s so strange! It wouldn’t need more baking soda or powder, the ratios are enough for the amount of flour. I honestly haven’t baked this recipe in a loaf pan, just a bundt pan, but it’s never sunk. I do have a lemon bread recipe here that may be a better option for a loaf pan. You can add 2-3 tablespoons of poppy seeds to that recipe.
Danille, I will give that a try. I’ll let you know
Hello! I would like to make this using a mini bundt pan – would you recommend any adjustments to the recipe and/or cooking temp/time? Thank you!
Hi, Lizzie! Are you wanting to bake several mini bundt cakes? If so, you will want to reduce the baking time. The baking time will just depend on the size of your pans.
I’ve never baked a cake from scratch before, & I made the lemon poppy seed bundt cake for someone special. It was easier than I thought, turned out PERFECT, even though I had no sour cream, but substituted a lemon noosa Greek yogurt, and it worked really well, adding a little extra lemon sweetness.
Hi! Can I use a regular 8×8 pan for this recipe?
This would be too much batter for an 8×8 pan. I recommend either cutting the recipe in half or dividing the full recipe between two 8×8 pans.
To be honest, this is the first cake I’ve ever made in my life, and yet, it turned out perfectly! Such a delicious and relatively simple recipe!
I cut the sugar to 1 cup after reading some reviews, and that was just perfect, as the glaze provided plenty of extra sweetness. We love lemon flavor so used two heaping tablespoons of lemon zest. Greased and floured the bundt pan and had no trouble removing the cake. Absolutely recommend to anyone who loves these flavors!
I love lemon poppyseed cupcakes. What changes would I need to make to this (ingredients, temperature, bake time?) to make cupcakes instead of Bundt cake (which by the way, I’ve made several times and love it..that’s why want to try cupcakes..thx
Hi Lorraine! For cupcakes, I would line a couple of muffin pans with liners and only fill them about 2/3 of the way full. The temperature would remain the same, I would guess the baking time to be somewhere around 15 to 20 minutes. The full recipe will probably make 24 to 30 cupcakes, but you can cut it in half to make less.
I’ll give it a try. Thanx
Danielle you nailed this one. Made per the recipe and it did not disappoint. Super lemony, moist – screams SPRING! Exactly what I was searching for. Thank you.
This cake is so lovely!! I messed up and overcooked it and it was STILL super moist and delicious. I didn’t have enough lemon zest/juice so I did a mix of lemon/like and it was nice. Love me a forgiving recipe! I decreased the sugar based on the comments, but next time I’ll add extra glaze. We are sugary people lol. I’m going to try making it in round pans and see how it goes! Thanks for a wonderful and FREE recipe!!
My son does not like lemon. Can I make it without? Do I have to adjust the liquid content?
You can omit the lemon zest and replace the lemon juice with an equal amount of milk. Hope that helps!
Mine came out oily…should I just leave the oil out next time?
Hi, Debi! That would be fine, but I would suggest replacing it with 1/4 cup of butter and using 1 cup of butter total.
I’m sorry but we were really disappointed in this cake. It was quite dense and not moist. I followed the recipe to the letter except I reduced the sugar to 1.5 cups instead of 2 as per other reviewers suggestions, but that shouldn’t have affected the moisture. The only thing I can think of is the baking time. I checked for browning after 30 minutes in case I need to cover with foil then back in for 15 minutes, so 45 mins total. I’m thinking maybe it was too long. Certainly 55 mins would have been. It needs more zest and juice for our lemony taste. I made it for my son’s birthday and fortunately I had ice cream to serve it with.
I made this recipe exactly as printed. The batter overflowed from the pan and sank! The batter tasted so good. I put it in a pretty decorative bundt pan . I don’t know what I could have done wrong.
So sorry that happened to you! I typically use a 10-inch bundt pan that has a 12-cup capacity. Was your smaller? If you make it again, you could put less batter in the pan and then use any extra batter to make cupcakes/muffins.
This recipe was moist, not too sweet at all, and soft. I was extremely happy with outcome after trying to many recipes. I always top mine with seedless raspberry preserves and instead of a lemom glaze, I make an almond one. You can see a Bundt style picture of this cake on my page. Facebook.com/mytinycakeshopco
Danielle, may I say just how perfect this cake truly is! The crumb is tender, light and moist. A keeper! Thank you 🙂
What if you don’t have sour cream or yogurt…is there something else you can substitute with? TIA
You can use an equal amount of buttermilk, but you may need to increase the baking time slightly.
Have made this recipe before and loved it although it was a little dense. I am not sure if I over mixed the batter. I was wondering if cake flour would work in place of the all purpose?
Thanks so much!
Hi, Erin! Yes, you can use cake flour! I’d recommend using an extra 4 to 5 tablespoons of cake flour, since it’s lighter than all purpose flour. Keep in mind that cakes made with cake flour will typically rise more, so you may need to use a slightly bigger bundt pan or use a little of the extra batter to make cupcakes.
Well I read all of the positive and negative reviews but decided to try the recipe anyway… I followed the recipe to a T and it was very pretty. However, just like some of the negative reviews, I also found this cake to be very dry. I actually added melted butter over the sliced pieces which did help but overall I wasn’t too happy with this. I think the best lemon cake recipes have some kind of Apricot juice to help the moisture.
This is just the cake I’ve been looking for. I made it exactly according to your directions. We just cut it and had our first piece and I will definitely make it again. I do need a new Bundt pan, however, as I lost about 1/4 of the cake in the turn. Anyone have recommendations?
Glad you enjoyed the cake, Dawn! You do need to very generously spray your bundt pan or the cake can stick to it.
I wish I could post a picture because this Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake turned out beautifully! It popped right out of the pan without leaving any bits behind. I followed the recipe directions exactly, without any substitutions, and used a non-stick 9.5×3.4″ Wilton bundt pan coated with crisco and dusted with flour. It baked for an. hour at 350 until a toothpick came out clean. The cake was perfectly moist and tender, but the crust was slightly more brown than I would’ve preferred. Next time it might work better to drop the temperature down to 325 for a longer baking period to keep the crust from over browning. The glaze was delicious, and my daughter and I LOVED every bite! It was definitely worth the work and time in the kitchen!
My husband and I LOVED this recipe I made for the 1st time yesterday. For our tastes it was perfectly lemony. I always check the done-ness of a new recipe beginning about 10 minutes before suggested finished baking time. Toothpick came out clean at 35 minutes. I write that time down on the recipe card as a note, as well as what rack(s) they were placed on as that can cause dryness too. I made this recipe in 2 Nordicware Harvest Bounty cake loaf pans and they were beautiful and not dry. We described them as “luscious”. It’s a keeper recipe. Wish there was a place for me to post a photo!
I love this cake. Last time I made it, it crashed… and was inedible (gummy). BUT I cut it in small rectangles, placed them back in the oven 150° C for about 45min
How long do i bake it if using 8 by 8 pans?
I’m not sure on the baking time, but I would guess 30 to 35 minutes.
Delicious recipe! I added 4 T poppy seeds and lowered the lemon juice to 1/4 c. Cake came out moist and delicious.
I made this cake and my husband said it was delicious! He is not GF and is not a fan of GF baked goods. I only used 1 cup of sugar as another baker suggested.