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!
Huge fan of lemon poppyseed anything! Except maybe a lemon poppyseed sandwich…that doesn’t sound great. Unless it was a PB&J sandwich with lemon poppyseed bread. Hmm….
Ohh lemon poppy seed bread sounds really good!
I used this recipe for a cooking competition and won first place! I’ll be sure to try more of your recipes.
So glad to hear that, Alex!
Lemon is so my favorite! We love it so much it was our wedding cake! This is just beautiful Danielle!
It was mine too! Love that, Annie 🙂
What a gorgeous cake for spring!! I’m usually a chocolate girl through and through, but I can find the place in my heart for a good lemon cake – especially when it has poppy seeds! This looks super delicious, Danielle!
I definitely have lemon and chocolate phases 🙂 This looks amazing!
I love chocolate, but citrus is right up there with it! This cake looks so bright and delicious, and I love the poppyseeds!
I feel like I could never pick between lemon and chocolate…they both serve totally different delicious purposes 😉 This cake looks SO good, I could really go for a slice with my cup of coffee right now!
I feel the exact same way, sometimes I just choose both 😉 Thanks, Denise!
I love desserts with citrus! The lemon cake is always great with poppy seeds, I love that combo! Your cake has perfect texture, looks amazing!
Thank you, Melanie!
Love anything citrus. Love the addition of poppy seeds. And absolutely loving this gorgeous and droolicious bundt cake!
I love both chocolate and lemon desserts! This bundt cake is gorgeous, Danielle!
I love your lemon and poppy seeds bundt cake – in fact the whole family loves it and it’s quickly becoming a kids parties favourite (it serves a lot of people :-)). I’ve done it twice and the texture is just perfect.
It tends to rise a bit and get rounded on top, however, which means it doesn’t sit flat on the plate like yours on your photos, which is spoils a bit the presentation. Have you got any tricks to make it real flat on top? I guess I could cut it but I’m wondering if I can do something during the baking phase rather than afterwards.
Thanks for your advice!
Hi, Rozenn! I’m so happy to hear your family loves this recipe! It’s a little hard to tell in the pictures, but my cakes always round a bit as well on the top and don’t sit completely flat. The best thing I can suggest is to just cut the bottom a little to even it out like you mentioned.
Good to know, Danielle, thank you so much for your reply!
I had that problem with bunt cakes also…..I find that if you tap the cake on the counter a couple times before baking, it makes the batter center out in the pan and makes it relatively flat when finished baking! Hope that helps you!!
I’ve made this bundt with my sister and it was a huge succes 🙂
I’m wondering, can I use this recpie to make muffins as well? Does it merely need adjusting in oventime for instance, or do I need to adjust something in the quantities too?
Thanks in advance!
So glad to hear that, Lynn! I haven’t tried this recipe in a muffin pan yet, but I think it would work. It would likely make quite a few muffins, maybe about 24? I’m unsure of the baking time, but it should be about 15-25 minutes. Hope that helps! I’d love to hear how they turn out if you try it in a muffin pan too!
I subbed the canola/vegetable oil for coconut oil and the sour cream for plain greek yogurt. Much healthier and still tasted great!
So glad to hear that your substitutions worked great and that you enjoyed the bundt cake, Sara!
Mine looked great for most of the cooking. Checked it at 45 minutes and it wasn’t done and it had COMPLETELY sunk in the middle. I’m letting it finish cooking and see how it tastes. not holding my breath though lol
Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that! I’ve made this several times and never had it fall. Have you test your baking soda/powder to make sure they’re still fresh? I hope it at least turned out okay to eat.
Yes, I used new stiff I just bought. It was probably my fault. I added a bit extra lemon juice in the batter and I think that’s what caused it to rise fast then fall. It’s really dense but it tastes fine. Think I’m going to stick to cookies, not as easy to mess up lol.
That could be what caused it, but it’s so hard to say. I always make sure not to overmix the ingredients together too because it can incorporate more air into the batter and cause it to fall. I’m glad it tasted fine though!
I am such a big fan of yours and I love how you make new recipes so other people can taste the citrus and chocolate if you mixed them in a bunt cake, muffins, much more.
Thank you, Kennedy!
It looks beautiful! Will be making it for my Mother-in-law’s 80th birthday-can hardly wait!
I love a strong lemon flavour and was wondering if you could substitute lemon extract for the vanilla.
Thank you, Denise! That would be fine to use lemon extract in place of the vanilla extract. Or you could add more lemon zest to increase the lemon flavor too. Hope that helps!
Delicious and amazing! I would probably reduce the sugar amount next time to 1.5 cups as i did 1.75 cups of sugar and it was plenty sweet! Plus the additional powdered sugar icing…LOTS of sugar =) but the best lemon poppyseed cake I’ve had in a long time. Definitely a keeper of a recipe!!
So glad you liked the cake, Gina! It should be fine to reduce the sugar down to 1.5 cups too 🙂
If I want a more lemon-y taste , so if I add more lemon juice do I need to add more flour?
Hi, Sara! I would avoid adding more lemon juice, since it may alter the finished product of the cake. You could add more lemon zest and even a little lemon extract if you want though and that should help.
Made it for my daughter’s birthday today. She’s a 4th of July baby. It was delicious!! Moist, lemmony, (is that a word?) and a new family favorite. I also was wondering about using coconut oil and I only had Greek plain yogurt, but that question was answered in the comments. It turned out as I’d hoped and my daughter loved it and that’s all that matters. Thank you Danielle for sharing! Looking forward to trying your other recipes.
So glad to hear that the cake turned out great and that your daughter loved it, Debi. I’d love to hear if you try any other recipes!
Hi Danielle. I was wondering how this cake would freeze if I made in advance ( company coming and not much time) and then glazed after unthawing?
Hi, Cindy! This cake freezes really well. You can just thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, then let it come to room temperature on the counter and add the glaze. Hope that helps!
Hi Danielle! The cake turned out beautifully! Everyone enjoyed it. I am so happy with this recipe! It is light and rich with flavor. I used 3 tbsp of lemon zest and 1/2 cup of lemon juice for the cake and it was perfect! I doubled the amount of icing (2 cups of sugar + juice of 1 whole lemon). Thanks Danielle!
So glad everyone liked the cake, Janae!
I enjoy the flavor of the cake, although it was significantly uncooked in the center. I covered with foil and continued to bake and even after an additional 20 minutes, the center was still uncooked. We are trying to figure out how to repurpose the cake, perhaps slicing portions and rebaking into crisps or something. It’s unfortunate to have utilized so many ingredients and have to waste.
Sorry to hear that, Maria. Did you use a bundt pan? And have you checked your oven temperature with an oven thermometer?
I was hoping to try this recipe in the near future, however I do not have a bundt pan. Have you ever tried this recipe in 8 inch pans to bake a cake? thanks in advance 🙂
I haven’t tried it, but I think it would be okay. It would probably make two cake layers. You could also use my lemon blueberry cupcake recipe and just leave out the blueberries: https://www.livewellbakeoften.com/lemon-blueberry-cupcakes-with-lemon-cream-cheese-frosting/. That would work fine to bake in an 8-inch cake pan too.
My daughter and I made this on Sunday. It was easy to make, and delicious! Thanks for the recipe, we will definitely make it again!
Hi! I quite enjoyed this recipe and will be using it again for sure. In classic fashion I made a couple adjustments though and am wondering if it contributed to a bit of a drier/crumblier cake, and how you’d advise to fix that:
Used Margarine instead of Butter
Coconut Oil instead of Canola Oil
0%MF Greek Yogurt instead of sour cream
Taste and it all came out great, but I’m wondering about the crumbliness and if there’s some baker science I’m missing here or if it’s just a normal of these cakes?
Alternative glaze suggestion: I did a clear glaze w/ lemon juice, zest, and white sugar. The zest candied and made a really decorative topping!
Thanks for the advice and recipe!
The coconut oil and Greek yogurt shouldn’t have affected anything. The cake shouldn’t be crumbly though, it may be because of the margarine. Margarine has more water and not as much fat, so it could have caused that. Glad you liked the taste though!
This cake is superb!
I veganized it with Earth Balance butter, 4 Ener-G eggs, and vegan sour cream (if anyone vegan’s reading!).
My boyfriend was wanting lemon poppyseed cake and I’m so glad I found this recipe! Thaanks 🙂
So glad the recipe worked out great for you, Rachel!
Hello will this recipe work for cupcakes?
Yes, that would be fine. It would likely make 24-30 cupcakes.
Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made it for my family last night and it was a hit. Super moist and not too lemony. Just perfect. I’ll be looking forward to trying out more of your recipes in the future.
So glad you enjoyed the cake, Mai!
Love this cake!! I had to substitute the sour cream for Vanilla Greek yogurt (staying in place restriction so I couldn’t get to the store) but it turned out perfect, in my opinion. I’m going to make another for my neighbor tomorrow who has been stuck in Guatemala and is expected back (fingers crossed) for 2 weeks. This cake will be an awesome Welcome Home treat for her!!
So glad you enjoyed the cake, Christine!
The bundt turned out great. I subbed out one cup of all-purpose flour and used cake and pastry flour. Also used 1/2 cup sour cream with 1/4 cup heavy cream and increased the lemon juice to 1/2 cup. It turned out fine. The cake had a lovely crumb and was moist. Will make this again and maybe increase the zest.
Hi Danielle We love your poppy seeds cake but each time I bake It is little bit saggy or uncooked in the middle . Turn brown so quickly . Can I cover it with foil starting the beginning . Please advise me as this is our favourite, thanks
Yes, if you want to you can cover it with foil sooner and see if that helps!
Great recipe 🙂 Perfect texture, not too sweet. It didn’t taste as lemony as I would have liked, but I also eyeballed the lemon zest so maybe I just didn’t get the full 2 tbsp in the batter. Next time I’d put a lot more in. I also had to bake it for an extra 10-ish min for it to be done. Those are just tips though, it’s a great recipe!