Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

This glazed lemon poppy seed cake is a super moist, intensely lemony cake, with a brilliant texture from the poppy seeds.

For whatever reason, I always feel the need to explain the impetus behind each recipe I develop and post on this here blog. And this glazed lemon poppy seed cake is no exception. However, I am not going to lie, the story is not super sexy. Essentially, I was at a passover seder back in April and during a conversation with friends about favorite baked goods it became abundantly clear that folks just love a lemon poppy seed cake.
Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cake | Jessie Sheehan Bakes

Not everyone agreed on the form the cake should take (there were two camps: the muffin camp and the bundt cake camp), but all agreed they wanted me to develop a recipe for one and, ideally, to develop it quickly. Well, I failed at the “quickly” request, but am happy to report a recipe for a super moist, intensely lemon-y cake, with brilliant texture from the poppy seeds, has indeed been developed and it is a winner.Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cake | Jessie Sheehan Bakes

I used a lemon cake recipe from my archives as a jumping off point, making sure to include lots of lemon zest and juice, plus a bit of extract to insure the lemon flavor truly popped, as well as buttermilk for tang, and a yolk for moisture. My first few attempts were of the muffin variety, but it was my husband who suggested a loaf might be the perfect vehicle for this lemon poppy seed yumminess. And, you know, he was right (which, honestly happens more frequently than I’d like to admit). In short, if you’re a lemon cake lover, peeps, and I hope you are, you can’t go wrong with this one.

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5 from 1 vote

glazed lemon poppy seed loaf

This glazed lemon poppy seed cake is a super moist, intensely lemony cake, with a brilliant texture from the poppy seeds.
Recipe Author Jessie Sheehan
Servings 8


for the cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 generous Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 yolk
  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

for the lemon glaze

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp buttermilk


to make the cake

  • preheat the oven to 350 degrees. spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. line it with a strip of parchment paper that covers the pan's bottom, and goes up the two shortest sides, and spray again. set aside.
  • in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds and set aside.
  • in a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and the zest and using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until fully incorporated. add the extracts and oil and whisk. add the egg and yolk, one at a time, whisking between each addition. add the juice and whisk to incorporate; and then the buttermilk and whisk to incorporate – don’t be afraid to whisk relatively vigorously throughout all of this.
  • add the dry ingredients all at once, and using a rubber spatula, very gently incorporate the dry into the wet.
  • transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, checking after 45 or so (just in case your oven is running hot), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs.

to make the glaze

  • meanwhile, as the cake bakes make the glaze – place the sifted confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl along with the lemon juice and the buttermilk. whisk vigorously until smooth. set aside.

to assemble the cake

  • set the pan on a wire rack and let the cake cool until you are able to touch the pan with your bare hands. invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely. poke the top of the cooled cake with a toothpick, and gently pour the glaze over the cake and let cool until the glaze is set.
  • the cake is super moist and will keep tightly covered at room temp for 3 to 5 days and this cake is one of those that tastes even better on day two . . .

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cake | Jessie Sheehan Bakes


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2 replies on “Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cake”

5 stars
This cake is marvelous and it’s true – folks do just love a lemon poppyseed cake. I’ve made it twice now and got lots of compliments. I’m sure there are different levels of potency in lemon extracts: I used Nielson Massey and thought my first bake was a shade on the side of overpowering (though no one was complaining). The second bake, I made the second tsp quite scant and it’s perfect. This is a great make ahead cake – I made it a full 24hrs before slicing into it.

yay!! so happy you were pleased and perhaps i should consider giving a range of extract amounts just in case . . . thank you for that note.

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