Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Zingy lemon poppy seed pound cake bursting with lemony flavor, crunchy poppy seeds, and drizzled with a scrumptious lemon glaze. This melt in your mouth pound cake is the perfect accompaniment for your morning tea. You can even serve a slice of this pound cake with some thick and creamy lemon curd spooned on top for a wonderful dessert. If you are a fan of a zingy lemon pound cake, this recipe is for you! It has two extra doses of lemon flavor. After it is baked a lemon syrup is brushed all over the warm loaf. The syrup soaks into the loaf giving it an intense lemon flavor and helps keep it super moist. But I didn’t stop there! Once the loaf is completely cool a simple lemon glaze is drizzled over the top and sides of the loaf. This incredible pound cake makes the perfect gift for family and friends, but is so delicious, you won’t want to share! Might as well make two loaves! 😉

One Year Ago: Pretzel Bites with Cheese 

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

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For the Pound Cake:

  • 16 (2 sticks) tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour (6 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar (8 3/4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice from 2 medium lemons
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Lemon Syrup:
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar

For the Lemon Glaze:

  • 1 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of one 9 x 5-inch loaf pans; dust with flour, tapping out excess.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, toss 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture and poppy seeds together, set aside.
  4. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter, covered with plastic wrap, at full power until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk melted butter thoroughly to reincorporate any separated milk solids.
  5. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process sugar and zest until combined, about five 1-second pulses. Add lemon juice, eggs, and vanilla; process until combined, about 5 seconds. With machine running, add melted butter through feed tube in steady stream (this should take about 20 seconds). Transfer mixture to large bowl. Sift flour mixture over eggs in three steps, whisking gently after each addition until just combined. Fold poppy seed mixture into batter after flour is incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue to bake until deep golden brown and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack.
  7. While the loaf is cooling, make the lemon syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir together the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat; set aside.
  8. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the warm loaf. Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the lemon syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again. Let the cake cool completely.
  9. To make the lemon glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of the lemon juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable. Add up to another tablespoon of lemon juice if the mixture is too stiff. Pour the lemon glaze over the top of each loaf and let it drip down the sides. Let the lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.

Yields: 1-9×5 pound cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes

Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March 2002

29 Responses to “Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake”

  1. #
    imagesbytdashfield — February 6, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    My diet is once again going to be shot to heck with this! Yummy!!

  2. Pingback: Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf | Sweet Pea's Kitchen

  3. Pingback: Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf | Sweet Pea's Kitchen

  4. #
    Fatimah Jasmin — February 6, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    This is what I’ve been looking for….poppy seed cake and hei thanks for sharing

  5. #
    Keisha — February 6, 2012 @ 11:43 am

    You know, I’m not really a lemon poppy seed kind of gal, but this looks amazing!

  6. #
    Priscilla M — February 6, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

    What a coincidence! I was looking for the recipe for lemon poppy seeds and there you are! Thanks for sharing this. I’m sprinting to the kitchen right away.

  7. #
    Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide — February 6, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

    Looks just wonderful. We love this combo. Adding the icing just makes it that much better.

  8. #
    the Jilb — February 6, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

    This looks great! Can’t wait to try it.

  9. #
    Erin — February 6, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    That looks incredible! No way I would share this.

  10. #
    Seriously Sassy Mama — February 6, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

    I love this cake. It will be one of the first things I eat as my prize for losing ten pounds. Only one piece though:)

  11. #
    Caroline — February 6, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

    Ooooo look at the icing dripping down the bread. That’s just mean, Christina, ha!! I seriously need to make this soon. Lemon poppy seed is one of my favorite breads/cakes.

  12. #
    Ragamuffin Diaries — February 6, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

    Looks delicious! lemon poppy seed muffins used to be one of my favorite things in high school, but I haven’t had them in forever!

  13. #
    Sandie Luck — February 6, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    OH MY!! If this recipe is anything like the Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf you shared awhile back it will be the best!!!

  14. #
    ChgoJohn — February 6, 2012 @ 2:43 pm


  15. #
    sweetmother — February 6, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

    hey, hi, ho – made your pizza pretzel bites and included a pic of them in my latest blog post…LOVED…

  16. #
    Lula Harp — February 6, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

    I can’t wait to try this. Super lemony pound cake can’t be best!

  17. #
    Lauren @ Pass the Plate — February 6, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

    OMG I’m drooling!!!! I think I might make mini versions of this! I absolutely love this combination

  18. #
    m&m — February 6, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

    Yum! Lemon poppy seed cake brings me back to when I was a kid….I’ll have to make it this weekend!

  19. #
    livingth3sw33tlife — February 6, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

    WOW!! Such a moist , and lemony fresh cake – – I think I need a slice (or 2 ;)) as soon as possible. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous recipe

  20. #
    foodandnews — February 6, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

    I love poppy seeds, and this sounds divine! thinking about eating it just eating your recipe……definately going on my baking list.

  21. #
    emmycooks — February 7, 2012 @ 12:35 am

    That is beautiful! I have a 5 year old who doesn’t like chocolate or frosting and requests a ‘glaze cake’ for special occasions instead. That sure looks like it would fit the bill!

  22. #
    foodcow — February 7, 2012 @ 7:53 am

    looks absolutely beautiful!!!!such good use of poppy seeds!!

  23. #
    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — February 7, 2012 @ 8:48 am

    I love lemon pound cake because for some reason I can totally convince myself that it’s a perfectly acceptable thing to eat for breakfast with my coffee!!

  24. #
    juniakk @ mis pensamientos — February 7, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

    i totally grew up eating lemon poppy seed cake! its seriously one of my favorites :). totally bookmarked. thanks for sharing. ps – where do you find the time to bake every day? wow!

  25. #
    Stefanie — February 7, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

    That looks so refreshing! I love lemon poppy seed breads! And great idea with the two glazes :)

  26. #
    Lacy @ NYCityEats — February 17, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

    Wow this sounds SO good! I love the little crunch that the poppy seed must bring. I bet this is super moist & tasty. Looks amazing!

  27. #
    aidenn — March 3, 2013 @ 3:10 am

    I tried the recipe and it was amazing. Thanks for sharing :) I just have a question. do you brush hot syrup over warm loaf or warm syrup over warm loaf?

  28. #
    Anusha — July 30, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

    Just made this cake and it was DELICIOUS!! I can’t bake at all, but this was doable and worth it. I’m baking it again this weekend! Thank you.

    • Christina replied: — August 31st, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

      Yay! So happy to hear that you enjoyed it! :)

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