Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Super moist, creamy, and topped with a luscious cream cheese lemon glaze, this lemon poppy seed cake is SO good!
This lemon loaf tops the list of favorite desserts, along with Coconut Peach Muffins and Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Bright, citrusy, and fresh lemon poppy seed loaf cake just might be what we all need right now. Bursting with fresh lemon flavor, this cake is guaranteed to make your taste buds happy.
What makes this loaf cake so mouthwatering delicious? Simply using a combination of sour cream, buttermilk, fresh lemon juice, and zest for the cake layer. This makes the cake ultra-moist and taste and smell like fresh lemons.
Between the cake layer is a cream-cheese layer that adds the perfect richness to the cake. And let’s not forget about the luscious cream cheese lemon glaze that adds the finishing touch to this rich and creamy cake.
It’s truly heaven in a loaf pan.
How Do You Make a Good Lemon Cake?
Making moist lemon poppy cake is not hard at all. It all starts with a few key ingredients combined with pantry staples to achieve the perfect texture of the cake.
You will need the following ingredients to make lemon poppy seed cake:
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Sour cream, full fat
- Olive oil, or sub with avocado oil
- Vanilla extract
- Lemon juice and zest
- Poppy seeds
- Cream cheese
- Confectioners’ sugar
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe
This recipe consists of making the cake layer, cream cheese layer, and lemon glaze. You will need at least two glass mixing bowls, a whisk, a wooden spoon, and a handheld mixer or stand mixer.
MAKE THE CAKE LAYER:
- Whisk the dry ingredients together: flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, olive oil, and vanilla. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and poppy seeds.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Some lumps are okay. Make sure not to over-mix.
MAKE THE CREAM CHEESE LAYER:
- With a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add sugar and egg and beat to combine. The mixture should be lump-free and creamy.
- Spoon half of the cake batter into a greased loaf pan. Add the cream cheese mixture and top with the remaining cake batter.
- Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. After 30 minutes of baking, tent the cake with a sheet of foil to prevent the top from over-browning.
- Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before removing from the pan to cool further on the cooling rack.
MAKE THE LEMON GLAZE:
- With a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice; continue beating until smooth.
- Drizzle the glaze over the cake. It’s okay if the cake is slightly warm.
Storing Leftover Cake
Leftover lemon cake can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 2-3 days or refrigerated up to 1 week. It does get soft and a little sticky the longer it sits but it tastes totally fine.
More Sweet Lemon Recipes to Try:
- Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
- Crepes with Yogurt Lemon Filling
- No-Bake Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
- Greek Yogurt Lemon Bars from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Love sweet breads? Try our Swiss Braided Bread. It’s such a versatile bread for breakfast toast, bakes, and so much more!Print
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
- Prep Time: 30 min
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
- Yield: 12 slices 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Super moist, creamy, and topped with a luscious cream cheese lemon glaze, this lemon poppy seed loaf cake is SO good!
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream, full fat
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. lemon zest, from about 4 lemons
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
Cream Cheese Layer
- 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan and set aside.
- Cake Layer: Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, olive oil, and vanilla until well blended and smooth. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and poppy seeds. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Some lumps are okay. Avoid over-mixing.
- Cream Cheese Layer: With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add sugar and egg, and beat to combine, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Spoon half of the cake batter into prepared loaf pan. Add the cream cheese mixture, spreading evenly over the cake batter. Top with the remaining cake batter. If some cream cheese mixture comes out on the sides, that’s okay.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, tenting the cake with aluminum foil after 30 minutes to prevent the top and sides from over-browning. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove cake from the oven and place on a wire rack. Allow cake to cool in the pan on the wire rack for at least 30 minutes up to 1 hour, then carefully remove the slightly warm cake from the pan. Continue to cool on a wire rack or a serving dish.
- Lemon Glaze: With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice; continue beating until smooth. Consistency should be thick and creamy. Drizzle the glaze over cooled or slightly warm cake.
- Over-Baking: The key to this loaf cake is not to overtake it. When testing for doneness, simply insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and it should come out mostly clean. If some moist crumbs stick to the toothpick that is okay.
- Lemon Flavor: Make sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice and not bottled juice. Otherwise, the flavor will be too sour.
- Leftovers: Leftover cake can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 2-3 days or refrigerated up to 1 week.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 401
- Sugar: 30.9 g
- Sodium: 169.6 mg
- Fat: 21.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 47.1 g
- Protein: 6.7 g
- Cholesterol: 90.3 mg
Keywords: loaf cake, lemon cake, poppy seed cake
Can you freeze this?
Never tried it but I would imagine it should be okay as long as you freeze it properly
Super delicious!! Easy to make and so wonderful with filing in the middle. Out of this world. Thanks for the recipe.
Thank you for the feedback Helyn! So glad you enjoyed it.
Good to know that works too! It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Wow great post.
Made it yesterday for V Day, absolutely PERFECT!!! Ate half of the cake by myself????????????… I guess actions speak louder than words lol
SO glad you loved it! And I don’t blame you for eating half of it…I probably would too! 🙂
This cake was absolutely DeLiSiOuS!!!! The flavors came out together perfectly. I loved it!
Glad you enjoyed it!
Delicious, i baked one last night and its gone this morning . I am baking it again today. Yummy yum!!! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Glad you enjoyed the cake Olga! Thanks for your feedback 🙂
This looks like the perfect breakfast lemon loaf! Reminds me of the ones they sell at Starbucks but like 10 times better!
Oh wow, thanks for a sweet compliment !
Probably the best recipe I’ve seen while browsing today! Great stuff happening here 🙂