Lemon Poppyseed Cake Recipe

Lemon juice, lemon zest, and poppy seeds enliven this soft layer cake recipe, which is covered with a zesty sweet lemon cream cheese frosting.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake | by Carrie Sellman for TheCakeBlog.com #cake #lemon #easter #easterdinnerideas


For the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake:

  • 3 cups cake flour, spooned and leveled (336g)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons organic lemon zest, about 3–4 lemons
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, block style
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, slightly softened but still cold
  • 4 ounces salted butter, slightly softened but still cold
  • 4–6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon organic lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

For the Assembly:

  • Lemon slices
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Edible flowers (optional)
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake | by Carrie Sellman for TheCakeBlog.com #cake #lemon #easter #easterdinnerideas


Make the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Three 8-inch round pans should be brushed with butter and gently floured. Line with circles of parchment paper.
  2. 3 cups cake flour, baking powder, and salt, whisked together Whisk in the lemon zest one more. Remove from the equation.
  3. Combine the milk and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir everything together and put aside for the milk to curdle. Making homemade buttermilk is comparable to this.
  4. Using the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high in the bowl of a stand mixer. For roughly 3 minutes, beat until pale and fluffy. Scrape the bottom of the basin.
  5. One at a time, add eggs to the mixer on low speed. After each egg, thoroughly combine the ingredients.
  6. Pour in the vanilla extract. To blend, stir everything together.
  7. In three batches, alternate adding the flour mixture with the milk, beginning and finishing with the flour mixture. Don’t overmix the ingredients.
  8. Toss in the poppy seeds and stir to incorporate. Scrape down the bowl and the mixer blade when the mixer comes to a halt. The batter will be frothy and thick.
  9. Divide the mixture evenly among the three 8-inch circular baking pans. To equally distribute batter in the pan, smooth the tops using a rubber spatula or knife.
  10. Bake for 25-27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  11. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for cooling in the pans before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Combine the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth.
  2. Mix in the vanilla, lemon zest, and juice until everything is well blended.
  3. Gradually add confectioners sugar, adjusting the amount until you achieve your desired sweetness. Scrape the bowl’s sides clean. Whip on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Because the butter and cream cheese are too warm and soft, overmixing will result in a thinner frosting.

Assemble the Cake:

  1. Place one layer of cake on a serving dish or cake stand and spread one cup of lemon cream cheese frosting on top. Continue with the second cake layer, additional frosting, and the final cake layer. Crumb cover the cake and finish with the remaining frosting.
  2. Make delicate swirls in the frosting if desired by softly pressing the tip of an offset spatula on the frosting while rotating the turntable. Your spatula will slide up the side of the cake, creating a swirl imprint.
  3. If desired, garnish with lemon slices, a sprinkling of poppy seeds, and edible flowers.
  4. Refrigerate any leftovers. Allow to cool before serving.
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake | by Carrie Sellman for TheCakeBlog.com #cake #lemon #easter #easterdinnerideas


  • Take care not to overfill the measuring cups with flour. A cake made with too much flour can be thick and dense. When properly measured, 3 cups of cake flour equals 336g. If you don’t have a scale, you may measure flour by spooning it into a measuring cup and then leveling off the excess.
  • When you’re done mixing the cake batter, scrape down the mixer blade to get rid of any leftover lemon zest. Before pouring into pans, fold back into the cake batter.
  • This cake may be baked in two full-sized 8-inch circular cake layers. Alternatively, I cooked it in three 8′′ circular layers, which saved time and labor because the shorter layers didn’t need to be torted. The layers that arise are about 1.25 inches tall. If you’re only using two pans, only fill them two-thirds full to avoid overflowing.
  • In the cake batter, I do not advocate using 2 percent or skim milk. The fat from whole milk is required for this dish.
  • Refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes before constructing the cake if it is too thin after whipping. The consistency of the cooled frosting will be thicker. If you want an even thicker consistency, use more confectioners’ sugar.
  • For the embellishment, I used edible tiny sun daisies. Flowers should be added right before serving because they will wilt over time, especially if refrigerated.

Source: The Cake Blog

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