Lemon Poppy Seed Bread is studded with poppy seeds and topped with a lemon glaze! This easy lemon loaf cake recipe is so moist and tender and makes a great breakfast or dessert.
How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread is an easy pound cake recipe made with lemon juice, lemon zest, buttermilk, and poppy seeds. This cake is extremely moist and tender and keeps fresh for days. My secret to extra flavorful lemon cakes is to brush them with a lemon syrup just after baking so they soak up the flavor and then brush them with a thick lemon icing. So delicious!
This Lemon Cake with Poppy Seeds makes a great dessert or afternoon snack and tastes even better than the Starbucks Lemon Poppyseed Loaf – perfect with a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea!
Tips for making Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake
- Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper leaving an overhang on two sides so you can easily lift out the cake after baking
- Make sure that the butter has room temperature and is soft
- For the best results make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature, this helps the cake bake more evenly
- For the best flavor use freshly squeezed lemon juice! Bottled lemon juice works too but I prefer the taste of fresh lemon juice
- Use a Microplane zester to grate the lemon peel.
- When you make the lemon glaze for this poppy seed bread don’t add too much liquid. You want the glaze to be nice and thick not runny.
- This cake keeps well covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.
How to make Lemon Glaze for Pound Cake
A lemon glaze adds even more lemon flavor to lemon cakes and breads. During baking flavors often mellow so to get a more intensive lemon flavor I like to brush my hot Lemon Bread with a syrup made from lemon juice and powdered sugar and then add a lemon glaze icing on top.
Making a lemon glaze is very easy. Start with sifting the powdered sugar to avoid clumps and then add lemon juice and milk. I always start with only part of the liquid and then add more as needed so the glaze is thick and creamy and not runny. This way it will form a nice thick icing crust that adds so much lemon flavor.
You can use this Lemon Glaze for Cakes, Bundt Cakes, Cookies, and Loaves.
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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
For the Cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
For the Lemon Syrup:
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
For the Lemon Icing:
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tsp milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9x5-inch (or 8x4-inch) loaf pan and line it with a strip of parchment paper leaving an overhang on two sides to lift out the cake.
- In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using an electric mixer) cream the softened butter and sugar together at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat on medium-high speed until combined.
- With the mixer on low, add about one-third of the flour mixture and mix until almost combined, then add half the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Repeat with another third of flour mixture and then the last half of the buttermilk, ending with the last third of the flour. Beat until just incorporated. Add poppy seeds and fold in with a spatula.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out mostly clean with only a couple moist crumbs. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours.
- Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Stir together the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar for the lemon syrup. Carefully transfer the cake to a cooling rack, then brush the syrup all over the cake while it’s still warm. Allow cake to cool completely.
- When the cake is cooled, make the icing. Start with adding 1 Tbsp lemon juice to the powdered sugar then add as much milk as needed. The icing should be thick and not too runny. Spoon icing over cake and let harden before serving.
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