Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

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Bright and buttery Meyer lemon poppy seed cake makes the perfect cake for citrus season! Delicious for breakfast, afternoon tea, or any time that needs a burst of sunshine, you’ll love this easy lemon loaf cake.

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

With a triple hit of citrus from Meyer lemon-sugar in the batter, a brush of lemon syrup once baked, and a drizzle of lemon glaze to finish, this Meyer lemon poppy seed cake makes a sunny delight!

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Essential Ingredients

Here’s what you need to bake the best lemon poppy seed cake:

  • Flour – Use all-purpose flour in this recipe.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – Gives this loaf cake a lift. Both are necessary since the cake uses buttermilk.
  • Salt – Enhances the flavor.
  • Poppy seeds – A must for lemon poppy seed cake! 🙂
  • Sugar – The cake recipe and the lemon syrup both use granulated sugar.
  • Fresh lemons – Fresh lemon zest and juice are essential to this recipe. Lemon zest flavors the cake and glaze, and lemon juice plus sugar makes a quick lemon syrup to brush over the cake.
  • Butter – Use room temperature unsalted butter in the cake and 1 tablespoon melted butter in the glaze.
  • Eggs – The cake batter uses two large eggs.
  • Vanilla – Pure vanilla extract brings out the flavor of the cake.
  • Greek yogurt – The creaminess of Greek yogurt helps keep the cake moist.
  • Buttermilk – The acidity helps activate the baking soda, which makes the cake fluffy and light.
  • Powdered sugar – For a smooth and delicious lemon glaze.

Love baking with Meyer lemons? Find more inspiration in this round up of favorite fresh Meyer lemon recipes!

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

The Best Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Meyer lemons – Sweet and juicy Meyer lemons make this easy loaf cake shine! If you can’t find Meyer lemons, you can also use regular lemons (the flavor will be slightly tangier with regular lemons).

Lemon sugar – For maximum lemon flavor, combine Meyer lemon zest and sugar in a food processor and pulse for 1 minute. Transfer the lemon sugar to a stand mixer and beat with butter until light and fluffy.

Yogurt and buttermilk – Both yogurt (Greek yogurt is my go-to for baking) and buttermilk ensure a moist and tender crumb to this cake. Bring both to room temperature before baking.

Bake cake – Bake cake at 350°F for 52 to 56 minutes, or until cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.

Lemon syrup – In the last 5 minutes of baking, combine lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and syrup thickens, about 4 minutes.

Cool – Immediately brush the cake with warm lemon syrup, then cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove cake from pan and cool completely before adding the glaze.

Lemon butter glaze – Whisk together melted butter, a pinch of salt, Meyer lemon zest and juice, and powdered sugar for a quick and delicious glaze that adds the perfect finish to this cake!

Make ahead – This loaf cake can be made one day in advance. Let cool completely and store at room temperature overnight. Add the lemon glaze just before serving.

How to Make Mini Loaf Cakes

For mini lemon poppy seed loaf cakes, divide the batter between three mini (5 3/4″ x 3 3/4″) loaf pans. Bake the mini loaves on a preheated baking sheet for about 30 minutes, or until cakes spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.

Tips to Freeze

Let loaf cake cool completely on a wire rack. Once fully cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and then wrap again in foil or place the wrapped cake in a freezer bag and freeze up to 2 months.

The day before you plan to serve, let the cake thaw overnight in the refrigerator (still wrapped to prevent condensation), then bring to room temperature. Glaze just before serving.

You can also freeze leftover slices of cake.  Wrap each slice tightly in plastic wrap and pop into a freezer bag for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or on a wire rack at room temperature.

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

More Meyer lemon recipes you’ll love:

Did you try this Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe? Let me know by leaving a comment and rating below!

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Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

  • Author: Laura Kasavan
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 52 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 17 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf, 12 slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

The BEST Meyer lemon poppy seed cake! This easy Meyer lemon loaf cake drizzled with lemon glaze is bright and buttery with a tender crumb.


Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh Meyer lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature

Lemon Syrup

  • 2 Tbsp fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

Glaze

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp fresh Meyer lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Make cake: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl.
  3. Place sugar and Meyer lemon zest in a food processor and pulse for 1 minute. Beat butter and Meyer lemon-sugar in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Combine yogurt and buttermilk in a small bowl. Beat in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with buttermilk mixture (begin and end with flour mixture), just until incorporated.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top with an offset spatula and tap sharply to reduce air bubbles.
  5. Bake loaf cake for 52 to 56 minutes, until cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
  6. Make lemon syrup: In the last five minutes of baking, combine Meyer lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and syrup thickens, about 4 minutes. Remove cake from the oven and immediately brush the top with lemon syrup. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; carefully remove cake from pan and cool completely.
  7. Make glaze: Whisk together melted butter, salt, Meyer lemon zest, juice, and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over cake and and let set before serving.
  8. Store leftover cake covered in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving.


Notes

Lemons: I made this cake with Meyer lemons. A cross between regular lemons and mandarin oranges, the zest and juice is sweet and aromatic. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, you can also use regular lemons. Regular lemons will add a slightly more tangy, zesty flavor to the cake and glaze.

Mini Loaf Cakes: Divide the batter between three mini (5 3/4″ x 3 3/4″) loaf pans. Bake the mini loaves on a preheated baking sheet for about 30 minutes, or until cakes spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.

Freezing Instructions: Once fully cool, wrap loaf cake in plastic wrap and a freezer bag and freeze up to 2 months. The day before serving, move the cake to the refrigerator (still wrapped to prevent condensation) and defrost overnight. Bring to room temperature, remove plastic wrap, and add glaze.

The equipment section above contains affiliate links to products I use and love!

Keywords: Lemon Poppy Seed, Lemon Loaf Cake, Loaf Cake, Meyer Lemon

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21 Comments

  1. I baked this cake twice over the weekend and it’s absolutely perfect – fluffy, moist, and filled with lemon flavor. The glaze is incredible too!

  2. The perfect lemon poppy seed cake! Bright, buttery, and so delicious. Can’t wait to make this again!

  3. This cake is amazing! I just made for my husband’s 94 year old mom, and she devoured it! This will become a family favorite! Thank you for sharing!

  4. We love lemon desserts and this cake is perfect. Fluffy and buttery with a nice lemon flavor, and the glaze is a new favorite! Looking forward to trying mini loaves next time.

  5. In this recipe, when you say a cup of flour or cup of sugar, how much is that in grams please? Also, the flour, is that plain or self raising please?

    1. Hi Alex! Flour is plain, all-purpose flour. 1 cup flour = 140 grams. Sugar is granulated sugar. 1 cup sugar = 200 grams. Happy baking! 🙂

  6. Hi Laura, I just found your blog thru Instagram. I was looking through your recipes and had a ton of lemons I just picked from my sister’s tree. I was sooo happy to see this recipe and made it this afternoon. My husband LOVED the lemonyness (Is that a word?) of it. He went back for a second slice. Can’t wait to see what else you have on here that I can try.

    1. Hi Kim, thanks so much! Glad you found me and that you tried this cake – just perfect for a Sunday afternoon :). I have two Meyer lemon trees, so you’ll see many Meyer lemon recipes in the archives. Have a great rest of your day!