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Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 12 reviews
  • 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


Bright and buttery lemon poppy seed cake with Meyer lemons is the perfect cake for lemon lovers! Each slice is incredibly tender and buttery with a moist crumb. Recipe makes 1 loaf and freezes well.



  • 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp (3 g) salt
  • 2 Tbsp (18 g) poppy seeds
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (6 g) fresh Meyer lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs (100 g), at room temperature
  • 1 tsp (4 g) vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (180 g) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (80 g) Greek yogurt, at room temperature

Lemon Syrup

  • 2 Tbsp (30 g) fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp (25 g) granulated sugar


  • 1 Tbsp (14 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp fresh Meyer lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (22 g) fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Line the loaf pan with parchment paper.
  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, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla on low speed. Combine buttermilk and Greek yogurt in a small bowl. Beat in dry ingredients 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 let set before serving.
  8. Store leftover cake at room temperature overnight (tightly covered) or in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.


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 evenly between three mini (5 3/4″ x 3 1/4″) 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.

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.

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.