Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

I bought a bag of lemons at Costco this weekend. My uncle has remarked regarding cooking and lemons that, “Good Things happen in the Kitchen when there are Lemons.” I have to say I agree with him. I try to keep a few around for squeezing over fish in a pan, or zesting into a dressing or batter, or keeping apples from turning brown in a fruit salad. They are, along with fresh peppercorns, butter, and good olive oil, just a really good thing to have around your kitchen. But, with a whole basket sitting on the counter I needed a lemon recipe, and I turned to an old favorite, Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.

What could be better than a summer afternoon, a cool glass of iced tea (with lemon, of course!), and a cake in the oven? Now I just need to invite some people over to help me eat it!

Lemon Poppy Seed (aka. Tuscon Lemon) Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Lemon Glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Heat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour 12-cup bundt cake pan or tube pan,10×4 inches. (Make sure you do this step really well, to avoid your cake from sticking to the pan like mine did this time. Oh, no!)

Cream the sugar and butter in your stand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Alternating with the buttermilk, beat the flour mixture into the sugar and butter, ending with buttermilk. Stir in the poppy seeds, lemon peel and lemon juice. Spread in pan.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

While cake bakes, combine all glaze ingredients over low heat and keep just warm enough to keep the sugar pour-able.

As soon as you take it from the oven, poke the top of the cake with lots of holes. (I usually use the same skewer I used as a tester, but feel free to use a more efficient tool if you have one.) Pour about 2/3 of the Lemon Glaze over top. Cool 20 minutes.

Turn pan upside down onto heatproof serving plate; remove pan carefully. Drizzle the remaining glaze over the top of the cake.

Serve this cake warm from the oven if you can, but it doesn’t hurt it one bit if it sits out on your counter for a few days. In fact, it might even get better with age. That is, if you can make it last that long!

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