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Lemon Poppyseed Cake

User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Photo © Molly Watson
I love this cake beyond reason. I can eat slices for breakfast with a cup or two of coffee, have another one as a morning snack, tuck into a piece after lunch, and still want to have a piece with a glass of milk before stumbling up to bed. Plenty of lemon keeps it bright, lots of poppyseeds gives it an almost sandy texture, and the yogurt or buttermilk lends a little tang to the proceedings. Make it with love; make it often.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2 tea cake loaves


  • 3/4 cup poppyseeds
  • 1 cup milk or 1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt thinned with milk to be pourable
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice (if using milk; omit if using buttermilk)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Warm the poppyseeds and milk and lemon juice or buttermilk or thinned yogurt in a small saucepan or medium bowl in a microwave for about a minute. Let stand for the seeds to soak and the mixture comes back to room temperature.
  2. In a standing mixer or with a hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after adding each egg. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and mix to combine thoroughly.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture and beat to combine, then add the poppyseed mixture and stir to combine that, and then add the remaining flour mixture and beat to make a smooth batter.
  4. Butter two loaf pans, pour half the batter in each, and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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