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Infused with fresh lemon syrup, topped with sweet lemon glaze, and packed with lemon zest and juicy, every piece of this fluffy, moist Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is a slice of sunshine!

Moist Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Bundt with Lemon Glaze cut into slices

Why You’ll Love This Lemon Bundt Cake Recipe

  • Sunshine in a Slice. This classic lemon poppy seed bundt cake is imbued with bright lemon flavor that lifts it right off of the plate. You’ll find lemon in the cake itself, in the soak that infuses every bite, and in the sweet-and-tangy glaze. (Need more lemon desserts? Try my Lemon Cheesecake Bars or Lemon Poke Cake.)
  • An All Day Affair. Lemon poppy seed cake is one of those wonderful recipes that you can find justification to munch at any time of day. Like my Grandma’s Bundt Coffee Cake, it makes a delightful pairing with a cup of coffee in the morning; like Lemon Blueberry Cake, it’s also a lovely way to end a meal. And like Lemon Cake, it hits the spot when you are craving a dessert that’s bubbly and bright.
  • Moist, Tender Crumb. As we know from Buttermilk Cake, buttermilk and Greek yogurt are a dynamic duo that make cakes supremely moist. The lemon soak helps too!
  • Healthy-ish. Wholesome ingredients like whole wheat flour and honey make it this lemon poppy seed cake healthy compared to most. So go ahead, help yourself to a second slice!
Fluffy Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake with glaze made healthy with greek yogurt

5 Star Review

“Delicious and very quick to make. The crumb is moist and fluffy as described. My cake looks identical to the one pictured with the recipe, both inside and out.”

— Sadie —

How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

The Ingredients

  • Flour. If you don’t keep white whole wheat flour on hand, you can swap it for additional all-purpose flour or regular whole wheat flour. Note that regular whole wheat flour will result in a stronger wheat taste and slightly denser texture.
  • Sugar + Honey. Sweetens the cake and adds moisture.
  • Lemon Zest. Rub the zest into the sugar for bright lemony flavor that permeates every inch of this moist lemon poppyseed cake. (For another lemon dessert that also uses plenty of zest try this Almond Flour Cake.)
  • Butter. Helps the cake rise, makes the cake tender, and provides that one-of-a-kind butter taste.
  • Eggs. For richness, softness, and structure.
  • Low-Fat Buttermilk. Adds moisture and a bit of fat to the cake along with a subtle tang (it’s also the key ingredient in this Buttermilk Cake).
  • Greek Yogurt. Lemon poppyseed cake with sour cream may be more traditional, but personally, I prefer making my lemon poppyseed cake with Greek yogurt. (You can use sour cream if you’d like, though.)
  • Lemon Juice. Please DO NOT use a plastic bottle of lemon juice for this recipe. Go for freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Vanilla Extract + Almond Extract. I love using a duo of both a tsp vanilla and almond extracts in this lemon poppyseed bundt.
  • Poppy Seeds. Not one, not two, but THREE full tablespoons of poppyseeds pepper the interior of this cake giving it plenty of texture and subtle crunch. (Use extra poppyseeds for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.)
  • Lemon Soak. Nothing but lemon juice and sugar dissolved together in a saucepan, this simple syrup is imperative to the cake’s supreme moisture and lemony flavor. It’s a fantastic trick to have in your baking arsenal.
  • Glaze. For a last, sunny kiss, give the lemon cake a generous drizzle of creamy lemon frosting made with powder sugar and (more) freshly squeezed lemon juice.

TIP!

Want to go with a frosting on this cake? Try the lemon cream cheese frosting that is on top of this lemon cake! SO GOOD!

The Directions

  1. Mix the Dry Ingredients. Stir together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
rubbing lemon zest and sugar together in a glass mixing bowl
  1. Flavor the Sugar. Rub the sugar and lemon zest together.
A glass mixing bowl of beated eggs, buttermilk, and greek yogurt with a whisk
  1. Mix the Wet Ingredients. Add the remaining wet ingredients to the lemon/sugar mixture.
Healthy lemon poppyseed cake batter in a mixing bowl
  1. Fold. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mix with rubber spatula until combined, then stir in the poppyseeds.
A bundt pan filled with lemon poppyseed bundt batter
  1. Transfer. Pour batter to a greased and floured bundt pan.
A freshly baked lemon poppy seed cake in a large bundt pan
  1. Bake. Bake the lemon poppy seed cake until the cake looks nicely browned at the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  2. Cool. Let the cake cool in the pan for several minutes, loosen the sides as needed, then invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.
making a lemon soak in a saucepan for a lemon poppyseed bundt
  1. Heat. Meanwhile, make the lemon cake soak.
A homemade lemon poppyseed cake bundt topped with lemon soak on a wire rack
  1. Finish. Spoon the soak slowly over the cake. Let sit for 30 minutes. To finish, whisk together the glaze then drizzle over the cake. Cut into slices to serve. Add some fresh lemon slices for a fun garnish! ENJOY!
Slices of Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Lemon poppyseed cake may be stored at room temperature for 3 to 4 days or refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  • To Freeze. Lemon poppyseed cake may be kept in the freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, then allow to come to room temperature before serving.

What to Serve with Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Bundt with Lemon Glaze being served from a cake plate
  • Mixing Bowls. This nested glass set is a must-have for any baker.
  • Wire Rack. For cooling the bundt and makes pouring the glaze over the cake a breeze.
  • Bundt Pan. This large non-stick bundt pan is one of my all-time favorites.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Use Room Temperature Eggs. When baking lemon poppyseed cake (and most baked goods, like these Orange Muffins with Poppy Seeds) it’s best to start with eggs at room temperature to ensure your batter mixes up smoothly.
  • Make Your Own Buttermilk. If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can easily make your own using milk (at least 2%) and lemon juice. Substitute the buttermilk in the recipe for 1 1/4 cups milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Stir them together, then let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes before using it in the recipe.
  • Turn the Pan. For an even bake, I like to rotate the bundt pan 180 degrees about halfway through baking.
  • Don’t Skip the Soak. In theory, you could omit the lemon soak from the recipe. However, I strongly recommend preparing the cake with the soak since it gives the cake so much added moisture, necessary sweetness, and a lovely lemon flavor.
A slice of the BEST Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Bundt that is healthy on a white plate with a fork

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

5 from 5 votes
This bright, moist lemon poppy seed cake recipe has a lemon soak and a simple lemon glaze for triple the citrus flavor. Easy and delicious!

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 2 hours

Servings: 12 slices; 1 large bundt cake

Ingredients
  

For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or substitute regular whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of 5 medium lemons
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups low fat buttermilk well shaken
  • 2/3 cup whole milk Greek yogurt (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the Lemon Soak:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed (about 2 large lemons)

For the Lemon Glaze:


Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan or spray with floured baking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, briskly whisk together the all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a separate large bowl, place the granulated sugar. Zest the lemons directly into the sugar, then with your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until it is moist and fragrant.
  • Add the butter, eggs, buttermilk, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, honey, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Briskly whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then gradually increase the speed to medium-low and continue mixing until the ingredients are thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds to 1 minute more.  Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, then mix again on low speed for 1 minute. Stir in the poppy seeds.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees. Continue baking for 15 to 25 minutes more, until the cake looks nicely browned at the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Place the pan on a wire rack set over a baking sheet (the sheet will be to catch cake soak drips). Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Use a thin, sharp knife to check around the edges and loosen any that are stuck, then invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely.
  • While the cake bakes, prepare the soak. In a small saucepan, heat the lemon juice and sugar together on high, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  • Once the cake has been unmolded, spoon half of the soak slowly over the cake so that the cake can absorb it. Wait 1 minute, then slowly spoon on the rest of the soak. Let sit 30 minutes.
  • To finish, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice, adding a little more sugar or lemon juice to make a thick but pourable, smooth glaze. Drizzle generously over the cake, allowing some to drip down the sides. Transfer the cake to a serving plate (you also can glaze the cake directly on the serving plate if you like scooping bonus dripped glaze onto slices). Slice and enjoy at room temperature.

Notes

  • NOTE: Nutrition has been calculated with half of the amount of cake soak, as a portion of the soak is inevitably lost. If you’d prefer your own calculation, you make do so for free at myfitnesspal.com
  • TO STORE: Lemon poppyseed cake may be stored at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
  • TO FREEZE: Lemon poppyseed cake may be kept in the freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, then allow to come to room temperature before serving.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 12) see noteCalories: 389kcalCarbohydrates: 64gProtein: 8gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 73mgPotassium: 246mgFiber: 2gSugar: 40gVitamin A: 372IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 141mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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12 Comments

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  1. Delicious and very quick to make.  The crumb is moist and fluffy as described.  My cake looks identical to the one pictured with the recipe, both inside and out. The only deviations I made to the recipe were to sub all-purpose flour for the whole wheat pastry flour, and I used Balkan style yogurt instead of Greek. The cake had great oven spring and rose almost flush with the top of my large bundt pan.  It deflated a bit as it cooled.  It was done in 20 minutes.  I brushed the top (which became the bottom) twice with the lemon soak before removing it from the pan and instead of pouring the soak over the outside of the cake I brushed it on gradually so that none of it ran off.  The outside crust with the soak and the drizzle is delicious and very lemony.  It’s the best part!5 stars

    1. Sadie, I am so glad you enjoyed the cake, and I so appreciate your taking the time to leave this wonderful review! Your tip about brushing the cake instead of pouring is a great one.

  2. Most delicious cake I’ve ever eaten! Perfectly balanced flavours and textures. It actually tasted like lemons, not just hints of lemon essence. Only complaint is that the grated lemon zest pieces were too big which resulted in a slight bitter taste when chewed. Easily fixed by chopping the lemon zest in to smaller pieces after grating. Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe!5 stars

  3. I made this cake this morning and we just had it for dessert. It was absolutely delicious! My whole family agreed. The texture is a perfect balance of moist and dense but still light. I used lemons from my garden and the balance of tart and sweet was on point. I’ll definitely make this cake again!5 stars

  4. Made this for Easter and it was fantastic! Followed the recipe exactly as written and it was fabulous. The cake popped straight out of the pan. I loved the balanced zesty flavor which was just right. The poppy seeds added extra taste to this lovely cake. Well done and thanks for sharing the recipe.5 stars

  5. Wow, this was so easy and so delicious! Everyone loved it. Light, fluffy, moist, and flavorful. I actually used a whipped cream and mascarpone frosting that I’m obsessed with instead of the lemon glaze, but I bet that glaze would have been delicious, too. I will try it next time. Thanks for a great recipe!5 stars