Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

by Barbara Lee on February 27, 2013

These bright sunny lemons left at my door inspired me to make a light and fluffy cake.  I realize that most of the country is still shoveling snow or slogging through slush, don’t hate me because I’m a Californian.

Cool nights and sunny days nurtured these lovely lemon trees to produce this soft skinned citrus the color of daffodils.  Picked only yesterday, they have a sweet but tangy zest and overflow with juice.  They cannot compare to anything in a grocery store.


I try to be a locavore, but even in California, winter can be a challenge.  But soon the farmer’s markets will be brimming with locally grown produce.  March is nearly here and it will be time to plant my own vegetables and herbs.



A big thank you to my gardening friends who share the bounty of their yards.  Stop by anytime, I’ll save you a piece of cake!


Lemon Poppy Seed Cake


Combine butter, sugar, zest and poppy seeds in mixing bowl. Then slowly add milk.







Add flour mixture







Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form







Gently fold in egg whites with batter, pour into ring mold.







Pop in oven at 325 degrees for thirty minutes







Make syrup while cake bakes, combine water, lemon juice, zest and sugar. Slowly heat to boil until it thickens.






Remove cake from oven and pour syrup over before unmolding it.






Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.






Lemon Poppy Seed Cake


6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

Grated zest from 1 ½ unwaxed lemons

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

2/3 cup whole milk

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

3 egg whites

Lemon Syrup

Freshly squeezed juice and grated zest of 1 lemon

¼ cup sugar

½ cup water



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and dust with flour a 9-10 inch ring mold.

Put butter, sugar, lemon zest, and poppy seeds in an electric mixer with paddle attachment and beat until incorporated. Slowly beat in the milk.

In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add this to the butter mixture in 3 additions and beat until fluffy.

In separate bowl whisk the egg whites with a handheld mixer until stiff peaks form.  Using a rubber spatula, fold the whisked egg whites into the cake batter until well mixed.  Don’t overmix.

Pour into prepared pan and bake about 30 minutes or until cake bounces back.

Remove from oven and place on rack.  Pour the lemon syrup over cake before unmolding.

Lemon Syrup Procedure

While cake is baking, put the lemon juice, zest, sugar and water in a pan and bring to a slow boil.  Raise heat and reduce by half or until it has a thin syrupy consistency.  Poor over hot cake when it comes out of the oven.

Let cake cool slightly and unmold onto a wire rack to cool completely

I dusted with confectioner sugar but you can also make a glaze.

From the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dane Struthers February 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm

This lemon cake is moist and lemony, highly recommended.


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