Lemon poppy seed cake- this easy to make sponge cake is baked in a bundt pan. The lemon poppy seed cake is very moist and fluffy. It is topped with a cream cheese lemon glaze and extra lemon zest.
What Makes This The BEST Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
This lemon poppy seed cake is made with fresh lemon flavors and poppy seeds. This bundt cake is very moist and tender and is probably one of the easiest cakes you can make.
This cake is made in a bundt cake pan. I love making cakes in a bundt pan because it is 10 times easier to decorate and they look fantastic!
The best part about this cake is that it is made with a cream cheese lemon glaze. The tangy cream cheese plus the tartness of lemon juice puts an excellent zing on this bundt cake. This is a perfect light dessert!
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How To Make The Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
To make this cake, start by spraying a 10 inch bundt cake pan with a non stick spray. I use this bundt cake pan, but you can use any style as long as it's a big bundt pan.
Next, sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. When it is all sifted, stir in the poppy seeds.
To make this recipe, I used a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. The whisk attachment adds a lot more air into the batter, which results in a light and fluffy cake.
Then, cream together oil, butter, and sugar for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. The color should be almost white, that means it has been aerated enough.
Next, add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and sour cream. Then, add in the eggs one at a time. The batter at this point is going to be very liquidy. This is normal and will thicken up after the dry ingredients are added.
To add the dry ingredients, first add ⅓ of the dry ingredients and ½ of the milk. Next, add in another ⅓ of the dry ingredients and the rest of the milk. Finally, add in the rest of the dry ingredients.
Between each addition, make sure the batter is almost combined. This means that most of the dry ingredients are mixed in, but not all of them. Then, add in the next batch. At the end, the batter should be light in color, and very runny in texture.
Why Use Cake Flour Vs All-Purpose Flour
I usually use all purpose flour for everything, it is great and easy to find. However, this recipe requires cake flour because it helps to get a much more tender crumb.
All-purpose flour is made with a higher amount of gluten. More gluten will make the cake dense and a little tougher. Cake flour has a lot less gluten and is a much finer flour. When there is less gluten, it lets you get a more tender and fluffy crumb on your cake.
Basically, cake flour is very important when you bake cakes if you want a fluffy cake. (Which we do!) I use this cake flour, but you can use any cake flour you find at your local grocery store.
Why Should My Dairy Ingredients Be Room Temperature
There are a lot of dairy ingredients in this recipe! The butter, eggs, sour cream, and milk. You may notice they all say room temperature on the recipe. This is actually a very important step!
Before I start baking, I pull out all my ingredients about 2 hours before I actually start baking. This will allow all of the ingredients to come to room temperature naturally.
You may be thinking, "Why would I want to do that?" Let me tell you. When all ingredients are room temperature it affects the rise of cake, and the texture.
Room temperature ingredients are easier to aerate and they blend more smoothly with other ingredients. Cold ingredients seize up and they won't blend as nicely. It is very hard to aerate cold butter, for example.
I have tried baking a cake with cold ingredients vs room temperature. In the end, with cold ingredients it got half the rise and it was a more dense cake. This is easily fixed by letting your ingredients get to room temperature about 2 hours before you are ready to bake.
Baking Moist Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Once your batter is prepared, pour it in your bundt pan. The batter fills up almost all of my bundt pan, which means it takes longer to bake than a regular cake.
Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes. It will all depend on your location and your oven, but my bundt cake was perfect at 35 minutes.
The lemon poppy seed cake is done baking when the edges are golden brown, and when you insert a tooth pick it comes out clean.
Now the very important part. When the cake is done baking, let it sit for 45 minutes. It may seem like a long time, but when making a bundt cake it will need a long time to slowly cool. This allows none of the cake to get left behind on the pan and for it not to sink.
I can't tell you how many times I flipped my bundt pan over and part of the cake was stuck to the pan. This is so annoying! Just leave the cake in the pan for 45 minutes before turning it over on a cooling rack.
Ingredients Needed To Make Cream Cheese Lemon Glaze.
To make this wonderful glaze, you only need a few ingredients:
- Cream cheese ( make sure it's at room temperature!)
- Powdered sugar
- Lemon juice
Seriously, that is all you need to make this glaze. I have made several glazes before that weren't thick enough and ran off the cake. The addition of the cream cheese helps to thicken it up so you won't have that problem.
Making Cream Cheese Lemon Glaze
To make this glaze, I suggest using a mixer. You will need the power of a mixer to beat the cream cheese until it's completely smooth. We don't want cream cheese chunks!
After you beat the cream cheese for 2 minutes, and it is completely smooth, add in the sifted powdered sugar. Make sure the powdered sugar is sifted. The lumps of powdered sugar could make your glaze grainy.
Next, add in the lemon juice and milk. Beat the mixture for a minute or 2 until your glaze is completely smooth. If it is too thick, add another tablespoon of milk. Once it is ready, pour it on the cooled cake immediately.
To not make a mess, place the cake on the cooling rack and place a cookie sheet underneath it. The cookie sheet will catch all of the glaze drippings. I will then take a rubber spatula and scoop up the extra glaze and pour on top of the cake again.
Can The Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Be Gluten Free?
Earlier in this post, I mentioned the importance of using cake flour vs all-purpose flour. Now, you can use a 1:1 gluten free flour, but don't expect it to be as light and fluffy as if you used cake flour.
You might end up with a more dense cake, but this gluten free flour is fantastic. I highly recommend it.
Can I Freeze this Cake?
Yes, you can freeze this cake. After you add the glaze, cut the cake into slices. Then, wrap some cling wrap all around the cake slices very tightly. Then you can store them in the freezer and pull out by cake slice.
To thaw the cake, place in the fridge for 24 hours, or place on counter for a few hours. I don't recommend microwaving it since it has the glaze on top.
Can This Cake Be a Sheet Cake?
Yes it can! You can make this into a sheet cake, layer cake, or even cupcakes! That is the beauty of cakes!
To make any of those options you will have to adjust the baking time, since the pans will be a lot smaller than a bundt pan. Start with baking for 18-20 minutes.
Other Recipes To Try:
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
- ¾ cup Unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup Oil vegetable or canola
- 1 ½ cups White granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ cup Sour cream room temperature
- 4 Large lemons zested
- 2 ½ TBSP Lemon juice
- 4 Large eggs room temperature
- 2 ½ cups Cake flour
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- ½ tsp Baking soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 ½ tsp Cornstarch
- 3 ½ TBSP Poppy seed
- ½ cup Milk room temperature
Cream Cheese Lemon Glaze
- 4 oz Cream cheese room temperature
- ½ cup Powdered sugar sifted
- 1 TBSP Lemon juice
- 2 TBSP Milk
- 1 Lemon zested for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 10 inch bundt pan with non stick spray.
- In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
- Use a mixer with a whisk attachment to cream together butter, oil, and sugar. It will be very light in color and fluffy.
- Add in sour cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix until all combined. Then, add in eggs one at a time. Don't over mix. Once thoroughly combined, stop mixing.
- Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Add in ½ of the milk. Mix until almost combined. Add in the next ⅓ of the dry ingredients and the rest of the milk. Mix until almost combined again. Add in the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Take the bowl off the mixer, use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl and make sure it is all mixed. Pour batter into bundt pan.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes. The cake is done when the edges are golden brown and when a toothpick is inserted it comes out clean.
- Let the cake sit in the pan for 45 minutes. Then, flip it onto a cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Lemon Glaze
- Use a mixer with a paddle attachment, and beat cream cheese for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add in sifted powdered sugar on low. Then, add in lemon juice and milk.
- Beat for another 2 minutes until the glaze is smooth. If the glaze is too thick to pour, add an extra TBSP of milk and beat again.
- Pour glaze all over the bundt cake. Top with lemon zest. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.