The Pretend Chef

Lemon poppyseed cake, Lemon cake

Moist, fluffy and citrusy lemon poppyseed cake

Desserts/ finger food | December 22, 2017 | By

Lemon poppyseed cake is rich and moist, fluffy and buttery with a refreshing tang of lemon. The poppy seeds dot the cake beautifully giving it a pleasant nutty taste and an almost indiscernible crunch.

Poppy seeds are used in Central Europe, North America, India etc. but it is not common in Nigeria. It can be found in large supermarkets in Nigeria but an excellent substitute for poppy seeds is sesame seeds (Ridi, Benne seed) which is quite abundant in Nigeria. This cake is so good, if I don’t have poppy seeds, I make it simply as a delicious lemon cake.

Moist, fluffy and citrusy lemon poppyseed cake

The glaze adds an extra punch of lemony goodness to the cake. You can also use lemon curd, lemon buttercream, cream cheese frosting etc.

Click to read Tips for making awesome cakes.

WARNING: Do not eat poppy seeds before a drug test because it can give a false positive reading for opioids.

Poppy seeds for Lemon poppyseed cake

To make Lemon Poppyseed Cake

¾ cup milk 
6 tablespoons poppy seeds
2¼ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup butter
1¼ cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon lemon essence
1 tablespoon zest of lemon
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup icing sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Brush two 8-by-4-inch cake pans with butter or oil and lightly sprinkle with flour.

Warm milk till hand-hot in a small pot or microwave oven, soak poppy seed in it for a minimum of 30 minutes.

poppy seeds soaking in milk

In a bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder, set aside.

Cream together, butter and sugar in another bowl until light and fluffy.creamed butter and sugar

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir in vanilla essence and lemon essence.

Slowly pour in the oil while beating the cake mixture, beat until blended.

Mix in lemon juice and lemon zest.

Fold in the flour mixture, alternating with the milk in three additions, starting and ending with the flour.

Batter of Lemon poppyseed cake in a bowl

Spoon into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 1 to 1½ hours, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove cake from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Moist, fluffy and citrusy lemon poppyseed cake

To make the glaze for Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Mix icing sugar and lemon juice in a small pot, set over medium heat, until sugar dissolves completely.

Pour all over cake until it is all absorbed.

Wrap and keep for a few hours or overnight, before serving.

Moist, fluffy and citrusy lemon poppyseed cake


  • Do not over mix the batter.
  • To store, wrapped in aluminium foil, the cake can last for 1 week in the fridge. It also freezes well for 2 months.

WARNING: Do not eat poppy seeds before a drug test because it can give a false positive reading for opioids.

If you enjoyed my Lemon poppyseed cake, Lemon cake, you will also enjoy my Easy Pound cake, Red velvet cake, Sugar cookies and Sesame seed muffins

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