Classic Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake

A classic lemon poppyseed pound cake – lemony, rich, moist and denser than most other cakes. This recipe is for one loaf – but you might as well double the recipe because it WILL be devoured. Perfect with a glaze or not.

lemon poppyseed cake, baked in loaf shape is sliced to show the poppyseeds and zest inside.
Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake uses fresh zest and juice to get it’s classic flavour!

Read more: Luscious Lemon Bars, Lemon Ricotta & Cranberry Scones, Lemon Lavender Cookies with Lemon Icing.

What’s in Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake?

Gone are the days of a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, a pound of eggs and a pound of butter! Whoo eee – DELICIOUS! We’re not going to go that rich and buttery, but we are sticking to these classic ingredients and adding a couple of extras for amazing lemony flavour.


Use all purpose or cake flour for this recipe. Bread flour is too hard and will create a chewy texture. Be sure to not over-mix your batter, to avoid creating a dense cake. Do all the heavy mixing when creaming the butter, sugar and eggs. Once you add the flour – go easy!


Standard granulated sugar is all you need. The sugar is blended with the butter to create a light, fluffy cake.


Butter is here as a feature flavour! Use room temperature butter to ensure you get a super light and fluffy creamed butter mixture before adding the flour.

Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds are actually the seeds of poppy flowers! These little guys add a slightly nutty flavour and offer a tiny bit of crunch to your cake. They’re also a good source of protein and dietary fiber, as well as some essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and magnesium. Most importantly for our cake – they create a gorgeous speckled slice each time. Be sure to fold them in evenly to your batter to get even distribution.

PRO TIP: Poppyseeds, like many seeds, have natural oils in them that can go rancid in a short time. For the best flavour and to avoid rancidity, use fresh poppyseeds or ones that have been stored in an airtight container in the freezer.


Use room temperature eggs to get the most volume, the lightest batter, to avoid a dense cake. No need to whip them into a meringue, just mix in with your batter one at a time, mixing well after each one. Those eggs will cause your cake to rise while it bakes.

Fresh Lemon Zest & Juice

Meet the real flavour makers! Use fresh lemon zest and juice for maximum flavour. Be sure to zest your lemon into very small pieces – best to use a microplane. And if using a zester, be sure to chop up the long strands before tossing into the batter. The long curls of zest will be too chewy in the baked cake.

Decoration Bonus: Grate fine shavings or long curls for topping the cake when it’s ready to serve!

lemon poppyseed loaf slices on cutting board with lemons
The lemon lovers in my house left me two slices to photograph!

Tips for Successful Pound Cake

Want the best results? Follow these tips, the little details matter when it comes to cakes like these.

  • Room Temperature Ingredients – take your eggs, sour cream/yogurt and butter out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you start.
  • Mix as Instructed – Beat butter until creamy, GRADUALLY add sugar, beat in one egg at a time, alternate dry adding dry and wet ingredients in small amounts – these are the little things that will make a difference to the rise and density of your pound cake.
  • Go easy after the Flour is Added – Do all the heavy beating before the flour gets added, when you add the flour, just mix until incorporated – don’t over work it.
  • Use real Butter – it’s one of the original ingredients and will produce the classic flavour
  • Low and steady baking time – it takes a good 50 to 60 minutes, it can’t be rushed
  • Cool it well – let the pound cake cool in the pan for an hour before removing

Storing and Freezing Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Storing Pound Cake

Did you know pound cake actually tastes better the next day when all the flavours have settled and the cake has completely cooled? Try it and see!

Store pound cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days. You can keep it longer in the fridge, but you won’t have the same intense, bright flavour.

Freezing Pound Cake

Wrap your thoroughly cooled cake in plastic wrap, cover it with a layer of foil, and keep it in the freezer for 3 months.

Let thaw overnight or just until it’s ready to cut – we love semi-frozen pound cake!

Glaze once it has completely thawed, if you’d like.

Recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

lemon poppy seed pound cake on platter sliced and glazed
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Classic Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

A classic lemon poppy seed pound cake, just like grandma used to make – lemony, rich, moist and denser than most other cakes. This recipe is for one loaf – but you might as well double the recipe because it WILL be devoured and it freezes beautifully (without glaze).
Prep : 25 mins
Cook : 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 25 mins
Servings: 1 loaf
Author: Getty Stewart


  • ½ cup butter room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon zest 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs room temp
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp poppyseed
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream full fat is best


  • 1/2 cup powdered icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice


  • Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C and line an 8x4x2 or 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with parchment paper or grease and lightly flour.
  • In large bowl, cream butter with mixer until soft and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in lemon zest. Add eggs, one at a time, beating one minute after each addition and scraping bowl frequently.
  • In smaller bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and poppy seeds.
  • Mix in dry ingredients alternately with lemon juice and yogurt.
  • Spoon into prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (a couple of crumbs is ok).
  • Let cool for an hour on wire rack before removing.


  • To prepare glaze, whisk together icing sugar and lemon juice until smooth.
  • Once loaf has cooled, place on serving platter and drizzle with glaze. Garnish with extra lemon zest.


Be sure to have soft, room temperature butter and room temperature eggs and yogurt for smooth, even, cake that will rise nicely.
High fat yogurt or sour cream will give you the best results.
Beat really well BEFORE you add the flour. For best, non-dense results, beat the butter and sugar until super light and fluffy, beat up to 10 minutes! And do the same when adding the eggs. But once you add the flour, mix just until combined.
Caution: Poppyseeds will go rancid, use only fresh poppyseeds for the best flavour.
Want MORE Lemon flavour – add more lemon zest.
Try this recipe with oranges for something a little different, if using blood oranges, use the juice of the orange for the glaze.
Tried this recipe?Mention @GetGettyS or tag #GetGettyS

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 2754kcal | Carbohydrates: 375g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 121g | Sodium: 1501mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 217g | Iron: 14mg
Course: baking
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon, lemon cake, lemon loaf, lemon poppyseed cake, lemon pound cake, poppyseed, pound cake
A simple pound cake cooling – just waiting to be devoured! Will I get to ice it before it disappears?!

Decorating a Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake

This simple lemon poppyseed pound cake will be loved and eaten up with no extra decoration! Slice and pop in the kid’s lunch kits or enjoy as an afternoon snack. But for an extra flair and extra lemon flavour, drizzle with a simple lemon glaze (I used about 1/2 cup icing sugar and 1 Tbsp lemon juice) and some lemon zest.

Drizzle with lemon glaze and lemon zest curls.

Other fresh lemon dessert recipes to try

There you have it, a Classic Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake for any occassion.  Will you try it? What do you think?

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Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.

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