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slice of lemon poppy seed loaf cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

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  • Author: Erin Clarkson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: One loaf cake
  • Category: Loaf Cakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Lemon poppy seed cake is a super easy lemon loaf cake recipe. This moist lemon cake is filled with poppy seeds and finished with a simple lemon icing. Note that this loaf cake needs to be cooled completely before glazing, and that it bakes at a lower temperature so be aware when setting your oven!



Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

  • 225g granulated sugar
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 290g all-purpose flour
  • 80g almond meal
  • 12g (1 tbsp plus 1 tsp) poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 2g (½ tsp) kosher salt
  • 135g freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 130g neutral oil
  • 150g full fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • A wee bit of softened butter for piping down the middle of the loaf (optional)

Lemon Glaze

  • 60g powdered sugar
  • 20g freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°f / 160°c. Grease and line a (9”x4”x4” / 23x10x10cm) pullman pan or a 9”x5” loaf pan, extending the parchment paper over the sides to form a sling.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar with your hands to help release the oils and flavour the sugar. Add the flour, almond meal, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Add to the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk to combine, then switch to a spatula and give a few folds to ensure there are no dry spots in the batter.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan, and if desired, pipe a thin line of softened butter directly down the middle of the cake to encourage it to crack evenly. Alternatively you can dip a knife in melted butter and run it down the middle too. I use the piped butter method.
  5. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  6. Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and mix well to combine. Brush onto the cooled loaf cake using a pastry brush, leaving it to dry slightly then adding more glaze if you like.
  7. Cut using a sharp knife. Store leftovers lightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Store lemon poppy seed loaf cake lightly wrapped at room temperature, or in an airtight container at room temperature. It will keep for 3-4 days.