poppy seed lemon cake

A whopping eight years ago, I joined a friend and her family for an afternoon at the then newly-opened Neue Galerie, which seriously, you should check out some time when you’re in my city. (Look at me, playing tourist guide!) The early 20th century German and Austrian art is fantastic but even more wonderful is the Cafe Sabarsky within which models itself after a turn-of-the-century Viennese cafe. But really, I don’t want to talk about the Kadinskys or the Kavalierspitz today, I want to talk about this cake. That I had there that day. That I have not shut up about since.


I wasn’t even the one who ordered it. Eight years ago, things called “lemon poppy seed cake” were ubiquitous, and largely nothing to write home about. I never understood what the poppy seeds were doing there, all sparse like occasional punctuations, adding… visual interest? It was generally unclear. They were lemon cakes, and not even great ones, with speckles. But this cake. THIS CAKE. (Sorry, it makes me shouty.) First its appearance: Poppy seeds clustered so densely, the cake was nearly black. I’d never seen anything like it — so intriguing, so ominous! And its texture: It managed to be one of the lightest cakes I’d ever eaten, without the blandness that’s all-too-common in angel food, chiffon and other “airy” confections. And the flavor: It tasted like lemon-scented butter, without the acidity typical in lemon cakes. This was about the perfume of the lemon, not the juice. And the poppy seeds! Did you know that poppy seeds actually do have a flavor — a slight nuttiness — should you allow enough of them in that they can actually speak up?

poppy aplentyzest, not juiceegg yolks, whipped ever-so-lightspeckled batter

I have spent nearly a decade yammering about this cake to everyone who had the misfortune to tune in. “It was black!” and “Tiny crunches everywhere!” and “It was like nothing you’d expect!” and more succinctly, “Butter!” ad infinitum. I have told Alex about it a gazillion times (it predates even him!), friends and family, even wee Jacob (he was aghast). I gushed over it, babbled about it, praised it, talked it up so mightily that I began to worry that should this cake and I be reunited that it would not live up to it’s bronzed image in my head. People, I did everything in the world but one tiny thing.

poppy seed lemon cake
poppy seed lemon cake

I did not Google it. And had I Googled it before last week I would have made a downright earth-shattering discovery: That Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner published this lemon poppy seed cake recipe in Food & Wine six whole years ago, almost as long as it has been off the menu at the cafe. Almost as long as it could have been in my repertoire, but was not. I hope that you will never come to know such regret.

poppy seed lemon cake

Too many egg whites to use up? Try one of these recipes: Spingy Fluffy Marshmallows, Mom’s Chocolate Chip Meringues, Mixed Berry Pavlova, 7-Minute Frosting, Chewy Amaretti Cookies, Sugar and Spice Candied Nuts, Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake, Pink Lady Cake, Almond Raspberry Layer Cake and, of course, in droves, Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

One year ago: Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew
Two years ago: Lemon Bars
Three years ago: World Peace Cookies

Poppy Seed Lemon Cake
Adapted, barely, from Kurt Gutenbrunner via Food & Wine

As excited as I was about finally finding this recipe as I set about baking it I was consumed with doubt. “Only two-thirds of a cup of sugar? A half cup of flour to eight yolks and one whole egg? How can this work? This will never work. I shouldn’t make this. I hate throwing nearly a dozen eggs out, and the skins of two gorgeous organic lemons…” Fortunately I eventually shut up and can assure you, this is the cake I’d been looking for all along: a zillion tiny cracking poppy seeds, fragrant with lemon and loud with butter.

Yes, I reversed the “lemon” and “poppy seed” in the title as I was convinced that the emphasis was on the wrong sylable, as they say.

2/3 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt (edited to add this)
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
1/2 cup poppy seeds (I got this from one 3-ounce spice bottle)

Preheat the oven to 325°F Butter and flour an 8-inch* fluted Bundt or tube pan generously. (This cake very much wants to stick. Don’t let it!) Butter the dull side of a 10-inch piece of foil.

* I only had a 10-inch and it worked fine; the cake was done about 10 minutes sooner.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the sugar with the egg yolks and whole egg at medium-high speed until the mixture is pale yellow and very fluffy, about 8 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest. Sift the flour and cornstarch over the egg mixture and fold in along with the pinch of salt with a rubber spatula. At medium speed, beat in the butter, then beat in the poppy seeds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and cover tightly with the buttered foil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the cake pulls away from the side of the pan and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the foil and let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely before serving, at least 30 minutes.

Do ahead: The cake can be wrapped in plastic and foil and left at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

408 comments on poppy seed lemon cake

  1. hoodz82

    mmmm I love lemon poppey seed cake, especially the poppey seeds! so I’m liking the switch up…definately going to try it!

  2. Wow, a 1/2 cup poppy seeds! I’ve heard toasting them can bring out their flavor, but they are so tiny, I worry about burning them.

    That and I have a serious aversion to recipes that call for only yolks or only whites. What do you do with the rest of the egg. Someone should make a blog post of the different options for left over yolks and left over whites. Really, someone should.

  3. Wow, this sounds amazing. I absolutely love the flavor of Poppy Seeds. Lemon poppyseed cake is my all time favorite. I might have to make this today!! What a perfect Saturday afternoon project. I may have to try Meyer Lemon though.

  4. Marisa

    I just heard of this restaurant today — an hour ago, in fact! Can’t wait to try the recipe, lemon poppyseed (or poppyseed lemon) is a divine combination.

  5. I’ve got to agree with ‘Foy Update’, it sounds amazing but I can never bring myself to make cakes (or almost anything really) that call for only whites or yolks. I don’t particularly like meringues or angel food cake, and I’m opposed on principle to egg white omelets, so I find myself stuck. Often I try the recipes substituting half as many whole eggs as yolks/whites called for…it doesn’t tend to work out quite the same, but perhaps I shall try it anyway.

  6. I’ve often yammered on and on about a cake that was featured in an HBO film, Dinner With Friends, Limone Mondale Polenta. I have yet to find a recipe that resembles what was shown, and the director did not offer a recipe. I’ve often wished I could recreate the meal they shared, Grilled Lamb, Pumpkin Risotto, and this Limone Mondale Polenta. Glad to see someone else had success in something similar – gives me hope!

  7. Amy

    Wow! This looks absolutely beautiful. It may be the first thing that gets baked by me this year. Thank you for posting the recipe! I’m glad that you finally Googled it. ;)

  8. Yum! My future mother-in-law makes a scrumptious lemon poppy seed cake… but she won’t give me the recipe until I marry into the family… argh. I’m going to try your recipe and see if it blows hers out of the water! LOL (I secretly hope it does) Thanks for posting!

  9. Elise

    This looks amazing! If I want to make it in a regular 9×5 loaf pan (sadly I don’t own a tube pan), should I halve it like your other lemon cake/orange chocolate chip cake recipes? I can’t wait to throw this into rotation with the lemon cake, which is probably my all-time favorite recipe you’ve ever posted.

  10. ah ha…I got a meyer lemon tree for christmas and wanted a new lemon recipe to try. THANK YOU! I love poppy seeds. I would make it right now, except I have no poppy seeds. I’ve never bought poppy seeds. I don’t even know if you can get poppy seeds at a regular grocery store, but if you can I’m borrowing my neighbor’s car to go get some!!

    1. deb

      Shauna — “I got a meyer lemon tree for christmas”. Great! Now my previously-awesome presents pale in comparison, and all I want to know is why WE can’t have a lemon tree. (In our tiny apartment. In NYC.) Do you see what you’ve started?

  11. Ooooh yes. Here in Austria, we loooove poppy seeds. That’s why we put lots of it in our cakes and sweet dishes. And by the way, your cake looks delicious – could do with a liiittle more poppy-seed though ;o)
    Greetings from far far away Austria,

  12. Marie M.

    Hi to post #2. Just to concur with Deb and David. Leftover whites can be frozen quite easily and successfully. I take a heavy glass (one-cup) measuring cup and place a small plastic bag (the kind with the red slide top) in it. Break and separate the eggs putting the whites into your plastic bag. Then slide the bag shut, lie flat and freeze. Use a marker to write how many egg whites are in the bag. (Or, if you’re like me you can always measure out the egg whites to use in a recipe. I don’t know the equivilants off hand but just google it. As: one egg white = so many tablespoons.) I’ve kept whites in the freezer for, oh, easily a year or more and then take out and let defrost at room temp. There are plenty of great recipes for egg whites. Two of my favorites are Deb’s. The Flour-less Chocolate Walnut cookies and merengues. Fry them up for the doggie. I’d like to point out something recipes rarely mention. I let my egg whites sit at room temp for at least 24 hours before using in many recipes. I don’t know if it’s just me, or it’s some kinda chemical reaction, but I find certain recipes seem to work better if the egg whites are allowed to “rest” outside the fridge for a good 24-36 hours. Good luck!

    Deb — beautiful cake! A cousin of mine went to the Neue Galere and told me next time I’m in New York to go to there straight from the airport.

  13. Now that sounds like an amazing cake. I had no idea that poppy seeds actually tasted something, I’ve used blue poppy seeds on the top of a chocolate cake, but mainly as decoration. And lemons that work so well in desserts!
    Will try this cake immediately!

  14. Sasa

    They *are* good with the poppy seed cakes over here in Austria – I ate a superlative one which had a similar base as yours (if base is the right word, it was pretty thick) and then a cheesecake top at Schoenbrunn, the Kaiser’s palace.
    Will try this right now to make up for a rather nasty banana cake moment I had earlier – I have several tried and true banana cake recipes but am obsessed with finding one that has those black speckles that old ladies always seemed to have in theirs in childhood bake sales in NZ…I’d be forever grateful if anyone has such a thing, pretty please in advance.

    1. Kimberly Gaudinski

      Hi! I think those speckles come from having very old bananas. I let my bananas get really yellow with brown spots and then I freeze them for later. My banana bread always has those black flecks when it is done cooking. Hope that helps!

  15. I had a similar experience with Poppy seed cake while visiting Germany a long, long time ago. I had the best cake ever with tons of poppy seeds… I was too young to remember the other flavors because my taste buds were just wired on the poppy seeds. I never found the recipe again… but your story does give me hope. A trip to Germany might help? We are all poppy seed lovers in my family (my children loved poppy seeds bagels!) so I’ll definitively try this recipe out. What’s your next raving-but-yet-to-discover recipe?

  16. I have a wonderful white cake I like to make (America’s test kitchen) that uses only egg whites and I usually end up throwing out all the yolks – next time for an extended family dinner I will have to make this cake at the same time. I like the sound of the extra poppyseeds and butter. Thanks for searching out the recipe.

  17. Devon

    My mother-in-law’s poppy seed cake recipe calls for a whopping 3/4 cup poppy seeds and it is fantastic! It is a very similar recipe, but with a little more sugar. Also, the poppy seeds are soaked in warm milk for 2 hours before adding to the batter. I have tried it both with and without this step (because I forgot), and, it does make a difference. The soaking process softens the poppy seeds so they just burst with flavor after baking.

    Thanks for the inspiration. It has been several years since I have made this cake; its about time.

  18. to get the best taste from poppy seeds you can put it in blender for few seconds. I make poppy seeds cake with apples and walnuts. Apples give more juicy taste for this cake.

  19. We’re planning on growing some lemon trees in our garden this spring/summer. This will be a great recipe to try with our own home-grown lemons! But I doubt I’ll be able to wait that long, so thank goodness the grocery store is just down the road. Great post! Jacob just gets cuter by the day.

    P.S. Did you use a standard tube (the tall ones used for angel food cake), or did you use a shallower one? I noticed your cake isn’t as high as the typical tube pans I see (and not in a bad way!). I like the height of the cake–it looks just right.

  20. Francheska

    Oh my gooood! I made the recipe from joy of baking and I fell in love with it why did I have see this just when im about to go gah!

  21. Eliz @FreeFoodBoston

    1/2 cup of cornstarch? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a cake recipe that called for that much. Do you happen to know what it does for the cake?

    1. deb

      Eliz — It makes for a lighter and more delicate cake. Cake flour is simply regular flour with a bit of cornstarch in it — think of this as an extra- extra silky cake flour.

      Flavia — I think it is a standard one; they mostly come in either 9- or 10-inch in the U.S. However, you would get a much more squared, taller slice (mine is kinda squat) if you had an 8-inch tube pan — I remember the slice at the Cafe looking square.

      Devon — That is a great tip, thanks.

  22. I got my parents to plant a Meyer Lemon tree in their Florida backyard years ago. My dad sent me 2 cartons this past fall filled to the brim with lemons! Oh did we enjoy them! I roasted chickens with the lemons, baked with the lemons and even made some lemonade. What a difference MEYER lemons make in recipes!

  23. Helen

    Here is Turkey, the town of Afyon (once famous for its opium, after which it is named) has a traditional poppyseed bread. It looks rather like cinnamon or Chelsea buns (unglazed of course!) but is savoury, greasy and wonderful. The dough itself is an almost cakey bread mix (I’m guessing regular rather than strong flour, but well kneaded) and the “cinnamon swirl” is a rich and oily paste of crushed poppy seeds. It’s addictive stuff (unsurprisingly, given the town’s pedigree)… If it weren’t for the fact that to make it I would currently need to crush all the seed by hand, I’d have made it already. Although perhaps I’m better off only being able to get my fix when I’m passing through Afyon (I’ve yet to see it in Istanbul: the downside of the rich local food culture here)!

  24. Lindsey

    Sasa – I make a lot of banana bread with those black speckles in it and they come from using near-rotten bananas. Let them sit out til the peel is nearly black, then freeze until you have enough or are ready to make your cake. Sounds nasty, tastes delicious!

    Deb, this looks so great – and I only have to get two tiny things from the store to make it! Which means it might be my project for this evening. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.

  25. this is definitely on my list of “omg-i-have-to-make-this.” It looks oh so incredible, but of course, i just made your pear bread, and I can only have so many cake-type foods in the house at once. I just wanted to add that I bet this cake would be good with a lemon glaze on top (if someone wanted an alternative to sprinkled powdered sugar), i frequently make lemon poppy seed cookies and the glaze always makes me happy! Also, on the thread about what to do with egg whites – i freeze mine in an ice tray (with plastic wrap covering) and use them later in my favorite Almond Cake or in Angel Food Cakes (nothing healthy here!)

  26. Jessica

    I adore lemon poppyseed anything and I’m definitely going to have to try this. Call me paranoid though – does anyone know if this many poppy seeds will result in a positive drug test?

    Devon, I’m intrigued by the soaking of the poppy seeds – I’ll definitely be trying that.

  27. Liz C.

    To people with a whole foods nearby, or any kind of store that sells bulk spices: you can get poppy seeds in bulk, and I believe they cost less than getting a jar of them.

  28. I love the Neue Gallerie and the Klimt and Egon Schiele paintings!
    Cafe Sabrasky is also a special place. It’s like you have been transported to Vienna for lunch! We had the best goulash and pastries and a nice visit there.
    This cake is right up my alley!
    Enjoy your weekend Debra!

  29. Symphonic Chef

    Stunning. A perfect one for your collection of “every day cakes” (because every day should include cake!) Um, and I hate to be this person, but because I know you do correct your occasional typos, “when your in my city” could use fixin’. Aaaand now I feel like my dead grammar-policing Granny, bless her soul.

  30. Waaay back when, in 1969, maybe 1970, one of my colleagues in Vancouver, a stunningly ethereal girl named Sharon Schepkowski, brought this cake to work. I have never forgotten it (clearly): there was never a crunch so nutty and fragile and totally delicious…

  31. two things: (1) my mama, love her, but she made this cake with lemon pudding and it had such a dry crumb, you were in danger of choking if you took a breath with a mouthful of crumbs. abhorrent, i tell you. and, i never understood/tasted the poppy seeds. its so retro, i could never find a replacement/updated recipe so, i thank you!

    (2) i have always found poppy seeds in the spice section of the market. the little bottles for a lotta price. have you found them in a larger quantity?

    1. deb

      whitney — My bottle was only a few bucks, but was not exactly a good spice brand. Penzeys (or if you’re in NYC, they’re in Grand Central) is one good place for bulk spices; many other online shops sell bulk spices as well, search around, you’ll find better prices.

  32. june2

    My mother, who was Polish, used to make the poppyseed cake from the back of the can of Solo (brand) poppyseed filling, strangely always available at most big chain grocery stores, and we moved around the country quite a lot. It was always on the shelves in the baking section next to things like marzipan. God, how we loved that cake. Talk about black? Yeah. Toasted with butter the next morning was my fAVORITE way to eat this.

  33. Christine Moseley

    Delicious- re the egg whites freeze un clen container til you have enough for a mocha angle food cake or merrange cookies or smaller conatiners o egg wash for baguettes.

  34. The butter is mixed in at the end, that must make for a wonderful, dreamy cake. I’ve never seen a method for a cake like this one and that can mean only one thing — must buy poppy seeds! What do you think Deb, should I try it with brown butter?

    And this goes without saying but adorable Jacob will never stop being the cutest baby I’ve ever seen. So much hair!

  35. Well, I was going to comment that you have the best photos of any blog I have seen and also the cake looks swell. From the top I thought it was filled with chocolate, which would be nice, but I suppose it’s just part of the plate.
    But really, that girl with the Meyer Lemon tree present- It’s like reading Town and Country. You just shouldn’t unless you have millions of dollars.
    Dad is in FL for the winter but he sends me thise honeybelle oranges which are good but I would rather have the lemons, which are free down there. Actually it’s all in the name. The taste is just like a lemon.

    1. deb

      Giovani — We think alike! As soon as I see a recipe needing melted butter I think, “I could BROWN it.” (As I mentioned in the caramel pudding post.) Let us know how it goes if you try it.

      Che sera Cook — Ha, crumbs. The outside of the cake had almost this papery (but not dry, soft and delicious, promise) crumb falling off of it. I don’t really style pictures (because I’m lazy) so yep, there it is.

  36. Chris

    About the name… has always been, from my perspective, that the first part is the lesser….. Therefore, if you want “lemon” to be recessive, put it first. Lemon Poppy Seed Cake….. Same thing with saying the color is blue-green. It’s really more green but with ‘some’ blue! I think I’ll stick with the original! (Sorry…always prone to putting in my two cents’ worth!)

  37. One of the few articles I’ve ever heard about the taste of poppy seeds. I’ve found that putting poppy on my onion and bacon ladder bread not only sells alot more bread, the flavor of the onion is more complex and grounded in a nuttiness that compiments the flavor of the bread (and of course the bacon).
    After reading this post, I may try a bread with lemon zest and poppy. Thanks for the idea.

  38. Susan

    Uh oh..this is a sponge cake. I have a black spatula with those. Your hook for me to try this cake is not only the poppy seeds (I adore their flavor and crunch), but the idea of lemon “perfumed” cake. That’s how I like lemon in cakes; a pefume of it’s flavor. I made a blueberry buckle during it’s season and I rubbed the sugar with strips of lemon zest, just to perfume it. It was the loveliest flavor as it didn’t take ove, but enhanced the blueberries. I see you have added the zest, is that necessary to this cake or would perfuming the sugar be enough?

  39. oh man. i have to make this…. i had a recipe for lemon poppyseed muffins sitting on top of my fridge for a while (and since I’m short, I really never look at it…) but now i’m glad it’s still there b/c i can replace it with this one! yyyyuuuuummmmm…

  40. Amanda -_-*

    *is about to send her citrus-allergic child to his grandma’s house so she can make this cake* If only Grandma didn’t live half the country away… I suppose making it without the lemon zest would just be wrong, wouldn’t it?

  41. Oh, Yum! Thing 1 loves anything that ever thought about getting close to a lemon. I’ll make this for when she gets back home from visiting Hula Grandma! Thanks for sharing!

  42. Jeff

    Wow, as usual. A maybe basic question: the recipe says to use the whisk attachment but the pic shows the paddle attachment. Does it make a difference? Details are everything when it comes to cakes, I’m learning.

    1. deb

      Jeff — I just read your comment and blinked a few times. You are absolutely right, I used the wrong attachment. And I pride myself on following recipes (that I share with you all) to the letter. Turns out, both work! But, you’ll probably get the mixture even more airy and light with the whisk.

      Serial — I live at sea level so I have just about zero experience adapting things for high altitudes. If you have the Joy of Cooking I remember that they have a few paragraphs of high altitude baking tips in the back or front. (I used them the one time I cooked at 4,000 feet.) As for your other questions: Yes, you can use a hand mixer but I’d beat those egg yolks a few minutes longer to make up for its lesser power. It’s always good practice to have all of your cake ingredients at room temperature when baking, eggs included. However! I did not (I’m on a pretty tight schedule these days!) and had no problem getting volume from them.

      Elise — I missed your question earlier but yes, in theory, two loaf pans would be the correct exchange for a 10-inch bundt or a tube. However, since this recipe actually calls for a smaller tube, you might find your cakes especially squat (my tube cake is, as you can see in the last picture) and not as squared off as you might be used to for loaf cakes. Do let us know if you bake it this way; I am sure others will appreciate the feedback.

  43. One of my absolute favorite dessert spots in New York and the best place to take anyone visiting. It never occurred to me to Google their recipes either but Ill be looking for the klimttorte from now on.

  44. Denise Rivers

    I have always wondered why I was so addicted to lemon poppyseed cakes. It just occurred to me, opium and poppy seeds come from the same plant. Coincidence? I think not. This is getting made tomorrow…I have a sudden jones for it! Thanks again!

  45. So I have to tell you, Deb, that you’re the reason I bake. I started reading your blog last summer, and following your tutorials, I baked bread and pies all summer long.

    Fifteen happy pounds later (more if you add in the paunch my boyfriend is developing), I’m ready to take on cake, despite my fears related to a horrible cake-making experience a few years ago. But I have really basic questions: Do I need to have the eggs at room temp? And I don’t have a stand mixer, does an electric hand mixer change the mixing times? Also, I’m at a high elevation and in the relatively dry high desert. With breads and pies, I often cut out about 1/4 cup of flour to make the recipes work. Should I make any adjustments to the measurements in this one?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I want to get it right this time!

  46. Jen

    I have always wondered why poppy seeds get the shaft when it comes to any sort of lemon poppyseed cake/muffin. I much prefer the poppyseeds to the lemon flavor! So, yeah, maybe I’ll have to try this one out!

  47. Alice

    Holy god, that’s a lot of butter.

    I’m interested to try this – after having to go gluten-free this year, I’m wary of most things that involve ‘regular’ flour where the texture is super-important. Since this almost seems like more of a solidified rich custard, though, I’m gonna get to ‘sperimenting once I can find a source for the vast quantity of poppy seeds called for. (And once I make sure I haven’t got any interviews for substance abuse counseling positions coming up. That volume of poppy would blast the bagel cases away.)

  48. Lenore

    I’ve made two poppyseed-rich sweets–hamentaschen and Moosewood Ukrainian Poppyseed Cake, which is basically a poppyseed pound cake. Both get that dense poppyseed flavor from soaking the poppyseeds in hot milk first (for hamentaschen, it’s milk & honey). You then let the mixture cool before adding it to the recipe.

    There’s no liquid in this recipe, but I don’t know what brings the nutty poppy flavor out–the heat or the moisture. Perhaps you might experiment with adding the poppyseeds to the butter when you melt it?

  49. Hi Deb, this looks wonderful, and I will try it – but I also have a question. Do you make or know of a recipe for poppy seed roll? Poppy seed roll was made by a beloved family member and I think the recipe went away with her when she passed years ago. When I saw this post, I jumped, because her roll also used lemon and was dusted with powdered sugar. But if I remember right it was filled with poppy seed paste. I have seen one recipe online, but it looked dry – not moist. The color of this cake is actually very similar. Any idea?
    Thank you, as always.. Michaela

  50. For folks looking for a large quantity of poppy seeds try your local bagel store. A friend who lives in Queens does that and they often give them to her for free (helps if you are buying a bagel or two at the same time). That way she does not have to worry about how long the poppy seeds have been sitting on the shelf at the store.

    Also if you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge to come to room temperature just put them in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes before using them. I am looking forward to trying this cake.


  51. I’m REALLY surprised there’s not more lemon in this recipe (thinking it might have been accidentally omitted I checked the link – sorry for doubting you!), and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to resist adding some — hoping for more lemon flavor rather than scent.

  52. Hannah C

    I’m a lazy, baking luddite. Thoughts on how horribly this recipe would turn out if done by hand without a mixer?

    Serial- I used to live at 5000 ft. above sea level, and we never altered our recipes, which meant our cakes always fell, but they taste fine. I doubt you’d notice it in a bundt pan anyways.

  53. Oh my, I have to try this. I am with your on the lemon poppy, they are one of my favorite pairing but often in a bad tasting cake.

    Corn starch works great in cakes to lighten up the texture. I would love to try to make this gluten free, for some of my customers.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  54. jeannie


    This cake looks delicious. I have two comments. First make sure your poppy seeds are fresh because if the are old they can become rancid and taste bitter.
    I also wanted to correct Deb. Cake flour is not just regular flour with cornstarch. It is a lower protein flour so that cakes made with it are more tender because of the lower protein( gluten) content. You can use regular flour mixed with cornstarch as a substitute for cake flour though.
    Take care,


  55. For all you folks with lemon trees, you can grow your own poppy seeds, too! Plant poppy seeds in early spring and harvest pods early to mid summer – shaking out to release the seeds. Now, if only you could grow/grind your own flour………….

  56. Oh, this looks GORGEOUS. I love dense poppyseed cakes – my grandma makes a crazy poppyseed strudel that’s completely amazing – and I feel like I’m going to fall in love with this. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  57. This looks positively delicious! I recently bought some poppyseeds just because they were so cute and hadn’t thought of what to do with them yet, this will be perfect!

    Also do you know if this cake will freeze well? Thanks!

  58. Francheska

    I saw this post before I went to a birthday party and I wanted to get here already so I could read it! I just did and WOW that’s a LOT of eggs…and butter, My mom cant see me making this her eyes wouldl pop out of her skull but I want to try it anyway, I’m crazy about lemon poppy seed anything! pancakes, bread, muffins you name it.

    The first time I tried this combination was from here

    I loved the tangy taste and those super cute black specs of poppy seed, Ill try this cake but im thinking about using the lemon syrup from that recipe oh I cant wait!!

    And one last thing, I’m in love with this blog, I get home from work all happy and giddy cause I cant wait to try new recipes!

  59. We got it all baked up and are enjoying it right now ~ Wonderful!!
    I couldn’t resist drizzling a lemon glaze over it — and liked the results.
    Thanks for a fantastic dessert idea.

  60. CMM

    I made this today, but something didn’t go quite right. It was incredibly dry and dense and not at all light and airy. I’m wondering if I baked it for too long. I had it in an 8 inch bundt pan and left it in for 45 minutes. I checked it after 35 and it wasn’t done yet, but maybe I should have gone for 40? I’ll have to try it again sometime.

  61. This looks so good! I love lemon poppy seed bread but have never made anything like it. Your recipe looks easy and it’ll force me to use my bundt pan that mostly sits in the back of the cupboard!

  62. Jen McLeod

    I am SOO excited to make this cake it sounds like it will be amazing! The only thing I am curious about is why did you throw out so many egg whites? make meranges! so yummy and easy to do!

  63. Froode

    I always find that the poppyseeds in lemon poppyseed cakes don’t make enough of their presence known. Here in Germany the poppyseed cakes are so dense with them that they’re practically black. This here cake looks like a happy medium, with the glorious pairing with lemon. Thanks Deb!

  64. Leticia

    Speaking of cakes with a large amount of butter…
    Several years ago I was attempting to make Butterkuchen (German butter cake) and I incorrectly measured the amount of butter to put into the cake. Uh, I doubled it actually.
    It was a really really moist cake. I think we still liked it. I remember feeling pretty silly though. Hee hee!
    Whenever I make anything with poppy seeds I always nibble on a few plain. They taste so good!
    I also remember some recipe of my mothers involving soaking poppy seeds in milk. The idea of adding the poppy seeds to the butter when it melts is intriguing also.

  65. Well, I really got excited about making this cake, so I did, and it was good, but didn’t have enough “wow” as I expected. Maybe it’s my own personal sweet tooth preference, or it could be that I used lemons from my backyard… but I topped it off with whipped cream and it definitely made the flavors pop more. Thanks for sharing this though, I love trying out these recipes!

  66. Julia

    Wow – this looks immense! Poppy seeds are so underrated in the UK & US, but on the continent they can’t seem to get enough of them. Poppy seeds and pasta are a favourite even… I can’t wait to try this!

  67. Lauren (UK)

    I make your lemon-yoghurt-anything cake, adding a generous amount of poppy seeds, fairly regularly, and it is always incredibly well-received. To date, I have used it, or variations thereof, as; an anniversary party sheet cake with a cream cheese frosting (scaling the recipe up by about a gajillion), a hangover-recovery breakfast cake (as in “it has seeds in it, ergo, it’s a breakfast food”), two miniature loaf cakes in adorable little miniature loaf tins, a bundt cake and a layer cake, with lemon curd filling.

    Needless to say, I will now have to do all of the above with this new recipe, to see how it compares. I will be fat and very lemony by the end of 2010…

  68. Anne

    haven’t read trough all other comments , maybe someone else mentioned it also:
    but: the best poppyseed-lemon cake is this one:
    (here, it’s canned but it works well uncanned also of course;also available in her cookbook, named after the blog)

    no need to throw egg whites away, it’s done in less than 15min , damn easy to prepare and the best: it’s delicious! :) just made it last Sunday…

  69. Maureen

    Love the writing, love the buildup, LOVE baby Jacob aghast! (he’s so cute it made me “shouty”) Almost enough to actually give baking a try. We’ll see.

  70. Casey

    If you are looking for something to do with the egg whites, I would make the Pink Lady Cake, also posted on this site, since it uses exactly 8 egg whites, and tastes amazing :)

  71. Dorrie

    If you need two cakes, you can make your almond raspberry layer cake and use up the egg whites. My goal is to eventually make all the cakes on your blog. They all sound so good and the ones I have tried have not disappointed anyone.

  72. Hi Deb…
    Just wiping the crumbs of my mouth after feasting on this gorgeous, moist, homespun cake. Happened to have everything on hand and dove right into making it early this Sunday morning for my family, even before I had my first cup of coffee…cause that’s the kind of Mom I am. (yeh sure)
    Anyway…kudos to you girl, for doing such a great job on this site…handsome Jacob in tow. I’m a very involved happy gramma to 2 babies born 11 months apart and know the work & joy involved.
    Thanks for the humour. Love it!

  73. Leigh

    Deb, your writing is so friendly and inviting… like hanging out with an old girlfriend (old as in years of fun spent together)! Your son is so adorable and your pictures of him are gorgeous! I copied some of the angles of the pictures you took of him with my 5 month old daughter! Would love it if you had more vegetarian or simple meals as opposed to desserts (which I am sure are heavenly but just can’t indulge in that often!)

  74. My friend is always going on about lemon poppy seed cakes and how much she loves them. I have been hankering to try to make one and this is a good excuse to do it! I am going to have to see what she thinks!

  75. Meg

    Gardener’s Eden: I hunted down poppy seed roll recipes over Christmas to recreate my Hungarian grandmother-in-laws Christmas creation. My in-laws called it Kolach, but the cookbook pics did not match my memory. I finally found what I wanted in Rick Rodgers ” Kaffeehaus” , called beigli or Hungarian Walnut Roulades.This fooled me as it is a dense yeast bread, not encouraged to rise, so it more cakelike. I made one with the walnuts another with the poppyseed paste (canned) and impressed the in-laws!
    Not sure if this is what your searching for….
    Deb, as always Gorgeous, with extra points for doing such stellar work with an infant!

  76. Rebecca

    For me, dealing with leftover yolks is way harder than dealing with leftover whites. Leftover whites = delicious egg white omelet, one of life’s joys. Leftover yolks… I never have any idea. I guess I need to learn how to make lemon curd.

    Or just make a lot of poppy seed lemon cakes :-) It looks amazing. I tend to get little seeds uncomfortably lodged into the crevices of my teeth… but this cake might be worth the risk :-)

  77. pamela pamela

    I adore poppy seeds and use them for alot of different applications

    I buy nouilles from France when I go a small rectagulalr package of egg noodles
    (so any small noodle will do) after they have been boiled I drain them, butter them and then add about 1T, of poopyseeds to 3 cups of noodles…this is my comfort food.
    rice is also nice done this way with small bits of carrot cooked along with the rice for color..
    then there is 3 color sauteed peppers and onion with poppyseeds added just before serving…
    also nice as a spread on toast in the morning : mix honey,nutmeg and a smalll squeeze of freah orange juice with 2T, of poppyseeds…
    its a ppseed thing…enjoy

  78. I’m going to have to try this, first in the original form, and then in an almond adaptation for my dad who can’t stomach lemon flavored poppyseed cake. Any suggestions as to your favorite almond flavoring?

    I can’t wait til you can taste-test this stuff on Jacob! All the cute expressions that will bring- oy!

  79. Wendy

    This recipe makes me think of Seinfeld – when Elaine ate the poppyseed muffin, then had a drug test and tested positive for Opium — hilarious :)

    I haven’t had poppyseed cake in years, it brings back so many memories – I must try it!!

  80. Miromurr

    I visited a friend in Warsaw about 20 years ago, and was served a poppy seed cheese cake which apparently was a traditional recipe. It was very moist, possibly made with ricotta cheese (or rather some Polish variety, since this was in 1989). I also think it had a hint of lemon flavour to it, with lots of poppy seeds. I have longed to taste it again, and now realize that maybe I should google it. Thank you! :)

  81. Sarah

    I mos def will be making this…! I LOVE poppyseeds (a/k/a “mohn”.) Deb, if you’ve discovered a heretofore unknown love for poppyseeds, I recommend you seek out the company of a talented Jewish cook and ask for a batch of mohn hamantaschen. You know, those triangular pastries some bakeries carry, most of which are completely dull and have apricot or prune filling? Skip them, shoot for the mohn! I have seen poppyseed filling in cans (have not dared to try it), here’s the recipe I use to make it.

    Poppyseed filling

    2 cups poppyseed
    Boiling water (@ 3 – 4 cups)
    1 cup water or milk (kosher if milk is used if serving with a dairy meal; I use milk)
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/2 cup honey
    pinch of salt (1/8 tsp)
    1 egg, well beaten

    Pour boiling water over poppyseeds; let stand until seeds have settled, then drain and grind (Cuisinart serves for this, or you could use a clean coffee grinder and do it in batches). Transfer the poppyseeds to a saucepan, add the milk or water, honey, sugar and salt and cook over low flame, stirring frequently, until thickened. Allow to cool, then add the egg and mix well.

    For those who are citrus-averse, or allergic, I’d recommend making your cake without the citrus zest — sacrilege, I know, but if someone can’t eat citrus, at least they could enjoy the poppyseeds — this filling is delicious when swirled into a rich pound cake instead of chocolate. A Bosnian friend and I were walking around in the East Village and I thought he would FAINT when we came upon a bakery that had coffee cakes in the window with this type of filling. He hadn’t seen anything like it since he came to NYC and it was like a breath of home.

  82. Erica

    Yum, I love the flavour of poppyseeds! My Croatian grandma makes a traditional cake, which is a yeast dough spread with ground poppyseed filling (grinding them releases the flavour) then rolled up and sliced. I love it for breakfast, toasted and buttered. Yum!
    And I love the pic of Jacob in every post that you do, he’s so adorable!

  83. Erica

    I made this cake this afternoon- and it was delicious. But with the buttered foil the cake didn’t brown on top- which didn’t matter in the end since it was inverted. Just wondering, why the foil and if it’s necessary for the entire cooking period?

  84. Stephanie

    I love the recipes you post~
    I’ve been in a baking frenzy and this recipe is added to my list to bake!

    Just visited the site for Neue Galerie, and it looks A-MAZING!! The art collection looks great but the cafe menu is breath taking! THank you for sharing about the museum!!

  85. Sandra

    Thank you for posting. I got a bit teary remembering how my grandma used to make me lemon poppy seed bundt cake every year for my birthday cake (my request). I always loved the popping/crunching of the poppy seeds and the moist cake! I desperately want to make this, though I’m job hunting and fear that I might get something where a drug test is required (w/ this many poppy seeds, I’m sure I’d set off the alarms!). I’ll wait, and then make it after I land somewhere. Thank you again. And, thank you for the pics of Jacob — so sweet.

  86. I saw this last night and just had to make it! Thank you!

    I can’t have gluten and so subbed half buckwheat flour and half of a gluten free flour mix and then used a regular 8″ round instead of a tube (just one pan was the perfect size, my cake came out about the same thickness as yours). At 45 minutes it was still very liquidy in the center, so I cooked it 15 more minutes. My cake was a little dry, so I probably should have taken it out 5 minutes earlier. Now I have a great cake I can make when friends come over AND I get to eat it as well.

  87. Ada

    Wow, this cake looks amazing! I love poppy seeds, especially in the traditional German (Hungarian?) poppy seed roll, which looks sort of like a jelly roll but made with a yeast-based dough and filled with a delicious poppy seed mixture.

    In regards to Serial’s question about high altitude baking, I used to live in a desert-dry environment at about 3500 feet, and I use a hand mixer. I never bothered timing myself regarding the mixing, I just go by how “mixed” it looks (and how mixed the recipe says it needs to be). Also, I never bothered to adjust any of the flour or leavening ingredients in the recipes and they turned out fine. Honestly, now that I live at sea level I’m perplexed as to why stuff doesn’t rise as much. I hope that helps!

  88. Lothaire

    I tried this recipe out this afternoon. Very nice, but not as lemon-y as I’d expected. A little sweet lemon drizzle would be just the thing. :D

  89. Eunice

    Deb, can you read my mind????! I was just talking about lemon poppyseed muffins on Friday and now this? Blows muffins right out of their little paper wrappers. Too bad I didn’t check your site yesterday or my co-workers would be munching on this tomorrow. Tuesday morning will have to do for them :)

  90. Stasi

    Thanks for the recipe… mostly because I made 5 batches of swiss meringue buttercream and had 20 egg yolks to use. I added a pinch of salt. I am surprised that this recipe lacks a little salt. I think it tastes great and I love the “pop” of the poppy seeds. It is very rich… all those eggs and butter, so even just a small slice is satisfying. It is not disappointing at all; sometimes something like this ends up tasting weirdly reminiscent of lemon, overly sweet and the poppy seeds add no flavor, just teethpicking texture. Of course, dental floss should be served right after the cake, but it is worth it.

  91. Love the photos you took counting down the egg yolks, very clever and I really like your styling. I cannot believe 1/2 cup of poppy seeds. Will definitely have to try this one soon, especially while the lemons are popping off the trees out here in Oakland.

  92. Jennifer

    As usual, another great recipe! I decided to make them into cupcakes, and was able to yield a dozen. My only drama was that my Kitchenaid hand mixer, which is less than 2 years old, decided to die at the exact moment I needed it (right when I started to beat the yolks and sugar). The arm workout was horrendous but the treat that resulted at the end was worth it. Just promise me you won’t post anymore dessert items until I get a new mixer!

  93. Jo

    Just a comment about the best place to get poppy seeds. I have found that I can get a lot for a very reasonable price in the bulk bins at the health food store. The grocery stores usually only sell them in tiny spice bottles for high prices. Incidentally, I have also harvested lots of poppy seeds from poppies grown in my garden. Make sure that you have the right variety, though, so that you don’t have the police wandering around in your garden.

  94. Lochy

    Hi, can you please tell me the brand of your tube pan and where you bought it, I’m trying to find a plain one like yours but finding it hard. Thank you.

  95. I went to the store for Poppy seeds tonight. I almost had to buy 2 jars in the spice aisle. 2.5 ounces each, over $5 each. Fortunately, I remembered that the stores around me (Los Angeles) have the larger containers of spices with the white lid. The brand is called “It’s Delish!”

    I was able to get a 9 ounce jar of poppy seeds for $3. It seems that they never have this brand with the rest of the spices, it’s usually by the meat counter or a random aisle end. I also believe that Target has them. Hopefully that’s helpful to someone.

    I plan on making the cake tomorrow. Just deciding if I should go out and buy a Bundt pan or if I can just use a loaf pan.

  96. This looks delicious. I have a bunch of lemons I got from LocalHarvest and I’ve been looking for ways to use them up. Not sure if I’ll be able to find poppy seeds around here. I think I can grow them in the garden though, that’s a thought.

  97. This cake looks awesome, definitely going to try it. Thanks!
    Love how the food blog community works – Luisa from Wednesday Chef writing about Neue Galerie and Cafe Sabarsky, and now you!
    It’s inspired me to make a visit, next month on the free Friday! :)

  98. Lindsey

    So I made this, and it’s divine, but when I turned the cake out of the pan most of the top stuck to the pan. Not so pretty. Do you think I a) didn’t adequately butter and flour the pan (but I went after that pretty hard), b) didn’t let the cake cool in the pan long enough (gave it 15 minutes), or c) something I’m not thinking about? I’d like to make it again for a friend’s birthday but want something good-looking…

  99. I love the smell (and taste) of freshly grated lemon zest. You know, with as many times as I have eaten, and loved, lemon poppy seed muffins, I don’t know if I have ever seen poppy seeds in stores. Maybe I just never looked, so I don’t remember.

  100. This looks so so good. I have a whole jar of poppy seeds from another recipe so it appears they’ve found their calling.
    poppy seeds- Check out whole foods in the spices section. They are there!

  101. Deb – You could fit a potted dwarf meyer lemon tree in your apartment. I have one, and it does amazingly produce lemons despite being only a couple feet tall. Mine will only grow two lemons at a time, but it’s still pretty nice.

    Not sure if anyone mentioned freezing egg whites in ice cube trays. Makes it easy to count out however many you need for a recipe.

  102. This recipe looks great! I’ve often wondered the same thing about most lemon-poppy seed cakes – why put the seeds in if you can’t even taste them?? This recipe reminds me of a German cake called a Mohntorte – if you’re looking for great poppy seed flavour, I’d definitely recommend it. I ate it a lot while living in Austria, but it’s pretty hard to find (here in Canada at least!).

  103. Sunshine

    Another tip for egg whites: I use them in lower fat baking instead of an entire egg. It doesn’t make much different when baking quickbreads since those are usually so forgiving. If it’s only one or 2 eggs, I will use just one or two whites. If I am doubling/tripling/etc. the recipe, I will add extra whites as needed (for example 3 eggs might get 4 whites). I usually save the yolks for ice cream.

    My apologies if this was posted already, as I didn’t read through all of the comments.

  104. Carla

    Hi Deb!
    What a wonderful cake and great pictures! I have the same thing (talking about it since 5th grade) with a cake an italian girl brought to school and then left to Italy! It was absolutly heavenly, too bad I can´t google the recipe! ;)
    In Germany we use a lot of poppyseed to bake. And the cakes are really totally black. One is called “Mohnstollen” you can google that and will find wonderful pictures! And rolls or buns are made with poppyseed filling too. (“Mohnschnecken”)There is even a dumpling filled completely with poppyseed (“Germknödel”). I think we germans just love poppyseed =)

  105. LOVE the Neue Galerie and I love lemon cakes! I was wondering about the lack of salt here, as a person who thinks any baked good needs salt. Is the cake just so utterly perfect as is that you wouldn’t even bother trying it with a bit of salt?

    1. deb

      Salt! — Yikes. Yes, I think cakes need a pinch of salt too and totally forgot to mention that here. It’s not hurting without it, but I’d add it next time. (JUST a pinch, however. This cake is not particularly sweet.) Will update the recipe accordingly.

  106. Discovered your site today. Great site!

    We have two lemon trees in the backyard and have been looking for ways to use up the 100-200 lemons are are peak-of-season likerightnow.

    In the past couple of weeks, we’ve gone through about 20 recipes, all using lemon and/or lemon zest.

    Yesterday, I made a batch of homemade mayo. Today, Mexican lime pie (our neighbors also gifted us with a bucket of key limes).

    So now that I’ve used up 7 egg yolks, I’m in need of using up my 7 egg whites, and I refuse to do another omelet.

    Long story short, THANK YOU for tips on what to do with leftover egg whites. Swiss meringue buttercream is up next… probably to top off a lemon cake. :) [K]

  107. checkered apron

    Dear Deb,
    I have to thank you, as every time I come to your site hoping and wishing for a new post you always seem to be making exactly what I’m looking for. Having only been introduced to your blog a few months ago I feel like I’m racing to catch up for years of lost time. Time that could have been spent following your delightful commentary, lovely photos and ever-so appealing recipes! And yet, while I’ve not made it through even a fraction of your existing posts, I’m always dying to know what NEW idea might be posted next. This poppy seed cake is just the tip I needed for the brunch I’ve promised to make for my parents (after bragging to them about making your cranberry-vanilla coffee cake, I needed something to wow them!).
    Thanks for always adding a little joy to my week!

  108. How sad I was to see this line- “I got this from one 3-ounce spice bottle.”

    Deb- go to the bulk foods section and get yourself some cheaper poppy seeds! I could get 1/2 cup at my local (rural) grocer for $2.00 max, I’m sure there HAS to be something similar in your area.

    Thanks for sharing the cake, too. I just experienced a major let-down from a recipe with the same title, this looks 250% more promising.

  109. pnj

    i just made the cake and it is yummy (and i think it is always yummy on smitten kitchen!), but since i own an 8 inch tube pan, i went for the original dimensions. the cake really overflowed as it was cooking (which dropped onto the pizza stone i was too lazy to take out of the oven, which made all these sort of crispy cookie-like thing). anyhow, i think it might fit better in a 9 inch or the 10 inch you used….

  110. This looks fantastic! I love poppy-seed anything.

    (Though I have to say, the ads flanking this blog post for how to lose inches from your stomach leave something to be desired. Weight loss fads/scams on a cooking blog? Bleh. I’m sure you just use an ad service but maybe get them to pull that one from your rotations.)

  111. This looks so yummy! Deb, I LOVE your blog and read it religiously. In fact, you’ve inspired me to start my own cooking blog. Eep! I’m excited to see what you’re gonna cook up next.

  112. I made this tonight substituting Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose flour and zanthan gum for the wheat flour since I am gluten intolerant. It come out pretty good but I don’t think it was quite cooked through near the center (even though a toothpick came out clean.) The edges of the cake tasted GREAT but the center was a little squishy and had a strange taste. GFree subs are always a gamble. I made a glaze with lemon juice and powdered sugar and that REALLY made the lemon flavor sing. Thanks Deb!

  113. Marilee

    I purchased ½ cup of poppy seeds (2½ ounces) from the bulk section at my local health food store today for about $1.72. I have recently started buying my spices in this manner and using the containers I already have on hand at home. Every time you purchase spices in bottles in the grocery store, you’re paying for the container too. You also don’t know how long they’ve been on the shelf. I think the local health food store I buy from has a pretty good turnover on their bulk spices — that’s the key, in my opinion. ^_^

  114. Dora

    Perfect! I was just going to start my Poppyseed Phase. Last summer, spending a few days in Germany, I discovered that all these darkly speckled pieces of ‘Kuchen’ didn’t have chocolate in them, but ‘Mohn’. Then it took me another couple of months before I actually googled it, and found out that this surprising but delicious thing was poppyseed (mostly poppyseed paste). Now, all I need are the perfect poppyseed recipes. Thanks!

  115. *sigh* I wish I could make this cake *sigh*

    BUT Brazilian trade laws usually complicate the life of any cook.
    Do you believe they almost forbid people trading poppy seeds? If you want to sell these wonderful black freckles, you have to prove their origin and the burocracy is so highly improved that trenders have given up on bring them to Brazil…
    The same happens with fleur de sel and other delicious things.

    So sad…

    Anyway, congrats (your blog is on my top 3 list =D ) and thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  116. Joanna

    Wow – 9 eggs – brilliant! Our chickens are laying more eggs than we can keep up with at the moment so this will be perfect. Can’t wait to try it.

  117. zeta

    I strongly recommend to grind poppy seeds just before using them. This releases the oils from the seeds and the taste is much better!

  118. Well in response to the earlier gluten free adaptation, I also made this gluten free. I get excited when I see so little flour in a recipe. I substituted 1/2 cup buckwheat flour for the all purpose flour and baked it for 35 minutes in my tube pan. It is beautiful! Smells heavenly, rose beautifully, and tastes amazing. I love this recipe. I also didn’t have quite a half cup of poppy seeds, but it worked out just fine.

    Really lovely recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  119. Liz D.

    Deb, one of the zillion things I love about you is you are so PRACTICAL. I hadn’t even barely had a chance to think “but what will I do with all those egg whites??” when I saw your list of links of how to use them. You think of everything. I love it. Also, this cake looks to die for. I love poppy seeds and I too always wonder why they are for decoration only. My birthday is coming up soon (well, ok in three months, but I have to practice the cake first, right?) and I think this is going to have to make an appearance.

  120. Denise Rivers

    Just make this cake. SUBLIME. Used the wisk and it was a much fluffier batter but looks to have baked up the same. LOVELOVELOVE all the bite form the poppy fest in this one. Definitely a keeper.

  121. Symphonic Chef

    About to make this one, for a pot luck tomorrow. I’m wondering if I could baste the cake with lemon juice after it’s cooked- like some of the other lemon cakes (or maybe the grapefruit cake?) on this site. Or maybe it’s so moist that any extra juice wouldn’t be necessary. Love the drunken Jacob and the monkey Jacob,

  122. Caroline

    I made this cake last night and brought it into work with me. The recipe is so simple to follow and the cake was so yummy. I loved that it was not overly sweet. Everyone loved it. I made this in my new convection oven and it turned out perfectly. Thank you for the recipe!

  123. Jessi

    YUM. YUM. YUM.

    I use a Burt’s Bees Lemon Poppy Seed scrub in the shower. Next time I’m taking a bath and bring a slice of this with me. I love the excessive poppy seeds. The texture must be phenomenal.

  124. Gail

    I just made this for my husband who loves lemon poppyseed cake, thinking I would become a convert and he would be bowled over… but no. It was so understated, so refined, so staid and buttery, I sort of wanted it to speak up a bit. It seemed not lemony enough, and it could definitely benefit from a sugar glaze of some kind. I think I must be the only one who felt this way, though, judging from the previous comments. I have to say, though, I love! your site – this is the first recipe I haven’t rhapsodized over.

  125. Katia

    I love lemon everything but somehow I haven’t been to lucky lately. The cake turned out a bit bitter. Last week I tried your lemon and cranberry scones and the same thing happened. What could I be doing wrong? Any suggestions?

  126. Katia

    Thanks Deb, I will definately give this cake another try. I used a zester and I think I did it right, maybe I will try putting a little less zest. With the egg whites I did a Portuguese recipe, “Pudim de Claras”. If turns out good (I’ll try tonight) and you are interested, I will send you the recipe.

  127. I just made this cake this afternoon. Unfortunately, I’m on a strict diet so couldn’t try it! I substituted white whole wheat flour for the regular flour. It was a little unusual in that it didn’t have any baking powder or soda in it and I was wondering if you’d missed something, but it did rise up nicely. My husband said it was delicious and the kids all ate two small slices. Yummm.

  128. So, I’m not sure what happened to my cake. Don’t get me wrong, it was ok, but really no different than any other Lemon Poppyseed Cake I have ever had. It was really dense and a bit dry. Could it be possible that I whisked it too long? I whisked 8 minutes on medium high like the recipe said. Three minutes in it looked light and fluffy, but by eight minutes it was the consistency of meringue. When the directions said to beat I switched to the paddle attachment as I saw it was the one you were using in the photos. Was this the correct thing to do? In your photo, this appears to be a very moist cake, maybe I am wrong?

  129. Jennie Padilla

    Very poppy seedy! I must admit that I’d never particularly cared for poppy seeds until tonight. In fact, I’m not sure what prompted me to even make this cake, but I’m sure glad I did!

    The flavor is just right, and you described it well: buttery lemon. Yum!

  130. I made this cake today and it was just as delicious as it looked.
    Of note to share: I don’t have a stand mixer and my hand mixer broke a few weeks ago…so I was left using only a wire whisk. Worked just fine (I don’t know…perhaps it could have been more delicious had I whisked more air into the eggs, but I doubt it).
    Thanks for the great recipe.

  131. Sarah

    I was wondering what other pans I could use to bake this cake. I saw the two loaf pan idea, but since I don’t have a Bundt pan and I only have one loaf pan, could I use a square 8′ pan or 13 x 9 pan or regular circular pans or any other type of pan?

  132. I’m about to bake this lemon wonder and I’m thinking if instead of adding a “pinch” of salt (a term I’m moderately terrified of), I could just use salted butter instead of unsalted. I’ll letcha know how she goes!!

  133. These look absolutely delicious! Just wondering if these could be made as cupcakes and how that might effect the cooking time? As you mentioned earlier I don’t want to waste the eggs, lemons etc!!

  134. Becky B

    Made your poppy seed lemon cake today and it is wonderful. I froze the egg whites in an ice cube tray. I had to run to the market as I didn’t have enough poppy seeds and picked up the Best Choice brand priced at 99 cents compared to McCormicks priced at $3.98 for the same amount, go figure.
    Love your sight and I was wondering who does all the dishes and clean up.

  135. Amber

    I’m not sure if we share your love for this cake (but we’re a sweet family, and this might be just a bit too subtle for us). At least it’s a good excuse to make chocolate chip meringues.

    How did you keep the poppy seeds from sinking too much? Mine ended up in a thick layer at the bottom, not spread out as much as in your picture.

  136. I halved this recipe and cooked it in a springform pan lined with buttered parchment paper for 28 minutes – delectable! It reminded me of The Hobbit, when Bilbo is cutting seed-cake for the dwarves :)

  137. Andre W.

    I wound up changing this around a fair amount between the browning of the butter, probably not whisking enough by hand, the use of a nonstandard bundt pan and a lemon glaze, but everyone loved it at the office. Thanks for another great recipe.

  138. Joana M.

    Hi Deb!
    Love the site and am leaving my first question/comment.
    The cake looks fantastic and I am looking forward to trying it out. My question is, can any cake batter be baked in muffin tins? Is there any reason I can’t have poppy seed lemon cupcakes? Or orange chocolate chunk cupcakes for that matter? What factors would I have to pay attention to when making cupcakes from a cake recipe?

    1. deb

      Hi Joana — Any cake can be baked in a muffin pan. But not every cake — such as this one — has a traditional cupcake crumb or takes well to frosting. I like this cake plain.

  139. I love this recipe as rich as it is. I wonder if a water bath around the pan would help at all but just looking at those poppy seeds makes me want to march some of this over to the fireplace chair and pour some brandy in my coffee. Great call! thanks Cris

  140. Kristin

    This is the first recipe that I’ve made from your blog, and it is absolutely more-ish. I ate a piece before it was even cool, as it smelled so great. I live in the UK, and I found a savarin cake tin to bake it in, and it looks very nice indeed.

  141. Hi Deb,
    Your blog was one of the first ones I read when I started reading food blogs, and it sustains me still.
    I made this poppyseed lemon cake, and while I loved the abundance of poppy seeds, I was expecting a stronger taste overall. To be honest, I found it bland. What do you think would happen if I added more sugar and some lemon juice? Would that ruin the structure of the cake?
    Thanks for all the posts- they always make me sprint to the kitchen!

  142. Julia

    I’ve just made this cake. It is phenomenal. Exactly how you described it. I made it in a 10 inch pan too & it was a little stumpy, but still full of flavour. I also soaked the poppy seeds in milk as per the tip above and they came out wonderful!

  143. Tracy

    I’ve been reading your blog and baking along with you for years, Deb. This cake is just as you described it, and quite easy to make once you zest the lemons (one of the few kitchen tasks I do not enjoy). I didn’t have quite enough zest from my two lemons, so I used a little orange zest as well. This is the perfect afternoon tea cake — not too sweet, not at all heavy. Pure delight!

    Thanks for yet another winning recipe. I think the Pink Lady cake will be the outlet for my leftover egg whites.

  144. Tracy

    (Also, I bought my poppy seeds in the organic section of our local grocery store. I bought a little more than 1 cup of seeds for $1.20.)

  145. MO3B

    We love this cake! It’s so light and not too sweet. My boys were not happy about the poppy seeds when they first saw them. But they inhaled their piece of cake at dessert time and asked for more!

  146. Donna Sue

    I made this cake a few days after you posted this recipe, and my non-lemon-loving husband devoured it happily. It was absolutely delicious. I admit that I would add a lemon/powdered sugar glaze to it if he wasn’t eating it too, but then, I really like super tart, lemony desserts. As far as the egg whites go – I froze them in the hopes of trying my hand at macarons (but ended up making an angel food cake to use up the leftover mixed-berry syrup I’d made for pancakes a few days before). Thanks so much for another great recipe!

  147. Connie

    I made this tonight and thought it was a little too understated for all of the expense (no bulk poppyseeds at my grocery) and fat involved. I added a lemon glaze which helped immensely. For those who prefer more lemony lemon desserts (and sweeter too) I’d suggest this. It made a big difference for my taste.

  148. Ciara

    i made the cake yesterday using a standard 9″ round cake pan (if i recall correctly). i had mistakenly thought there would be enough batter for two cakes, but the amount was just enough for the one pan. i think i perhaps baked it a couple of minutes too long, as the cake was not as moist as i thought it would be. then again, the crunchy poppyseeds were confusing my ability to judge the moistness of the batter. i think i also will add a lemon glaze to spruce it up a bit and perhaps seal in more moisture. next time i will soak the seeds in milk and also freeze my leftover egg whites–had no idea that could be done, and didn’t read these comments before tossing them! oops.

  149. ApronGirl

    I don’t own a cake pan – still building my kitchen as a newlywed. Do you think they would still turn out ok as cupcakes? How long do you think they should bake for? I LOVE lemon poppyseed and am dying to try this!

  150. Jaxx

    To: Tracy, and anyone who does not enjoy zesting. Buy a microplane, a nifty gadget I have even included an address for at Amazon, and you will LOVE when a recipe mentions zesting. I adore this little tool. I also never buy grated nutmeg anymore because I love microplaning my own with the whole nutmeg. A microplane is so fun to work with and you will never have grated fingers again. No kitchen should be without them. They also make great gifts for your cookery loving friends.

  151. Jaxx

    I got sidetracked from my original intention for posting because the anti-zesting comment reminded me of my microplane love.

    For those who wondered if poppy seeds can cause you to fail a drug test I have a story. I took a standard drug test without a care in the world until I was called in to explain why my ahem, urine, came back loaded with morphine. I had never taken morphine in my life so was stunned. They started asking me if I had taken one thing after another to which my answer was no, no, no—until they came to poppy seeds. Oh yes, I perked right up on that one. A friend had given me a five pound bag she had purchased after reading they were great for fiber and lowering bad cholesterol. She was tired of picking them out of her teeth so passed them on to me. I was putting 1/4 cup every day into a smoothy. The morphine level came back sky high on my test. I never dreamed poppy seeds could do such a thing.

    This recipe has 1/2 cup so I sure would give it a miss if you have a drug test coming up.

  152. What a great looking cake. I blogged about a similar cake last year and made the same comment about the poppy seeds in most baked goods being so sparse. Never understood it. If you want to eat poppy seeds, doggone it (trying to be PG here), *eat* poppy seeds. Now this is a cake worth failing a drug test for.

  153. sarah jrslm

    I just inverted this cake onto my cooling rack, and licked the crumbs off the sides of the pan! Not only that, I didn’t want a dairy cake, so I made it with butter flavored margarine. Not the same, i know, but if the crumbs are any indication, then my guests will be enjoying an amazing cake tonight at dessert. Love the site! I am making the citrus salad too…only without the feta.

  154. M.

    I made it!!!
    It was really easy to prepare and looked beautiful, I will put some pics on my blog soon.It tasted pretty good but I thought it could use a little more moisture and more lemon flavor.Amount of poppy seeds was just right and the cake had nice texture.

  155. LynniePie

    Today I made the cake. It was easy to follow the recipe, and I did too the T, well, I added a touch more lemon zest, because I had it. The cake was not as moist as I would have liked. What could I do differently next time? Also, there was not much of a lemon flavor. I did not use meyer lemons I used the lemons off my tree out back. The lemon squares I make with my lemons are out of this world. (SmittenKitchens recipe!). I would like to try this recipe again, but only if I had some direction for more lemon taste and moisture.


  156. Yana

    I have made this cake twice so far, and both time it turned out just perfectly, dense like pound cake yet still moist, and I actually like the fact that it is not too sweet, perfect to go with a cup of tea.

    I have soaked poppy seed in hot milk second time I’ve made it and indeed it has brought the flavour out.

    Thanks for another wonderful recipe!!!

  157. Regarding the question someone had above about cooking this in 2 loaf pans, I just made a half quantity of the recipe (not enough eggs in the house for the full thing!) and baked it in an 8 x 4 loaf pan. It baked in 35 mins, edges puckering exactly as described. It could be taller so if you have smaller pans than this I would try using those, but it’s airy, fragrant and absolutely delicious. Thanks Deb!

  158. Hannah

    This looks delicious, but Sour Cream Poppy Seed Cake is still my favorite. Similar idea, but without so many eggs or fruit flavor, for those who may not like it. It’s from an old Tassajara Cookbook and it’s still the one thing my mom always makes for me when I come home.

  159. Carrie

    I made this last weekend, and while I will make it again, I will tweak it by adding twice as much lemon zest, as I found it lacking in lemoniness. My husband and I agreed that it was best the day after it was baked. I made it in a bundt pan and it was such a cute little cake!

  160. checkered apron

    As a couple of people have mentioned, my cake also came out very dry! Any suggestions? I would be happy to try again, since Deb, yours looks sooo amazing!

  161. Erica

    I made this cake over the weekend and found all of my poppy seeds went to the bottom (so when inverted they are all at the top of the cake). So the concentration of poppy seeds is a bit much…I see in your pictures, your poppy seeds stayed more evenly dispersed. Any ideas why mine might have done that?

  162. Joana

    Thanks for responding, Deb. I’ll go with the bundt pan on this one, then. I haven’t had the chance yet, but I am really looking forward to it.

  163. Yael

    As a literature geek, I just wanted to congratulate you, and mention that indeed, ‘poppy seed lemon cake’ is a perfect dactylic dimeter (i.e. it’s two dactyls: POppy-seed LEmon-cake. Pretty!), whereas ‘lemon poppy seed cake’ could only somehow work prosodically if you were talking about a ‘seed-cake’ (which would make it a trochaic trimeter: POppy LEmon SEED-cake)… but according to my dictionary a seed-cake is ‘cake containing caraway seeds’, and that just doesn’t work with poppy and lemon. Inconceivable!

    Those were sixty seconds of geekery. Thank you! Stay tuned!

  164. Lily

    I understand Yael’s comment, too! It makes me immensely happy. I love scansion! Deb is a good writer, so she titles things so they scan properly without even knowing she’s doing it.

    I’ve been meaning to make this cake, but keep forgetting to buy the poppy seeds. It looks incredible!

  165. Kristin

    I forgot to mention that I made a glaze with the lemon juice from the zested lemons and confectioner’s sugar, and I drizzled that on the cake for some extra lemon flavor!

  166. Hey Deb.. lovely blog! I plan to make this cake as soon as i find substitutes for 1.Cornstarch (In India we get corn flour.. will that do?) 2. Lemon zest (No lemons here, will lime rind do?). Help..! I really want to make this cake.

  167. Cam

    Deb –

    This cake is in my oven at the tail end of baking and I am dying. It smells SO GOOD!!! Like mouth-watering nutty butter with a hint of lemon. I just want to rip the foil off and have at it. But I will refrain. Thanks for the recipe, I will try to wait until it is fully baked and cooled to try it.

    – Cam

  168. deb – in bavaria (where im from) as in austria (where kurt is from) we grind the poppy seeds – we have a special grinder for it – it wont work in anything they sell here i dont think. i can send you a picture of mine if you want – anyway – thats what makes the poppy seeds sooooooooo black and good in our cuisines , but its really hard work, so they sell pre-ground poppy seeds in bavaria, austria and–at : this premixed stuff is generally a little too sweet but you can make do. my favorite poppyseed cake combines the poppyseed mixture with quark (which is available at fairway), spread on a sheet of short pastry (or yeast dough but i think short pastry is better) and covered with short pastry crumbles. it looks like this: and it is delicious. and i wish you would investigate it and make your own version because you make every good recipe even better! love love love your blog! thank you!

  169. Jess

    Does anyone in the UK know where I can find poppy seeds? I’ve scoured Sainsbury’s and have heard rumours that they’ve stopped selling them here because the government’s paranoid about their being used for drugs…that surely can’t be true since I’ve seen that a few people in the UK have made this recipe, but any suggestions would be hugely appreciated!

  170. Made this tonight… delicious! As with everything on this site, it was a huge success and loved by all who ate it. One note/question though: in your recipe, it says you got your 1/2 Cup poppy seeds from a 3-ounce spice bottle. Well, I used a 1.6-ounce spice bottle of poppy seeds, and it turned out to be a generous 1/2 Cup. Not sure what the discrepancy might be…maybe my poppy seeds were lighter? Anyway, at the store, I considered buying two bottles, but I’m glad I didn’t; it was the perfect amount!

  171. I made these for St. Patty’s Day and they were so good!! I made them in cupcake form (didn’t have a bundt pan and couldn’t find my loaf pan) and added green dye. They were not as lovely and elegant as the beautiful one you made, but they were pretty cute green. :) So delicious!!

  172. Wellice

    Don’t know if you’ll read this but try Holland and barrett. I haven’t actually checked myself but they’re a health food store and theres pretty much one in every town. Good Luck.

  173. A friend and I made this over the weekend. We used a fluted bundt and it looked lovely. I loved the texture of the poppyseeds but it definitely seemed more dense than moist, and really could have used an extra zing either from more lemon zest, lemon juice, or maybe a lemon glaze. I think a sweet, tangy, light glaze would have really taken this cake to the next level. It was definitely tasty, but also not one I will be talking about for the next 6 years ;) It was so fun to make of course and I can’t wait to try our next endeavor: the st. louis gooey butter cake. YUM.

  174. Joana

    Yay! I finally got a chance to make this. It didn’t turn out perfectly because I had some trouble with my German convection oven. It’s a bit dry today, but we shall see if that improves overnight. I would still make it again, though, because it is something different from what I normally bake. One helpful hint, whenever I buy organic lemons, I zest them and freeze the zest. I had plenty in the freezer and that made my prep time faster. By the way, I’m using up the eggwhites in an Angel Cake from Craig Clairbourne’s NY Times cookbook.

  175. Kathy in Madison

    What a terrific way to use up eggs before one packs up and moves to a new place! As is my wont, I wanted to use what I had on hand, so I used food-grade lemon essential oil in place of the zest. (Yes, I know, the zest is the zingy, refreshing heart of the cake…! I’ll adhere to the recipe next time, I promise, and there WILL be a next time. A few of them, actually.) And, as I’m out of granulated, I used light brown sugar. It was kind of fun to whisk the eggs and sugar by hand, and yes, I set the timer and switched arms often.

    When I pulled the foil off the Bundt pan, I was surprised to hear, see, and smell the cake frying in butter. Yes, frying — there was fat a-bubblin’ around the edges of the pan! That was a first for me. I let it cool as directed, then sliced it into small wedges to take to work today.

    And the flavor? Wow. I could’ve gone heavier on the lemon oil — wanted to be careful, as I’m still learning how to use it — but boy, this is all about butter and richness and crackling nuttiness. I can’t wait to taste it again shortly to see how 12 hours’ rest has improved it.

    Thanks again, Deb, for more great work!

  176. sarah

    This was fantastic! I made the hazelnut brown butter cake, also from this site, and had a lot of egg yolks left over. I decided to make this cake as well! I have to say out of the two recipes, this was the winner. It tastes like a really decadent lemon pound cake. It was so easy to make, and I followed the recipe, except i added 1 cup of sugar instead of 2/3. Plus, it came out of my very liberally buttered Bundt pan with no problems.

  177. Kate

    I made this recently to use up some poppyseeds and lemons, and unfortunately I have to say that I’m not a fan. :-( It smelled and tasted very strongly of burned eggs! My poppyseeds also totally sank to the bottom of the pan, so perhaps they browned too much while cooking. Not to worry Deb, you haven’t lost a reader and I’ll continue to make all of your other great recipes.

  178. vmg

    Deb, another WINNER. Finally got around to making this. I’m not crazy about lemon, so I subbed 3/4 teaspoon almond extract. Delish. I have to say I love the crunch from all the poppy seeds. Making Mom’s chocolate chip meringues tonight with the leftover egg whites. Thanks for this fantastic blog.

  179. ncc

    i thought the recipe was kind of weird with all the cornstarch, but the pictures were lovely, so i wanted to try it out. when i took the cake out of the oven and flipped it onto a cooling rack, it looked crazy – i was horrified! there was a thick layer of poppy seeds and, atop that, a layer of greenish butter had congealed. i was worried. i dusted it with powdered sugar and cut a slice to sample. it’s freakin’ delicious! what a strange and wonderful cake. i still think it’s a little weird, but it’s unique and i love it.

  180. Fabulous! finally made it. I love that it’s not too sweet. I only had a bundt pan and I don’t like the look of it as much as your tube pan. I used 2/3 duck eggs since a neighbor always has extra. Don’t know how much it changed thins, if any, but it’s keeper. And now I’ll just HAVE to make my all time favorite cake on your site: Hazelnut Brown butter cake which I’ve made 1/2 dozen times at least.

  181. Made this cake for my sister’s birthday. It came out perfectly and she loved it so much she had two slices (which is unheard of for her and sweets). Definitely a great cake for those that enjoy less sugary cakes.

  182. Just had to let you know that I found this post while Googling breakenheartedly for some lemon poppyseed perfection because there HAD to be something fabulous out there that would fill this void in my soul. You rock. I cannot wait to get myself to the store for some lemons. Company coming for dinner in two days and I know what I’m making for dessert!

  183. Katrina

    So so good, I ate 6 square the moment it was cool to cut.
    Only change I made, the juice of 1 lemon. This give a light infusion.
    The next time, I’ll add the zest and juice of 2 lemons.
    And I let the poppy seeds sit in the warm butter until ready the use.

    Truly, and remarkably heaven.

    Poppy seeds are not sold in my country coz the Govt thinks we might grow them, smoke them, or something equally nefarious. The only reason to ban them is that we would all be obese from this fab recipe!

  184. Felicia

    Looks delicious! Could you frost it and if so what frosting would you recommend? Its my cousins birthday and she loves lemon poppy seed and I want to make her a birthday cake of it!

  185. Jessica

    took this cake out of the oven about 25 mins ago. mmm my hands still have that delicate lemon scent from grating the lemon zest. 3 comments/concerns: 1) i suppose ‘very fluffy’ when beating the eggs is not at all like ‘very fluffy’ when beating egg whites (completely amateur here). i kept waiting for that huge fluff, but it never came. hope i didn’t over-beat. 2) the end batter consistency wasn’t exactly pourable. It was pretty stiff, so i couldn’t ‘pour’ it into the cake pan as instructed – a tad worrisome…what if i over-beat and that’s why i had to scoop instead of pour? or maybe it was the butter that was probably more on the cool side than warm or even luke. 3) the finished cake (post-baking) did not even rise halfway up the pan. the cake in the pic looks pretty flat too, so i’m wondering what purpose the foil serves as the cake doesn’t actually touch it? yeah i know this isn’t your creation, but perhaps you’d know. anyway, this is for my husband’s birthday tomorrow…..he loves light, citrus-y cakes, so this sounded perfect. i’ll try to report back with how it turned out. i love your website/blog, and i really appreciate the meticulous observations you put in your recipes. so far i’ve tried the swiss buttercream (fab), choc sour cream frosting and yellow bday cake (also fab).

  186. Babette

    Thanks for this recipe. Made the cake tonight and everyone enjoyed the flavor, but it was dense and not as moist or light as yours appears to be. Wondering what misstep I made?????? Could it have been in how I folded in the flour an dcorn starch? Could it have been the butter beaten in too long? Any feedback would be great.

    I like lemon flavor, so, while the flavor of the cake was yummy, I did still want some of that tang. Lucky for me, Meyer Lemons were available., I added a lemon zest icing after the cake had cooled. That was the boost I needed and a great way to allow adjustments. Plus the yellow color of some of the zest in the icing rests on top and adds some beauty.

  187. MikeB

    Nice cake! Followed your instructions exactly and produced the flavorful delectible you describe. Took it in for the work crew (even with several under the care and custody of the state and undergoing regular drug testing – poppy is a false positive) it was gone by morning’s end – a clear signal of an appreciated treat! Only mishap was that all I had was an angel food pan (a one piece pan) and the cake broke cleanly in two on the dismount… I don’t think that gaff was even noticed by the partakers! Perhaps a more serious gaff was that I left it uncovered (in the truck) all night – I would have done well to wrap it as it was a bit dry on the surface the next morning. Still – it was an awesome cake. Thanks for a good recipe!

  188. I finally made this and found it exactly as described – light textured, poppy nutty, and full of flavor. I felt like the cornstarch might have contributed to a bit of a chalky texture and may try it next time with all flour or cake flour and see how it goes – nevertheless, I really like this cake and served it to company who also enjoyed it. I did not cover the top with buttered foil and it turned out fine.

  189. Laraine

    I’m sorry to say that this cake was okay not great in my opinion. The positives: It was kind of dense, as others have mentioned, but dense in a pleasing way; the poppyseeds had a lovely subtle crunch; it looks pretty. Negatives: not enough lemon flavor; not quite sweet enough; overall a flour-ish taste. I did get compliments, and believe me, the cake got eaten. But…..I’ll look to another recipe if I want to make another lemon poppy seed cake.

  190. I just realised that I have put this in the oven without baking powder.. then I looked at the original recipe and there’s 1/4 tsp. Whoops to you and me…!

  191. I have tried a lemon cake and a poppy seed cake, but I’ve never tried lemon cake with poppy seeds. It looks absolutely delicious! Lemon with poppy seeds seems like a good combination because of their flavours. Can’t wait to make this! The rest of the eggs I’ll use for making meringues with walnuts.

    Thanks for sharing!

  192. Lois

    Does anyone have good recipes using the poppy seed filling in the can?…I bought a big can of it online and would like to have more uses for it and get it out of my refrigerator…could I substitute it here for the seeds and the sugar perhaps?

  193. Beth

    This is a terrific cake. I made it for Easter. Everyone loved it. I followed the directions to the letter except I used gluten free flour. I especially like to bake new recipes gluten free because then no one in the family is comparing to the “real” recipe. This turned out very tasty. Thank you.

  194. You always have great photos here on Smitten Kitchen (I have yet to see one I didn’t like), but the egg yolk sequence is the coolest set of photos I have ever seen. I love it!

  195. Zarah

    i have the most bountiful meyer lemon tree in my backyard and it has inspired me to make this cake at every excuse. i make it with lemon buttercream frosting, decadent and delicious!

  196. Ema

    I am always surprised, when i see poppyseeds being used as a whole seed, not grounded.
    In my country (slovak republic), we are using special grinder only for poppyseeds, so we can get the taste out of them, and believe me, poppyseed cakes of all kinds are one of the most popular sweets here.

  197. Megan

    Okay Lady, this cake is AWESOME!!! I was getting a little giddy when I tasted the batter and then I had this horrible sinking feeling (no pun intended) when the cake was in the oven: “oh s@$t! I am at 6,700 feet!” BUT to my great satisfaction the cake turned out beautifully just like you said. I made a little drizzle with lemon juice and powdered sugar to top it that gave it just the lemony zing that I wanted. I ended up zesting 4 lemons to get enough zest and then just used that juice for the icing/drizzle. LOVELY cake and next time I’m going to make a gluten-free version. Since its only 1/2 cup flour, I don’t think you could tell the difference.
    I was a little skeptical of a whole 1/2 cup of poppy seeds so I stopped at like 3/8 of a cup :) Good luck not eating the whole cake, the 2 sticks of butter was probably the only thing stopping me. Probably my new favorite cake. Mmmmmm, mmmmm, good!
    Really, I cannot wait until your cook book comes out.

  198. Debbie

    I made this cake last night and have mixed feelings about the outcome. I really really wanted to like this cake. I love the taste of lemon in baked goods and was anticipating a flavor burst of “lemony” goodness. With just the zest of two lemons, the lemon flavor was very subtle to almost non-existent. To compensate for this I made a lemon flavored sugar glaze. However, I do agree that it was very clever to reverse the “lemon” and “poppy seed” in the title as clearly the emphasis is on the poppy seed and not the lemon.

  199. annie

    I’ve made this once and found it a bit dense. I only realized after baking it that the recipe did not ask for baking powder. #299 says the original recipes asks for 1/4 teaspoon, meaning from Kurt Gutenbrunner’s book NEUE CUISINE? The Food & Wine version also does not make mention baking powder.

    Well, I have 8 egg yolks leftover after using the whites for Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake, so I’m going to have another go at this recipe with the addition of the baking powder.

  200. annie

    So I just tried the cake I made with the addition of 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder (actually i was out of store-bought so made it with 1 part baking soda to 2 parts cream of tartar) and much preferred the texture.

    By the way, am I the only one needing to microplane 5 lemons to get 1 1/2 TBSP of zest? My lemons seem normal-sized…

  201. I made this cake yesterday for some Easter gifts today. I was SOOOO excited as I love that good old fashioned lemon poppyseed cake that my polish grandmother would bust out!….. The cake was OK. Really nothing to rave home about. Very dense. No dry but thick. I do prefer more lemon taste. YOu really did not taste any lemon. I only needed 1.5 lemons (slightly larger then normal)

  202. Kate

    Oh my word! This is the best cake ever! I’d copied it from here when you first published it, but then we moved and I just found it! It’s the oddest cake prep I’ve ever seen, but sooo good! My husband doesn’t like poppy seed anything, and he can’t wait to have another slice! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! :-)

  203. Sue

    I made this cake today for my husband who loves poppy seed cake. Followed the recipe exactly. It got mixed reviews – some thought it was tasty enough, but, visually, it was unappealing. Although it was completely baked, it appeared undercooked and pasty. How did you get your cake to brown when it was baked with foil on top? Though I wouldn’t repeat this recipe, I love trying your recipes- thanks for sharing your blog.

  204. deb

    The color is mostly from the sides of the pan, and I think I overbaked mine slightly. Sorry it wasn’t your favorite. It’s definitely not a typically American plush cake (which I too adore), more European-style and sturdier. I think it’s thrown a lot of people (not just you!), judging by the comments.

  205. Deb

    I grow Hungarian Bread Seed Poppies every year, and this is the first time I’ve harvested and saved enough to cook with (I just like the white/lavendar flowers). I’ve been thinking about a poppyseed cake of some type and was glad to find this recipe. This is also a good use of the wealth of eggs we’re getting from our young hens that have just kicked in to seriou laying.
    The batter is lovely, and the cake is just now in the oven.

  206. candace

    Re finding poppy seeds: For some reason, Stop & Shop sells containers (about 2 cups!) for $2.99. In their bakery section. When I don’t see it out, I ask and they always make one up for me. An incredible bargain that keeps us baking lemon poppy seed cakes and muffins. I store in freezer.

  207. claire

    This was fantastic! Thank you for the recipe – I trust everything on your site. Nothing has ever let me down. I made this with cake flour (instead of the half starch) and it was great.

  208. Pam Chicago

    I am going to try this cake tomorrow night. A friend who is polish loves poppy seeds so I am making it for her. I am going to try the method of soaking the seeds in warm milk like Devon said above. I also found a bag of poppy seeds from poland at my ethnic grocery store here.Will let you know how this turns out.

  209. Sarah

    This cake is amazing. I prepared this Thursday for a work Birthday gathering, following the recipe to the letter (even baking it in a 10 inch tube pan) and it was so fantastic. The crumb is so tender, just faintly sweet, aromatic and delicate. I was so sad to have given it away, so I baked it again this morning! Only this time I mixed it up a bit…I browned the butter, used raw sugar, blood orange zest instead of lemon and added a 1/2 tsp each of vanilla and almond extract. (kept the poppy seeds) OMG. You can do no wrong with this cake! I cannot wait to try it with Meyer lemon as suggested above, and the orange flower water. As always your pictures are beautiful, love your writing, thank you for all the wonderful food you bring into our lives.

  210. My Mum made this last night, because we had a surplus of twelve egg yolks, and it was amazing. It has such a tight crumb, which is the best kind of cake.

    P.S. So excited to see you in Vancouver!

  211. Betty

    Unfortunately I wasn’t really happy with how this cake turned out. It’s dense and actually kind of bland. Hmmm. Not sure what I could have done differently – perhaps I should have beaten the yolks longer. I received your new book yesterday and am excited to sit down and go through it. Congratulations! I have made many great recipes from this site.

  212. Rebekah

    I made this cake and it was a disaster! I smelled something burning and opened the oven to see burnt cake batter all over the bottom of the oven. I removed the cake pan and opened the foil – there was cake up the sides of the pan but the middle was completely empty! The cake tasted like salty lemony eggs…. What could I have done wrong? I’ve gone over and over the list of ingredients and instructions and it seems like I did everything right. I am very confused.

  213. Melannie

    I baked this cake today and taste wise it was absolutely delicious!
    The thing is- i forgot to beat in a whole egg and when the cake was baking it rised beautifully but once i stuck my toothpick in and pulled it out, it didn’t sink but totally deflated so it was a rather flat cake.
    Can i get some tips on this please? :)

    Will definitely make more of thos cake. Everyone loved it!
    Thanks for the recipa, Deb!

  214. Meg

    I just made this, but I used mini loaf pans — I shortened the cooking time to about 33 minutes. (I did a half recipe and it filled two pans.) Perfect! I also poked holes in the cake and poured a lemon juice/powdered sugar glaze over it. Thanks!

  215. Carmen

    I have just made this cake and it looks lovely. Yes, it is a bit flat but it is great for making little cubes to go with ice cream or any other dessert. I used 1 1/2 cup flour instead of flour + cornstarch, don’t know why, I do not like cornstarch. Oh, and I used lime instead of lemon zest. Thanks!

  216. Rachael

    very weird. mine came out looking almost green. i’m usually a fan of very dense cakes/cookies/brownies, but this was almost *hard* to cut into and we had to top it with the lemon sauce from your triple berry buttermilk bundt to make it palatable. i’m disappointed, but since i also made 3 heavenly breads (sour cream & aleppo cornbread, challah, and dill bread) from this website today, i won’t complain too much! :)

  217. Naomi

    My dad is a big fan of poppyseeds (or “mun” as we always called it) so I made this cake for his birthday. I read all the comments beforehand, so I soaked the poppyseeds in milk and I zested Meyer lemons. I used the whisk attachment on my stand mixer, and I have never seen a more beautiful, luxurious, smooth, and fluffy cake batter! I used a 9-3/8″ angel food fluted tube pan (with a removable bottom!) and I baked it for 35 minutes (as per your suggestion). To my delight, my cake looked just like yours! I couldn’t let those Meyer lemons go to waste, so I saved the juice and made a glaze. I’m not a poppyseed lover myself, so the lemon glaze added the perfect tartness to complement the richness of the cake! Thanks for yet another great recipe!

  218. Rossana

    Hi Deb

    I m eager to try your cake looks delicious but as from previous comments I noticed that it didn’t have baking powder in it could you clarify if it requires 1/4 tsp baking powder thank you.

  219. deb

    This kind of cake is called a genoise. Genoises do not require chemical leaveners; they use the beating of the eggs and other ingredients to give them lift.

  220. Tamara


    Is this cake dense enough to allow me to use an 8” round cake pan and then slice in half to add a blueberry lemon curd as well as to frost the entire cake? I am taking a cake decorating class… I would love to make a dobos torte with a lemon poppy seed variation..

  221. deb

    I haven’t tried this in an 8-inch round. It might sink a little as it cools, but I wouldn’t know without trying it. If it doesn’t, you might be able to slice it thin but it won’t be the easiest thing. In a true Dobos Torte, the layers are baked separately, not to be tricky but because you’ll get them much thinner than you can cut them (and of course, they bake in just minutes).

  222. Melba

    Can you give me some tips of converting to baby bundt pans? I cannot find any information on how many baby bundts are made from this much batter.
    And is the time about the same?
    And thanks for an original well written site!

  223. Hey someone pinned this recipe and I have visited you before (thanks to Pioneer Woman) but this recipe converts really easily to gluten free, so THank you! It is very nice!

  224. Sarahb1313

    So after making an angel food cake, I had…. many yolks!! I somehow although I can’t remember how came up with this recipe… not that I don’t use your stuff all the time, but 3 years later I am not sure how I landed on this one!

    Anyway, made it post mother’s day… and OMG, YES IT IS, was, AWESOME!! Such a peculiar recipe , I was skeptical, but powered on and am glad I did.

    You’ve done it again Deb! Thanks!

  225. ola

    Delicious!!! I’ve just made it a few hours ago, there’s only two of us, and the cake is almost gone. I’ve replaced cornstarch with almond meal because that’s what I had at hand. Terrific result.

  226. Kris

    I made this cake a week or so ago after eyeing it for the past 6 months! The reaction I got at the dinner I brought it to seems to reflect the comments here! A couple people said it was the best cake they’d ever eaten, a couple people didn’t care for it, and most of us thought it was good but not amazing. I’d make it again as a coffee cake and maybe serve it with a coulis or sauce of some sort.

  227. Kristyna

    Hi Deb, I am in need to use up a bunch of egg yolks (after making an angel food cake) And I would love to make this recipe…but do you think this cake would freeze well? Please let me know what you think?

  228. Maria

    I made this yesterday evening–it was a way to use up 8 egg yolks after making a pavlova (so in that way very useful).

    I’m not sure if I made a mistake in the recipe (could be!) but this didn’t turn out well. The lack of sugar bothered me. The poppy seeds were too many for my taste & even made it a bit bitter. But these 2 things are, I guess, a matter of taste. The worse was that in the middle my cake looks a bit ‘on the uncooked side / more solid-dense’ (can’t really explain it). What might I have done wrong? Around it’s fine but I can’t say I care for the taste.

  229. Zelda

    I was so exited to make this but I was disappointed when the cake came out dry and lacked lemon or butter flavor. It was also very dry. I followed the recipe exactly and cannot figure out what went wrong. Looked so beautiful in the pictures. Let me know if you have any ideas!

  230. Brittany

    My coworker just made this for another coworkers birthday and I, having never had good LPS cake, was very meh when she made the announcement.

    Let’s just say I had my come-to-Jesus moment after one bite. She accented it with blackberries in the bundt-hole (yep, I said it). They were a nice touch.

    And I truly love that you referenced Mike Myers in the explanation of your renaming, Deb :)

  231. Carolyn

    So, I made a rather large impulse purchase of Meyer lemons at Costco yesterday AND have had six egg yolks languishing in my refrigerator ever since a huge batch of seven-minute frosting AND I was gifted a spice assortment with a huge bottle of poppy seeds last week… this cake is the answer to all of that. Thank you.

  232. Rachel

    I made this cake last night as I had 15 egg yolks leftover from another recipe. It baked up quite nicely (I didn’t even have trouble with it sticking) but I have to say that I’m disappointed with the results. Considering the amount of fat in this cake, the result was very dry. I too felt the lemon flavor was a bit underwhelming although I did love the intense poppy seed flavor. I added a lemon glaze while the cake was still warm which helped with the lemon flavor but not with the dryness. I’m sure I did something wrong but I have no idea what that might be.

    I was really excited for this cake as I often have leftover egg yolks but I think I will keep searching for a better use for them as this one just didn’t do it for me. I have always enjoyed the recipes you post and will continue to visit this site for new ideas. I’m chalking this one up to my mistake or a difference in taste. Thank you for sharing regardless.

  233. Julia

    I baked this cake to serve at the restaurant where I am pastry chef. It is special…but as per the comments from some that it is dry- well, this cake is a Genoise. The whipped eggs and sugar, the folding in of flour and melted butter define it as such. The American palate- accustomed to VERY moist cakes- often find Classic European cakes dry. It is a matter of taste…I brushed the warm cake with lemon syrup to keep moisture in, as is the custom with a Genoise, and we served it with a blood orange ricotta ice cream and softly whipped cream. It was lovely. Also, I multiplied the recipe by 1.5 – and it was PERFECT in a ten inch classic bundt pan. No problems with baking time or release. Thanks Deb.

  234. RG

    There’s an earlier version of this poppyseed lemon cake in the NY Times 2002, using egg whites plus. Would love to hear what you think of it.

  235. Clara

    Hi Deb, how the heck do you get through so many comments?!?!?! I hope you have an assistant! I made this cake last weekend. I used a 9 inch cake form, and it baked and slid out perfectly. I’m not sure if the foil served any propose… but I did it. I assumed it was meant more for the bundt form. I have to say I was NOT dying over this cake as I thought I would and as many of the commenters here are… but it was nice. Somewhere around comment 250 there were some suggestions of adding the glaze to make it more lemony and more moist, I will try that next time. Also, you inspired to find a bundt form, and I found a beautiful ceramic french one, maybe vintage, second hand online here in Holland. Can’t wait to try it out!!! Thanks and thanks for all the lovely recopies and inspirations to cook delicious things, every day.

  236. Anna

    This recipe was fantastic and the result was a delicious moist tasty cake enjoyed by everyone at dinner from 7 to 50+!
    I baked in a stone bundt pan in a small counter top oven – I get the best baking results in this oven. Left the cake in the pan for about an hour before turning it out. Also did not cover with foil.
    Very very tasty – thanks!

  237. Anna

    Further to my previous comments – I needed to make the cake wheat free so I substituted brown rice flour for the wheat flour. Worked perfectly.

  238. Jess Jo

    Made this gorgeous cake today cos I had some leftover egg whites. Surprised it turned out so fluffy & light, as it had no egg whites! Love the crunchiness of poppyseed too! :)

  239. Catalina

    Hey deb, i already made this cake and it was wonderful. However, I wanted to substitute the butter for oil tomorrow to serve it to a highly lactose intolerant guest, what do you think?? Would that change drastically the final result? Thank you for your recipes, beautiful as usual, and your response.

  240. Claire

    So I make a poppy seed chiffon, in fact I made it for dessert last night, and serve it with a lemon sauce that is like a softer lemon curd with yogurt stirred in. too yummy. My recipe calls for oil, which in my experience, lets the cake last a longer, not that it ever does!

  241. Ian

    Making a birthday cake for my brother later today and gonna have enough egg yolks over to make two of these,my question is since I don’t have smaller tube pans is it possible for me to make it in one 10″ pan or would it be best for me to just bake the in two seperate pans.

  242. Jenn

    I have been looking for a poppy seed cake recipe to imitate the old Il Fornaio bakery cakes from years ago. I thought I finally found something with this recipe…unfortunately it hasn’t worked for me! This is the second time it has turned out less than an inch tall, hard and flavorless. I have a tube pan, used foil, fresh yolks, following the directions to a T. My batter was thick and not pourable, after baking a yellow foamy egg crust had formed…
    I do have the old copy that says to use the whisk attachment but I read in posts that it wouldn’t matter. I really want this too work out, but using all the ingredients is expensive for it to go in the trash every time. PLEASE HELP
    Thanks :)

  243. deb

    Hi Jenn — 100% of the volume here comes from whipping the eggs. If they’re not getting thick and fluffy, the cake will remain flat. It’s not a particularly tall cake but it should absolutely be more than 1-inch tall — unless your tube pan is much larger than mine, I suppose, which would flatten it out. I’m not sure where else I can troubleshoot here; feel free to ask me any more questions you run into.

  244. Vikki

    I’m not sure if you check comments for old recipes, but I have a question. Would it be ok to add some freshly squeezed lemon juice to this? If so, how much would you suggest? I like my lemon cake really lemony and I figured since I’d have two naked lemons lying around after grating them for this recipe, maybe I could include a little lemon juice? Apologies if you’ve already answered this question in the over 300 comments here!

  245. deb

    Vikki — I suppose you could with the eggs, however, don’t underestimate the flavor from that very large amount of zest. It has a pretty good lemony impact.

  246. Michele

    Any suggestion on a gluten free flour substitute? When I used the 1 to 1 ration gluten free flour i got a gummy center. Still actually tasted good, but I lost the cake texture.

  247. Aracely

    Hi there! So I made a half recipe and put it in a 9×5 inch loaf pan. It looked great until I let it sit in the loaf pan for about 15 minutes and it sank and the sides began to tilt inwards a bit. I’ve taken it out of the pan and am hoping it reshapes a bit. It still smells good and it is cooked all of the way. I’ll wait to taste it once it cools off a bit.

  248. Bahama Mama

    I followed the directions exactly and it didn’t rise. I beat the eggs for the full 8 minutes with my Kitchen Aid. It is about 1.5″ tall and the poppy seeds sunk to the bottom of the pan (the top of the cake).
    I AM SO DISAPPOINTED! All that effort for nothing.
    Perhaps because I’m at sea level, the recipe failed. Any ideas?

  249. Paul Glotzer

    Hi Deb, your redesigned website is elegant and fresh, but this is the third recipe I wanted to print but couldn’t without deploying other software (as killing trees was not an option). Coming in from a 2016 Asus PC running Chrome on Windows 10 (i.e., hardly an obscure running environment)

  250. Natalie

    I made this, but oh dear, something went wrong and the cake looks like an alien: poppy seeds sank to the bottom of my 9-in bundt pan and there’s a weird, hard, shiny “shell” forming the top of the cake. I’m not sure what happened, maybe the butter separated from the rest of the batter and formed a “rind” on the outside? I am disappointed :(

  251. Hana

    Thank you. I have been looking for a recipe for quite a while. Well ever since I moved from the City (Melbourne,Australia) where you could buy poppy seed cake from the Jewish Deli. I have gone through my mothers cookbooks and it was not easy since I am a little Czech language challenged, and through number of Jewish cookbooks but the right recipe was just not there. The poppy seed cake I am looking for does not have lemon and has even more poppy seeds but this is a start. I will make the recipe as written and then see if I can adjust to what I remembered . Unless one of the Austrian friends has a family recipe they would like to post?
    Should you have a good Jewish Deli or Supermarket handy, try them for the poppy seed.

  252. vernaneely

    We had extra yolks and tried this recipe.
    With the high proportion of yolk I wondered what the texture would be–it was very nice.The problem I encountered was the sinking of the seeds. I would make this again if I could figure out to disperse them more evenly.
    I hope you will address this..or some of your readers will.

    1. Hana

      I don’t know if this will help but increasing the amount of poppy seeds might do the trick. The cake I am looking to recreate is chocker full of them.

    1. Hana

      I don’t see why you couldn’t try it. The batter might be a little heavier then normal so you might need a little more time in the oven. Put it on the time you would normally need for cupcakes and at the time you would normally take them out stick a testing spike in one.If it comes out clean you are done, if not keep baking for few more minutes.

  253. ZVT

    I made this cake yesterday for our neighbor. The recipe *really* seemed off to me (too) — this many eggs, no baking powder, etc. ????. The only reason I didn’t change it is because I really came to trust this blog. And so lucky I did follow it! It came out perfect. So, for all people who are doubtful: yes, it *will* work. Still don’t understand how, but it does.

    This was made in a whim — I realized after starting that I don’t even have two lemons but only one + a lime + an orange, so zested all that (tasted great). Also halfway realized (that’s how organized I am…) that I don’t even have a bundt cake pan. So I ended up pouring it into a loaf pan, and it worked out great, with the same baking time. The end result was a bread-shaped beautiful and yummy cake.
    Thank you for the recipe!
    I sort of grew up on poppy seeds (Eastern Europe), and it’s so rare to see it in the US nowadays, always like to try recipes that call for it.

  254. Anita

    The cake tasted amazing, but I had some trouble with the cooking time. I live in Norway so I converted the baking time to Celsius, but the cake wasn’t even slightly cooked after 35 minutes. I turned the oven up to 347F and took it out after another 20 minutes. It was cooked, but very pale.

  255. Dianne

    I made it and it turned out exactly as it should have. Used up all my left over egg yolks from the angel food cake I made. I would definitely make it again! I would add a bit more lemon flavor though.

  256. We grew our own poppies and couldn’t wait to try this since I grew up with my mom making a bundt cake with a thin icing that was similar BUT I didn’t love it. This came out great even after my own “I can’t believe this is going to work” moment. I saw other reviewers posts about sinking seeds but I used my stand mixer and I was also doing other things and forgot about the eggs and sugar whisking away and I came back and it was super fluffy and pale ended with a nice thick batter… those seeds were perfectly suspended. These seem like they would adapt to muffins just wondering if anyone has done that…how long to bake and temp?

  257. Sonia Guarino Kozak

    I’m loving all your delicious recipes!! Thank you for having me on your email list!! Keep them coming my way!!

  258. Robin Mannasse

    Here in Israel we buy ground poppy seeds in bulk from the spice store. They grind them fresh and we keep them in the refrigerator or freezer. This adds more flavor and lightness and somewhat more digestibility. I totally recommended grinding in a coffee mill for any poppy seed cake or cookie recipe

  259. Sumi Costello

    I baked this today for my birthday and it’s really good. Something different from what I usually bake. Thanks Deb. You have amazing recipes as always.

  260. Michelle

    Hello! Can this me made in a tube shaped angel food cake pan, which has a removeable bottom?

    Hope everyone out there is staying safe and well!

  261. Mia

    I baked it, and it is good, but occasionally I get a bitter tase. I think maybe when I “folded” in the sifted flour and corn starch, I didn’t stir enough (in an effort to not lose the air in the eggs). I did mix with the mixer, though, adding in the melted butter, so in the end I felt the batter was mixed. Any ideas about the bitter taste? Also, I’ve never had recipe take so much corn starch! To deal with the bitter, I juiced the zested lemons and heated it up some sugar, drizzling the mixture over the cake. This worked. If I can figure out the bitter taste, I would make the cake again. I really appreciate a cake that is not too sweet!

    1. Kristin

      For sure old or rancid poppyseeds will give that bitter taste. It’s hard to find fresh ones off the shelf in my experience. I ordered some from iHerb (I think) and they were beautiful and even organic and a lovely milky gray color. If the seeds you’re buying already look black and shiny, give them a sniff. You’ll know if you want to use them or not by the smell. Definitely store poppy seeds in the fridge or freezer.

  262. Char

    This cake looks delicious & I plan to make it very soon (this weekend actually). I have a question about the buttered foil: is it meant to go over the top of the cake pan, to enclose the batter? This is a technique I’ve never seen before – what is the purpose, as far as you can tell?