Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (2024)

Published: by Megan Porta · This post may contain affiliate links.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is made using only 6 ingredients and they’re all mixed together easily in a single bowl. It comes out of the oven perfectly baked, moist, delicious and ready to serve! Great for week night dessert and also great party fare.

Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (1)

Original post: September 2014 | Post updated: May 2020

It seems like forever ago when my then-kindergartener brought home a sweet recipe card for me for Mother’s Day called “Mommy Seed Cake.” I thought it was the sweetest thing ever and I was also intrigued by it because it was just so simple! Everything mixed together in a single bowl? I gave the lemon poppy seed cake a try almost immediately and was shocked to pull a perfect dessert out of the oven.

I love this recipe. It has been a go-to dessert recipe over the years because of its ease and it never lacks in flavor. Without fail, it gets swooned over every single time. Add this easy dessert to your rotation pronto! Your family will thank you.

HOW TO MAKE LEMON POPPY SEED CAKE

STEP 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and generously coat a bundt pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, applesauce, poppy seeds, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and water and mix well with a spoon.

Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (2)

Pour cake batter into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (3)

STEP 2

Let cool 5 minutes, loosen sides with a butter knife and invert pan onto a serving plate to remove from pan.

Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (4)

STEP 3

While cake is coming to room temperature, prepare the glaze. Combine the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp lemon juice (or milk) in a medium bowl and stir until smooth. When cake has completely cooled, drizzle the glaze over top of the cake. Serve immediately!

Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (5)

RECIPE NOTES

  • Increase the lemon flavor in Lemon Poppyseed Cake by replacing yellow cake mix with a lemon variety. You can also replace the vanilla pudding mix with lemon flavored pudding mix.
  • Bake time may vary by 5 minutes depending on your oven, so start checking at the 40-minute mark.
  • To dress up the cake even more, sprinkle lemon zest over the glaze before serving.
  • One of the perks of this recipe is that you don’t need to get out a mixer. If you prefer to use a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix until just moist and combined.
Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (6)

HOW TO SELECT A PERFECTLY RIPE LEMON

I have fresh lemons on hand all the time because their delicious juice goes great with so many different foods. Fresh lemon juice spruces up salad, chicken, all different types of beverages and so many other things. When selecting limes at the grocery store, look for these attributes to make sure you are getting the juiciest, ripest ones:

  • First, smell the lemon. Go ahead, put it right up to your nose and smell for a strong lemony scent. The stronger the scent, the riper the fruit will be.
  • The darker yellow citrus fruits are typically riper and juicier, as well.
  • The heavier it feels in your hands, the more juice is hiding inside!
  • Gently squeeze the fruit in your hands. The more give it has, the juicier it’ll be. If it is too squishy it may be past its prime, so be sure it doesn’t give too much.

BEST LEMON DESSERT RECIPES

Don’t limit yourself to lemon squares! If you or anyone in your life loves lemon desserts as much as I do, consider making one or more of these delicious sugary concoctions:

  • Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream – This Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting will knock your socks off, from the blueberry- and lemon-infused cake, through the succulent lemon curd and straight to the lemony buttercream frosting.
  • If you have a lemon lover in your life, you are going to want to add these Lemon Bars to your baking list pronto! A lemon curd filling tops a perfectly baked shortbread crust, making the most delicious lemony dessert you will ever taste!
  • Lemon Curd is a fresh, light and lemony filling or topping that goes great on cakes, cookies, cupcakes or any baked treat!
  • Candied Lemon Slices are EASY to make! They make beautiful edible garnishes for baked goods and can be enjoyed as a treat, as well. Such a great way to use up lemons!
  • Looking for more uses for lemons that might be sitting in your kitchen? Read on for a variety of delicious ideas!

Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (7)

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is made using only 6 ingredients and they're all mixed together easily in a single bowl. It comes out of the oven perfectly baked, moist, delicious and ready to serve! Great for week night dessert and also great party fare.

5 from 2 votes

Print Pin Rate

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Servings: 12 servings

Calories: 217kcal

Author: Megan Porta

Ingredients

  • 15.25 oz. yellow cake mix or lemon
  • 5.1 oz. vanilla instant pudding mix or lemon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and generously coat a bundt pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, applesauce, poppy seeds, 1/2 cup lemon juice and water and mix well with a spoon. Pour into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

  • Let cool 5 minutes, loosen sides with a butter knife and invert pan onto a serving plate to remove from pan.

  • While cake is cooling, make the glaze. Combine the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp lemon juice (or milk) in a medium bowl and stir until smooth. When cake has completely cooled, drizzle the glaze over top of the cake. Serve immediately!

Notes

  • Increase the lemon flavor in Lemon Poppyseed Cake by replacing yellow cake mix with a lemon variety. You can also replace the vanilla pudding mix with lemon flavored pudding mix.
  • Bake time may vary by 5 minutes depending on your oven, so start checking at the 40-minute mark.
  • To dress up the cake even more, sprinkle lemon zest over the glaze before serving.
  • One of the perks of this recipe is that you don’t need to get out a mixer. If you prefer to use a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix until just moist and combined.

Nutrition

Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 361mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 79IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 1mg

Did you make this recipe?If you loved this recipe, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below!

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (8)Rachna

    This is such a delicious poppy cake. Tried out it came so well. Bookmarked.

    Reply

  2. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (10)Stephanie smith

    This looks so much better than any cakes I could by at the local market! I love poppyseed, and applesauce is so much better than using oil in my opinion. This would be a great way to splurge on my birthday without having to worry TOO much about the calories 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  3. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (11)goof

    Thank you ,I will try to do it.

    I have never tried cake , These cake looks awesome!

    Reply

  4. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (12)laura

    I made this recipe last night. Out of necessity I had to use two loaf pans instead of a bundt. Both my adult and youth guests gave it high praise and went in for seconds ?
    I've never made poppy seed cake before. I found it quite easy and satisfying.

    Reply

  5. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (13)Roan

    To the person worried about wasting eggs. Poppy seed cake was a traditional holiday desert in my Slavic grandmother's household. It used up the leftover egg whites from other traditional holiday foods that required a large quantity of egg yolks. Use carton egg whites so you don't waste yolks, or use the use the yolks in another dish.

    Reply

  6. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (14)Megan Porta

    Ana Ate: Stir 1 cup powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons of milk together until smooth for the glaze!
    Megan

    Reply

  7. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (15)ana ate

    How do you make the glaze on the top of cake

    Reply

  8. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (16)Megan Porta

    Thalia – LOVE LOVE LOVE your idea about adding lemon zest!! Considering making it again soon just to see how it turns out. Thanks for the idea!
    Megan

    Reply

  9. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (17)Holly @ The Very Hungry Blonde

    Awww…Mommyseed cake, that's precious!

    Reply

  10. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (18)Thalia @ butter and brioche

    Poppy seed cake is so delicious. You have definitely inspired me to recreate this recipe.. except I think I will be adding a dash of lemon juice and zest.

    Reply

  11. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (19)ami@naivecookcooks

    Gosh such an interesting recipe!! Cake looks super moist!

    Reply

  12. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (20)Norma

    This cake looks and sounds good, but I don't understand the "8 egg whites" !! Why not just use 2 or 3 whole eggs? I don't like
    to waste half of that many eggs.

    Reply

  13. Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (21)Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    I love poppyseed cake! I rarely make it though, for some reason. Definitely need to try this!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe (2024)

FAQs

Do you have to soak poppy seeds before baking? ›

It is not absolutely necessary but some bakers like to soak the poppyseeds in warm water or warm milk to soften the slightly hard outermost part of the poppyseed. I like that little crunch with poppyseeds but if you don't, soak the poppyseeds in the milk you'll be using in this recipe.

Do poppy seeds go bad? ›

The dark-gray seeds of the poppy plant give nutty flavor to cakes, cookies, strudels, and breads, especially in traditional Eastern European recipes. It's best to store poppy seeds in the fridge, tightly sealed, for no more than half a year—the high oil content means the seeds can go rancid quickly.

Can you take a drug test on lemon poppy seed cake? ›

Do poppy seeds affect drug tests? Poppy seeds don't have nearly enough opiates to intoxicate you. But because drug tests are exquisitely sensitive, consuming certain poppy seed food products can lead to positive urine drug test results for opiates – specifically for morphine, codeine or both.

How much lemon zest should I add to a box cake mix? ›

Adding just a tablespoon of lemon zest can add a subtle zing to most any vanilla, yellow or even angel food cake. And if want a little extra zing to match the colorful insides of this Funfetti cake, try this!

Should poppy seeds be toasted before baking? ›

Many bakers are used to toasting nuts and sesame seeds before baking them, and poppies are no different.

Why do people bake with poppy seeds? ›

Poppy seeds perform several functions in baked goods such as: Flavor: provide a rich nutty flavor, may be intensified by toasting. Aroma: provide a mild nutty aroma. Texture: contributes a crunchy texture.

What is the purpose of soaking the poppy seeds? ›

Poppy seeds are used to make poppy seed tea by washing or soaking large quantities of seed to remove the residual coating of opioid and debris from the seeds [2].

Can poppy seeds show up on a urine test? ›

"Consumption of poppy seed products could cause a codeine-positive urinalysis result and undermine the department's ability to identify illicit drug use."

Is poppy seeds good for kidney? ›

The potassium content in Poppy seeds helps in treating kidney stones and also prevents their re-occurrence.

What can I do with rancid poppy seeds? ›

The advice is to not consume the affected poppy seeds.

What is a substitute for poppy seeds in lemon cake? ›

I understand, some of you may have difficulty getting poppy seeds. You can replace them with any seeds, chia seeds, flex seeds, or even nuts to go with the lemon flavour.

Are lemon poppy seeds healthy? ›

Poppy seeds are great sources of many of the nutrients the body needs to stay healthy. These include protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. The seeds do come from the same plant that manufacturers use to make opioids such as heroin.

How do you increase the flavor of lemon in a cake? ›

Add up to a few teaspoons of zest to your baked goods to provide background flavor notes. It can be used to boost the overall lemon profile of your bake or accent additional flavors, similar to vanilla extract. Add the zest to your recipe when called for or when adding the fat (butter, oil, etc.)

How do you add poppy seeds to food? ›

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs; in another bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add poppy seeds to dry ingredients along with butter cut into pieces. Stir until just combined, then divide batter evenly among prepared tins (about ⅔ cup of batter per muffin for large size).

Do poppy seeds add flavor to baked goods? ›

Poppy seeds perform several functions in baked goods such as: Flavor: provide a rich nutty flavor, may be intensified by toasting. Aroma: provide a mild nutty aroma. Texture: contributes a crunchy texture.

How much flavor to add to box cake mix? ›

Bump up the flavor by adding ½ to 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Making a spice cake? Add a little rum, almond, or orange extract as well. If you're making a white or yellow cake, add a teaspoon or two of fresh lemon or lime zest, or a bit of juice.

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