Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Moist, citrusy and delicious this Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is a flavorful layered cake with a light and zesty lemon buttercream frosting.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

If you haven’t guessed yet, we love cake in this family. Like cake is life around here. There is no denying my love for cake! If I could eat cake at every meal, I would and I wouldn’t even be ashamed about it.

So lemon is also one of my favorite things ever. My best friend absolutely hates lemon, so I always make sure when she comes over I have my lemon buttercream wax melt going and have lemon desserts around because what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t convince her that lemon is delicious. I still haven’t converted her unfortunately.

Layer cakes are some of my favorite cakes to make. I think its more or less because I like all the frosting. Instead of having frosting just on the top like you would with a 9″x13″ cake you have it on the sides, on top and in the middle. DROOL!!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe

This Lemon Poppy Seed Cake recipe is a super simple lemon poppyseed cake that is filled and frosted with the most perfect lemon buttercream. Yes lemon on lemon, but trust me it isn’t overpowering.

I brought this cake to my friend Martins “nacho night” because you know, nachos and lemon cake go so well together right! Well we make them go well together, because like I said cake is life and it goes with all the things.


Now this is something that I actually don’t do. You can however do this if you like, it makes the poppy seeds soften the seeds outer coating so that the natural flavor is released when baking.

This absolutely isn’t essential, but I know that there are people who do like to do this, so just because I don’t have this in the recipe does not mean that you cannot do it!

Poppy Seed Cake


So you wouldn’t actually think that such a little seed is responsible for much. But poppy seeds are actually a good source of nutrients and minerals even in little amounts. 

They contain niacin and folate as well as calcium, iron and zinc. So even sprinkling them on top of rolls, bagels or anything gives just the slightest boost of those elements.


There are people that often shy away from layer cakes thinking that they are hard, or that they can’t get them as beautiful as the pictures. Please don’t be afraid of baking layer cakes. They are super fun and a lot easier than they look.

I used to be super scared of baking cakes but just went for it and never looked back. It does take some practice, but trust me if you have a cake that tastes amazing, no one cares about the appearance.

Poppy Seed Cake Recipe

So to start this cake off you make the lemon poppy seed cake layers which consist of flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt, eggs, oil, lemon juice and poppy seeds.

You can make this with a hand or stand mixer and you just whisk all your dry ingredients together and then beat in your wet ingredients then bake them up in two 9″ cake pans.

Then to make your delicious creamy buttercream (aka the best part). The buttercream consists of butter, milk, powdered sugar and lemon juice. Easy peasy. Just beat your butter then add in powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk until you reach your desired consistency.

To assemble the cake you need a turn table (not required) and you layer one of your cakes then spread with about 3/4 cup frosting onto the top of that until it reaches the sides then top with the other layer of cake.

Best Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

I like to do a crumb coating on this cake, which is just a thin layer of frosting on the top and outsides which holds the loose crumbs in then you refrigerate so when you go to frost the remainder of the cake it is a cleaner and smoother look.

Then decorate the outside to your liking. I decided that I wanted to do some littler rosettes on the top just one side and a little swirl in the middle which I created using an offset spatula and spinning the cake in a circle.

I then pressed some poppyseed up the side of the cake about 1-2″ high to give it a more “sophisticated” look if thats what you would call it. I was more of less just filling blank space and giving it some definition since the cake itself was more or less one color.

Lemon Cake

So if you want something super flavorful, easy and addicting than this Lemon Poppy Seed Cake recipe is just the summertime layer cake you’re looking for!

If you like this lemon poppy seed recipe you might also like:

 Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Blackberry and Almond Buttercream

Lemon Poppy Seed Ice Cream

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

Moist, citrusy and delicious this Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is a flavorful layered cake with a light and zesty lemon buttercream frosting.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon poppy seed cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice fresh or bottled
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 heaping Tbs poppy seeds
  • 3 sticks butter softened
  • 5-6 Tbs lemon juice
  • Zest of one large lemon
  • 6-7 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tbs milk if desired
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  1. Line two 9" round cake pans with parchment paper and then grease sides with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
  2. In large bowl whisk together your four, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined.
  3. With hand or stand mixer mix in your eggs, oil and lemon juice until blended. Slowly add in your sour cream and continue beating until incorporated.
  4. Fold in your poppy seeds.
  5. Pour evenly into prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden and cake springs back when touched, remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in pans before inverting on wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile to make your buttercream in stand mixer or with hand mixer beat your butter until light and fluffy.
  7. Add in you lemon juice and lemon zest and beat until blended.
  8. Add in your powdered sugar one cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  9. Add in milk if desired.
  10. Taste flavor to adjust adding more lemon juice if needed,
  11. To assemble, on a cake board on turntable place one layer of cake and spread with about 3/4 cup buttercream and spread out to sides.
  12. Top with remaining layer of cake and then do a crumb coating by frosting top and sides of cake with a thin layer of buttercream.
  13. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
  14. The frost remaining cake, reserving about 3/4 cup frosting for decorating if needed.
  15. To make the swirl on top, using an offset spatula place tip in the center of cake and spin cake in a circle slowly moving your spatula out while spinning.
  16. Decorate sides with extra poppy seeds if desired.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Amount Per Serving (0 g)
Calories 0
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Potassium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 0g
Protein 0g 0%
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0%
Iron 0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe

Moist, citrusy and delicious this Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is a flavorful layered cake with a light and zesty lemon buttercream frosting. #cake #layercake #lemon #poppyseed #buttercream #lemoncake

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