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Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake is an ultra soft and moist pound cake recipe that’s topped with a sweet lemon glaze! Perfect for breakfast and dessert!

Sometimes the most obvious recipes are the best. So why not share one of my long time loves…

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake!

I’ve long told the story on how no one else in my house likes lemon flavored desserts, and this is no exception. I, however, am fully into lemon sweet treats…like in a major way. Which is great, because MORE FOR ME! But bad because…well…MORE FOR ME.

So when I make this Lemon Pound Cake I know that I save a few slices for myself and share with a friend or two. I can’t be left to my own devices with a loaf of this bright, soft, and moist pound cake in my house if I ever expect to fit into shorts this summer.

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake is an easy pound cake recipe

I love making pound cakes…most recently my Classic Pound Cake. They’re so simple and perfect with a cup of coffee, or jazzed up with some ice cream or whipped cream.

The texture of this Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is incredibly soft and moist, and the lemon flavor is balanced with the richness of the butter and the depth of the vanilla extract. There is nothing better than a slice of lemon cake to cure the winter blues. Have I convinced you yet?

Why Is This the BEST Lemon Poppy Seed Cake?

First and foremost, this cake definitely has a “pound cake” texture. While the crumb is soft and moist, it isn’t light. But strangely enough it also isn’t heavy. The combination of the ingredients like sour cream, baking powder, baking soda, and butter give this cake a very tender texture, while also being slightly dense, as a pound cake should be.

What Key Ingredients Do You Need?

  1. Butter: Use room temperature butter! Room temp butter mixes much easier with the sugar, adding air as you mix them together, making the butter light and fluffy. This is an important step in all baking! Also, I used salted butter, as I do in almost all of my recipes, unless otherwise specified. I prefer the extra bit of saltiness in my desserts. If you are sensitive to salt, feel free to use unsalted.
  2. Granulated Sugar: Obviously you need sugar to sweeten your cake, so it can’t be omitted. And like I stated above, creaming the butter and sugar together adds air as the sugar cuts through the butter, aiding with the texture of the cake.
  3. Baking Powder and Baking Soda: This recipe has a combination of both leavening agents. I played around with all baking powder and all baking soda when I was testing this recipe, and settled on a combination of both to create the perfect rise. You can see the perfect dome in the shot of the cake above!
  4. Lemon Zest: This is obviously essential when creating this lemon cake! The zest provides more flavor than juice when it’s baked. And you will get about a tablespoon of zest from one large lemon.
  5. Eggs: Eggs add to the richness and moisture to this cake, as well as all baked goods. The proteins in eggs create structure and stability.
  6. Sour Cream: Sour Cream is a great addition in a dense cake recipe in place of milk of buttermilk. The extra fat and less moisture produce a very soft and tender crumb.
  7. Poppy Seeds: This is a Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake, so obviously you need poppy seeds! They don’t offer a ton of extra flavor, and could be omitted if desired. However, they do add a subtle fruity nuttiness that is hard to duplicate.
  8. Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla is essential in baking, and this cake is no different. But note, you could also use 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla to really amp up the flavor of the poppy seeds for a variation.
How To Make Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Don’t Forget the Glaze Icing!

Ahh, what would this cake…or any cake…be without icing? And what’s so fantastic about the sweet glaze on this Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is that it’s only 2 ingredients…lemon juice and powdered sugar. Yep, that’s it!

Here are some tips for the Lemon Glaze:

  1. A lot of the citrus brightness of this recipe is packed into the icing. If you prefer a less lemony cake, sub out the lemon juice for milk, or even water.
  2. The glaze on this cake seals in moisture as well as leaving a sweet layer, so I vote not to skip it!
  3. If you want MORE lemon flavor, go ahead and add in a teaspoon of zest in with the lemon juice and sugar.
  4. Once the glaze sets it will leave a slightly sweet crunch on the cake. Love that!
  5. If you would prefer more of an “icing” rather than a glaze, it’s an easy adaptation. Just add less lemon juice! If you would like it to be thicker, start with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with the 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar and whisk it until it’s smooth, adding more lemon juice if desired.
  6. You could even increase the glaze amount by 50% if you would like to make sure every edge of the outside gets covered!
A sweet lemon glaze poured on this easy lemon poppy seed pound cake

This is such a fantastic recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake, I hope you make it!

Looking for More Pound Cake Recipes? Try These:

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Front view of a lemon poppy seed pound cake cut into slices.

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

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  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 slices 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Dessert


This Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake is dense, moist and bursting with lemon flavor!


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottoms and up the short ends of the pan with parchment paper. Coat again with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add in the lemon zest, eggs, vanilla, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds. Mix for 1 minute until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. In alternating additions add the sour cream and flour, beginning and ending with flour.
  4. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack.
  6. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and the powdered sugar to make a glaze. Place a baking sheet under the wire rack to catch the excess and pour the glaze onto the warm cake.
  7. Allow the glaze to set and enjoy.


Serve warm or at room temperature.

Store airtight for up to 3 days, or freeze airtight for up to a month.


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 397
  • Sugar: 50.3 g
  • Sodium: 320.4 mg
  • Fat: 11.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 70.2 g
  • Protein: 4.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 80.5 mg

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