Lemon Poppyseed Cake – Irresistible Refreshing Summer Cake!

Lemon curd and lemon poppyseed cake

Lemon Poppyseed Cake 

This Lemon Poppyseed Cake is sunshine in your mouth. A burst of lemony flavor that’s sweetly refreshing. It’s light, airy and fluffy with that perfect combination of sweet and tart. Great for Spring and Summer or even Fall and Winter if you’re looking to remember the warm weather! It’s really a year round cake in my house! Lemons and lemon juice are available in most grocery stores all season, so let’s make some cake!

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Lemon zest is the star of this recipe! Get THE BEST zester here!

The components of this cake are the lemon poppyseed cake, lemon zest buttercream and lemon curd. These together, create the most perfect bite! Like I mentioned before, the sweet and tart are absolutely amazing. Grab your fork and slice through all the mouthwatering layers. After the first taste, you’ll be hooked wanting that perfect bite again and again. Before you know it, you’ll have the knife in your hand slicing another piece for yourself…if there’s any left! 

Lemon poppyseed cake

This particular cake is on the menu every year. Why? It’s my Mom’s birthday! Without a second thought, she chooses this lemony cake! She absolutely LOVES it, which would be an understatement. She’s totally obsessed. I have to keep an eye on it before her birthday, or she’ll devour it! It’s seriously that amazing! If you love lemon, this is your cake! 

Lemon does lend its self well to other flavors. Raspberry curd, lime curd and even orange curd are fillings I’ve made for this cake in the past. Go ahead and experiment if you’d like. They were all fantastic, but lemon curd filling remains my winner. 

Cake Components

The Lemon Poppyseed Cake

The lemon poppyseed cake is light and fluffy with a subtle lemon flavor. There’s no lemon juice or extract. Just the lemon zest to give it flavor. Prepare the batter and fold in whipped egg whites, a meringue of sorts, at the end for leavening.

Lemon zest is absolutely key to this recipe and a good zester is a must! I have found the most amazing zester with Zulay Kitchen that I adore. It is a staple in my kitchen and after using it, you’ll know why. It’s the perfect size, it makes zesting effortless and the zest is perfect for any recipe you need it for. Get yours here! Plus, it can be used for so much more than just citrus zest!

Cake batter
Whipped egg whites and meringue

I do need to mention, this cake tends to get a bit dry sometimes, but not to worry. If it does, I remedy this by soaking it with simple syrup. No shame in that! This delicious cake recipe just needs some extra love to boost its moistness. Just make it with equal parts water and sugar. Heat until sugar dissolves. Cool and use. Once you adequately soak the cake, it’s the best cake around! It’s just part of the recipe! Actually, I simple syrup all my cakes! A step I always include in my cake building.  

Lemon poppyseed cake batter in cake pans

The Lemon Curd

The lemon curd is the star of this cake. It’s what gives the cake its identity. It packs an intense lemon punch while the other components are subtle and have a delicate lemon flavor. This lemon curd is amazing! Find the recipe here.

Lemon curd and lemon poppyseed cake

The Lemon Zest Buttercream

This buttercream is, to say the least, amazing. I could quite literally eat a whole bowl of this! I try to hold back though because it’s even better on the cake. Personally, I like to use American Buttercream, butter and powdered sugar, for it’s the sweetest. I like the intensely sweet icing paired with the tart lemon curd. Add the zest of two lemons to the buttercream and taste it! It’s wow! Find the recipe for American Buttercream here. Cream cheese icing is a  favorite with lemon too. If that’s you, make cream cheese icing and add lemon zest to it for a delicious twist! I love the buttercream, but truth be told, both are quite amazing! 

Lemon zest buttercream
Lemon zest buttercream orange and yellow
Lemon zest buttercream orange and yellow

The Assembly 

You’ll need to make 

Once you have all your components made, it’s time to create your masterpiece. First, trim your cakes, I made 6 inch cakes and place the first layer on a cake board. Soak it liberally with simple syrup. Next, cover it with a thin layer of buttercream and pipe a “mote” of buttercream around the edge as a barrier. Fill with lemon curd. I used about 3/4 cup. Place the next layer of cake on top and repeat previous steps. Once filled and stacked, ice the cake entirely. Be creative and decorate it any way you’d like for any occasion. Most of all ENJOY!!! 

Lemon poppyseed cake decorated with orange and yellow lemon zest buttercream

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

This light lemon poppyseed cake is light, airy and fluffy. 

Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 6 inch cakes


  • 6 Oz. Butter Unsalted
  • 10 1/2 Oz. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Each Eggs
  • 11 1/2 Oz. Milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Poppyseeds
  • 14 1/2 Oz. Cake Flour
  • 1/2 Oz. Baking Powder
  • 1 1/4 Cups Egg Whites
  • 5 Oz. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Lemon Zest


  1. 1. I’m mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 

    2. Add eggs one at a time and incorporate into sugar mixture completely. 

    3. Add vanilla and milk. Incorporate well. 

    4. Add poppyseeds, baking powder and cake flour. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. 

    5. Set this batter aside. In a separate bowl add egg whites and second amount of sugar. Whip until medium peaks form. 

    6. Fold into cake batter. Put in a third into the batter and fold in completely. Add the second third and fold in well. Then add the rest and fold into the batter. Make sure to be gentle to avoid deflating the egg whites. While folding in egg whites, add lemon zest. 

    7. Portion out into 4 6” cake pans or 3 8” cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

    8. Cool and decorate! Enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

  • I like to soak this cake with simple syrup. It tends to be a bit dry. 
  • Make simple syrup with equal parts granulated sugar and water. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Cool before using.  


Keep it sweet & chatter!

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