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Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake. With lemon glaze!

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake with lemon glaze! This tender cake gets added moistness from a quick cooked glaze that gets brushed on while the cake is still hot. You won’t find a more lemony version than this.

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake close up photo of sliced cake on a white platter

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

Years ago when I first started baking on my own, I used to make a Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake by making additions of lemon zest and poppy seeds to a yellow cake mix.

It’s been many years since I used a baking mix of any sort, and with a recipe as straightforward as this one, it isn’t really necessary.

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

From-scratch is always best, is my motto. When this buttery cake meets intense lemon flavour and those nutty flavoured little poppy seeds, that motto is proven correct yet again.

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake on white serving platter with tea service and fresh lemons in background

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

Loaf cakes

I like this recipe because it is more like a cake than a “cake bread” as in Banana Bread and other recipes of that type. Those tend to be denser and dome more at the top when baked.

They generally take longer to bake as well which means the risk of a dryer cake without the backup of extra moisture from things like the mashed banana, grated apples or zucchini that make great “cake breads”.

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake cooling on a wire rack

Fresh from the oven.

With two whole lemons used in this recipe, both in the batter and in the glaze which soaks into the cake, this lemon poppy seed loaf cake really packs an intense lemon punch. You are not likely to find a more lemony cake than this one.

It is ideal for packed lunches, coffee breaks and even as dessert at a weekend brunch.

Are you a lemon Lover like me?

I’ve put together a countdown of our Top 50 Lemon Recipes from over a decade on Rock Recipes.

Best Lemon Recipes image collage with title text for Pinterest

Best Lemon Recipes

Originally published October 2016. Updated August 2020.

Like this Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake recipe?

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Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake photo with title text added for Pinterest

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Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake close up photo of sliced cake on a white platter
Yield: 8 servings

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake - with lemon glaze!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake. With lemon glaze! This tender cake gets added moistness from a quick cooked glaze that gets brushed on while the cake is still hot. You won't find a more lemony version than this.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp poppyseeds
  • zest of 2 lemons, finely minced
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice of one lemon + enough milk to measure 1 cup

For the glaze

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • juice of one lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan well and line with parchment paper.
  2. Add the sugar and lemon zest to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix together on low speed for a few minutes. This helps to release all of the flavour in the zest.
  3. Add the butter to the sugar and lemon zest and cream until light and fluffy on medium speed, about 5 minutes
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  6. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and poppyseeds.
  7. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk/ lemon juice mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. In general, I add the dry ingredients in 3 portions and the milk in 2 additions.
  8. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Let the cake rest in the pan for 5 minutes then remove it from the pan and set on a wire rack to cool and be glazed.

To prepare the glaze

  1. In a very small saucepan combine the sugar and lemon juice and bring to a simmer for only 2-3 minutes. Large bubbles should begin to appear at this point, indicating that it has reached a syrupy stage.
  2. As soon as the cake comes out of the pan and is still hot, begin brushing on the lemon glaze over the top. You will need to do this in several coats, waiting a minute or so between coats to allow the glaze to absorb into the cake.
  3. Allow to cool fully before slicing and serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container. Many people say this cake is even better the next day.


This cake can also be baked in a 8x8 square baking pan and served as a sack cake if you prefer. The baking time will be 30-35 minutes but rely on the toothpick test to ensure that it is completely baked.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 slice

Amount Per Serving Calories 350Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 8gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 71mgSodium 159mgCarbohydrates 52gFiber 1gSugar 27gProtein 5g

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gail marks

Friday 11th of September 2020

Made this cake many times and am always complimented on it. Even done it in mini cup-cake pans for a gathering and it always gets rave reviews. FIVE STARS for sure. The best is the freshest lemons you can find. Remember extra juice or rind can always be frozen and used at another time. Nothing goes to waste. Love the recipes.

Anita Christamtsis

Sunday 19th of April 2020

Just made this today. It was absolutely delicious! Thank you for your great recipes! This one is a keeper for sure!


Tuesday 16th of April 2019

I made this Lemon Poppyseed Loaf for my sister for her Church Meeting last night.. She just called to say that when she sliced it, it crumbled - she couldn't get a regular slice from the loaf. Why would that be? I'm just heartsick that this was a fail. Thanks Rhonda

Barry C. Parsons

Wednesday 17th of April 2019

Never had that comment before, nor do I see how it would crumble unless overbaked or a mistake was made with the ingredient amounts. I have made this many times, as have others with no issue. I'd try it again and test it 10 minutes early.


Saturday 23rd of March 2019

Hi Barrie,

You mention a milk/lemon juice mixture in the directions. Am I blind?..... cause I can’t find that in the list of ingredients.

Barry C. Parsons

Monday 25th of March 2019

I see it.

Rhonda O'Shea

Saturday 19th of May 2018

I made this a few weeks ago and it was impossible not to eat it every day!!! It was absolutely delicious...lots of lemon which I love and the poppy seeds were gorgeous...I added more poppy seeds!! My husband loved it too. Great recipe...pass it on.

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