Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake.

Sweet, simple, luscious glazed lemon poppy seed bundt cake to bring sunshine to even the coldest of days.

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com-- sweet, simple, bursting with flavor!

It was 5°F over the weekend with a “real feel” of -8°F and 50mph winds. So I made the most cheerful dessert on the planet.

Sunshine in a bundt pan.

Sundress, flip-flops.

Roadtrips, best friends.

Windows down, music blaring.

Warm days. A girl can dream.

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com-- sweet, simple, bursting with flavor!

After apple pie, lemon desserts of any kind are my favorite. Not peanut butter and (gasp!!!!) not sprinkle-y things. Who am I? Don’t worry, they’re both a close third. Truthfully, my tastebuds belong to all things fruity. This lemon bundt cake’s flavor is divine. The lemon is so lemon-y, but not at all sour and eye-squinty. I made up way to many words in this paragraph.

What I’m trying to say is that the lemon flavor is spot-on. When it comes to lemon desserts, what I run into often is finding the right balance between tart and sweet. And too much flavor vs. no flavor at all. But this lemon bundt cake nails it. Lemon is worked into every single component:

  • Lemon poppy seed cake
  • Lemon simple syrup
  • Lemon glaze

Even when used in each layer, the lemon flavor doesn’t taste overwhelming. The cake itself is balanced out with sweet vanilla and rich buttery flavors. The simple syrup seeps into the cake creating that mouthwatering moist texture. And the lemon glaze on top? Well that’s just a given. What’s cake without some frosting?!

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

For the softest, most cakey texture (read: the best texture!)– I like to use creamed butter and cake flour in the batter. Creamed butter and sugar provide a deliciously cakey base for the recipe. And as you might remember from last week, cake flour produces a sensationally soft cake. That’s why it’s called cake flour. It’s for cakes! Rocket science. I don’t use it all the time for my cakes and cupcakes, but for bundt cakes that are usually a little heavier, it’s just perfect. Funny story. I ran out of it when I began making this cake! Duh. A good reminder to, um, measure out all your ingredients before beginning a recipe. So I used all-purpose flour with some cornstarch (this is a quick “DIY” cake flour). I tested the recipe again with cake flour this week– also tasty. I’ll include a note about all-purpose/cake flour in the written recipe.

Bundt cakes have the tendency to be a little dry, so let’s use a few eggs for tenderness and buttermilk for a moist texture. Some poppy seeds add a sprinkle of light crunch and let’s use lots of fresh lemon zest and juice for flavor.

The simple syrup, which goes onto the cake as it cools, is crucial. I’ve been toying around with using simple syrups on cakes for the past few months. A drizzle of homemade lemon syrup over this cake puts it over the top. It gives the edges, which can dry out quickly, moisture and flavor. In fact, I ate the syrup-soaked edges of the cake before even making it to the center of the cake. They’re the BEST part.

So, the simple “soaking” syrup. It’s imperative. 

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com-- sweet, simple, bursting with flavor!

A light glaze made from confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice finishes things off.

Lick-the-plate-good.

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com-- sweet, simple, bursting with flavor!

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com-- sweet, simple, bursting with flavor!

This blissful sunshine cake, everyone, is the epitome of lemon desserts. And the perfect cure for those cold winter blues. Kevin doesn’t even like lemon and he raved about this cake. The man also never raves about anything besides motorcycles and bikes, so that should be enough to convince you.

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

This lemon poppy seed bundt cake is full of fresh lemon flavor! Don't skip the simple syrup; it's the best part. Bundt cakes are usually a little heavier, so don't expect a super light texture. Soft and cakey, most definitely. Avoid overbaking, which can dry out your cake. Read the recipe in full before beginning. You will need 4 and 1/2 large lemons total.

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 2 and 3/4 cups (343g) all-purpose flour1 (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch1
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large Eggland's Best eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • zest of 4 large lemons (about 1/3 cup, packed)
  • juice of 2 large lemons (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, room temperature

Lemon Simple "Soaking" Syrup

  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • juice of 2 large lemons (about 1/2 cup)

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup (120g) sifted confectioners sugar
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon (or 1 medium - 2 Tablespoons)

Directions:

  1. Lower the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray the inside of a 10 inch bundt pan with nonstick spray or grease thoroughly with butter. Set aside.
  2. Make the cake: Sift the flour and cornstarch together into a large bowl. Whisk in the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds. Set aside.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together fairly well. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs and the vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the lemon zest and lemon juice. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix. The batter will be slightly thick.
  4. Pour/spoon the batter evenly into the bundt pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cover the cake loosely with aluminum foil if you begin to see the top browning quickly. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes inside the pan.
  5. During this time, make the simple syrup. Combine the granulated sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, cook until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Invert the slightly cooled bundt cake onto a wire rack set over a large plate or serving dish. Spoon the syrup on top of the cake. Allow cake to cool before glazing and serving.
  7. Make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Drizzle over cake. Slice and serve.
  8. Make ahead tip: Prepare cake and syrup through step 6. Cover the cake tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze up to 2 months. The flavor will be amazing after this time! Bring to room temperature and continue with step 7.

Recipe Notes:

  1. 3 cups sifted cake flour work here instead of using the mix of all-purpose flour and cornstarch.
  2. Why all room temperature? Room temperature ingredients mix together more easily, evenly, and ensure a uniform texture in the cake.

Here is the bundt pan I own and love. Heavy-duty, long-lasting, love the grip handles!

Adapted from Make it Ahead by Ina Garten

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Try my Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars too!

Creamy Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars. So simple to make! sallysbakingaddiction.com

 Eggland’s Best provided me with eggs to bring you this cake recipe.

165 comments

  1. This is perfect–exactly what I was looking for! I wanted something really moist with a good color without added dye. I’ve made it twice and its bakery quality! Good work!

  2. Can I substitute orange for lemon in this recipe and make this a orange poppyseed bundt cake? Same amounts on juice and zest, etc?

  3. Hi 🙂

    I am just about to make this cake for my mum’s birthday- however i have a bundt tin that is 2.4 litres in volume from Nordicware. Is this volume the same as the tin you used to make this cake?

    Thank you 

  4. Hi Sally. 
    I live in the UK and love the look of a bundt cake for my mother in law’s birthday cake next week. Her favourite is coffee and walnut. Do you think I could alter this recipe? I’m hoping to leave out the lemon and replace with coffee and replace the poppy seeds with walnuts. But I’m concerned about the syrup. Can I use espresso and sugar to make the syrup?
    Kelly xx

  5. this turned out very floury and dry even though i followed the recipe and measured everything exactly – used 300g of cake flour. It was really disappointing, not sure what happened:(

  6. Hey Sally,
    I live in India where lemons are not available, will it be okay if I replace the lemons with lime. I hope to see your reply soon.:)

    • I can’t see why the limes wouldn’t work. As long as you have the same volume of liquid and zest, I think it should work and be very tasty.

  7. Hi Sally,
    I baked this cake in a bundt pan and I also made one small cupcake at the same time (as a sampler so I could taste it without cutting into the cake!) The cupcake cooked perfectly (and was delicious!) but the centre of the cake sank. It never got the proper rise, and became dense and spongy instead. Any idea what I might have done wrong?
    Thanks! 

    • Hi Caitlyn! I wonder if the cake was underbaked. That’s typically the reason why cakes sink in the center. Did you open/close the oven a lot during bake time? A change in oven temperature could also be the reason.

  8. Hi Sally! I’ve been trying one of your recipes every Sunday for five months now and they’ve been the happiest weeks of my life! I’d love to make this one tomorrow but I have a question – does the cake need the soaking to be moist? Will it be too dry if I don’t add it? I’m afraid it would make the cake too sweet, added with the glaze (I always reduce the sugar because I can’t take too much sweetness I’m afraid).

  9. I made this for the first time. I used a fancy, patterned bunny cake from Williams Sonoma that I sprayed thoroughly with canola oil before baking. The cake still struck to the pan and I had some difficulty getting it out in one piece. With this type of pan would it have been better to grease & flour the pan?
    By the way it is delicious!

  10. I had no lemons or poppy seeds on hand but did have a store bought lemon supreme cake mix so used it.
    When it was time to spoon on the syrup;(using Real Lemon lemon juice) Using a wooden skewer I poked holes on top of the cake and then I spooned the lemon syrup over the top letting it soak down into the cake. When cake cooled completely I then iced with the lemon icing….. Delicious.
    I made due with what I had on hand.
    Now if you will excuse me; I heading out to have my 3rd slice of cake :}

  11. Hi Sally,

    I just made this cake in an antique mini cake pan, like a muffin tin, but with the tiniest flutes around the top of each cake. They came out so beautiful and taste amazing.  I was introduced to your website when a colleague brought in the Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies.  So good.  I’ve made something from your website every week since and everything has been wonderful.  Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  12. What to do if you live in India where no huge lemons exist even in the fanciest of markets and the only thing you get is super thin-skinned lime, which even though adds a pretty amazing lemon flavor, but is almost impossible to zest, as the peel is so thin? Is there any other way round to jot down a lot of lemon flavor by using lemon juice and NOT any essences? If yes, will the addition of lemon juice make the batter over acidic? Would love to hear a suggestion. Thank you!

  13. This cake was absolutely wonderful! So full of lemony flavor that lemon-lovers just raved about it! Three months after serving it, I’m still receiving compliments! I’ve got to make it again, soon!

  14. Absolutely fabulous.  Served at a baby shower and the only change was the addition of some strawberry juice to the glaze to make it pink! Beautifully moist, dense crumb.  Definitely going in the recipe folder.

  15. Tried out this recipe for Father’s Day and it was a hit. I added in ½ cup of poppy seeds (as it gave the bundt a textural element). I also did not use the lemon soaking syrup and am glad because the lemon flavor from the zest, juice and glaze is plenty. I baked the bundt for 50 minutes but closely kept checking as to not dry it out–the crust was beautiful and golden with a fluffy lemony center. Great recipe!

  16. How much cake flour should be used in this recipe?

    • See recipe note– enjoy!

      • Hi Sally, I did use cake flour,  thanks for the measure note. The cake is delicious! We especially enjoyed it the next day when all the flavor really soaked in. And we warmed it for a few seconds in the microwave, soooo good!

  17. My kids and I recently had this at a church potluck–it was amazing! The woman who brought it was kind enough to send me the recipe link. It looks similar to a sour cream pound cake that we recently made. Have you ever tried sour cream vs. buttermilk, in this cake or in others, and if so, do you have a reason for preferring the buttermilk?

    Also, do you happen to have a weight for the 3 cups of sifted cake flour? And if not, do you measure the three cups before or after sifting (that’s a stupid question, I’m sure…)

    Thanks!

    • Not a stupid question at all! Sift THEN measure 🙂
      I haven’t tried with sour cream– I’d imagine the cake taste a little denser. If that’s what you’d like, give it a try! So glad you enjoyed it.

  18. Thank you!

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