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 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 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 my red velvet cake, cake flour produces a sensationally soft cake. 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. I actually ran out of it when I began making this cake. (A good reminder to  measure out all your ingredients before beginning a recipe.) So I used all-purpose flour with some cornstarch (this is a quick “DIY” homemade cake flour).

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 sweet, simple, bursting with flavor!

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


Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake recipe on sweet, simple, bursting with flavor!

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake recipe on 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

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: serves 10
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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.



  • 2 and 3/4 cups (343g) all-purpose flour* (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch*
  • 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 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure 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)


  1. Lower the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). 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, then place on serving plate before topping with icing/glaze. (Next step.)
  7. Make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Drizzle over cake. Slice and serve.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Flour: 3 cups cake flour work here instead of using the mix of all-purpose flour and cornstarch.
  3. Room Temperature Ingredients: Room temperature ingredients mix together more easily, evenly, and ensure a uniform texture in the cake.
  4. Here is the bundt pan I own and love. Heavy-duty, long-lasting, love the grip handles!
  5. Adapted from Make it Ahead by Ina Garten.

Keywords: lemon poppy seed bundt cake, lemon bundt cake


  1. This was DELISH!! This cake wasn’t too sweet and had just the right amount of lemon taste to it, I LOVED this recipe! I didn’t add the poppy seeds only because I didn’t have any and I did not have a bundt pan so I used 2 loaf pans, it was cooked perfect at 40 mins in the loaf pans. Looks like I’m going out to buy a bundt pan cuz I’m definitely making this again! Thank you!

  2. Fantastic recipe! Followed to a T besides only using 1.5 cups of sugar. I also skipped the glaze based on personal preference. Baking time took about 52 minutes and the cake came out perfectly moist. Thanks, Sally!

  3. This looks delicious and I want to make for Easter morning with coffee. Do you move the cake to a cake plate before glazing? Is that easy enough to do after it’s been “syruped”?

  4. Very refreshing summer treat. I halved the recipe for a 9×5 loaf pan and used 150g cake flour. The cake finished baking at exactly 40 minutes, but I added 3 minutes just for a bit of color on top. I poked holes into the loaf before pouring the syrup on top. Instead of lemon juice, I dissolved the powdered sugar in milk. I found the glaze a bit too runny (I like a thicker glaze), so I doubled the powdered sugar and just added a bit more milk. The cake’s texture was both soft and moist, and lemon lovers will be very happy with the flavor. Will definitely make it again.

  5. I make this cake every summer, minus the poppyseeds! its always a hit.
    this year, i forgot the buttermilk… ooops. (i just read your Chocolate Tuxedo cake story and felt better after hearing you once forgot to put the sugar in!). We didnt even notice buttermilk was missing, it was beautiful coming out of the oven and very fragrant! However, it fell into 6 pieces when i took it out of the bundt pan. Insert Sallys lemon buttercream frosting – YUM. I whipped that up quickly and made lemon cake balls. they were a HIT. thank you Sally for such a great volume of recipes that are so flexible.

  6. This is the most delicious lemon cake EVER. It makes a beautiful bundt and the syrup and glaze ands so much lemon flavor. This is a huge hit! You’ve got to try this.

  7. Hi Sally, I have a question about the amount of cake flour. In the original recipe you measure the AP flour and cornstarch and THEN sift, but the note for cake flour says to sift first. I followed your Measuring 101 guideline of using 100g per cup of sifted cake flour and the cake was delicious, but a bit dense. Given that the original recipe calls for 343g AP flour plus 30g cornstarch, do you think it would be better to add more cake flour? Like at least 345g, which is the weight of unsifted cake flour? Just wondering about the difference between sifting AP flour and cornstarch AFTER measuring vs sifting cake flour BEFORE measuring it. Thanks for your insight and a great recipe, as always!!

    1. That wording is certainly confusing, isn’t it? Sorry about that Katie. The recipe should instruct to sift the cake flour after measuring. I will go ahead and adjust that. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Agnes, If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own sour milk. To do so, add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough regular milk (whole milk is best, but you can use yours) to make 1 cup. Stir the two together and let sit for 5 minutes before using.

  8. I cook as a hobby, but don’t have much experience with baking. Therefore, I followed the recipe exactly. The final product tasted wonderful, but it stuck to the bundt pan, even though I buttered it quite liberally. Should I also have floured it after greasing the pan?
    Looked like a mess, but tasted great.

    1. Hi George, I’m glad you enjoyed the taste of the cake! The bundt pan I link to in the first step of the instructions I have never had a problem with. But to help you with the pan you already own this is a great article:

  9. Hi Sally, greetings from Malaysia. Ive been following your blog and tried some of your recipes. Me and my family love them all.

    I wanted to try this lemon poppy seed bundt cake recipe for a birthday party next week. So I want to know if I can turn this bundt cake recipe to a 3 layer cake recipe. Is it possible?

    I wanted a moist lemon cake that is packed with flavor. Since you wrote that this cake is packed with lemon flavor, I wanted to give it a try. But I dont want it to be too sweet.

    Maybe I could use the lemon syrup to ‘soak’ the cake layers to make them moist before I fill it with lemon cream cheese between the layers.
    Do you think the cake will be ‘too heavy’ with the cream cheese filling?

    I might be using lemon italian meringue buttercream as the frosting.

    Or do U have any other recipe suggestions?

      1. Oh, I completely forgot about this article! Thanks a lot! You always have the all answers and you’re website is a life saver! Keep up the great work!

  10. I used bottles lemon juice and lemon pudding instead of vanilla. I also cut dow on the cornstarch. It was perfect lemon flavor.

  11. Hi Sally.. I’ve made this cake and it was incredible! The best lemony flavour and so moist. I now have a 2kg greek yoghurt in the fridge and I’m looking at ways of using it. Can I use yoghurt instead of buttermilk?

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally