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!

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

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 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.

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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

Description

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 flour* (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • zest of 3 large lemons (about 1/4 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)

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  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. Buttermilk: Buttermilk helps produce a supremely moist cake. If you don’t have buttermilk, use whole milk instead. You can use lower fat or nondairy milks in a pinch, but the cake won’t taste nearly as rich and moist.
  5. Here is the bundt pan I own and love. Heavy-duty, long-lasting, love the grip handles!
  6. Adapted from Make it Ahead by Ina Garten.

Keywords: lemon poppy seed bundt cake, lemon bundt cake

222 Comments

  1. Annie @ Annie's Noms says:

    This really is like sunshine!! It’s super cold here at the moment and I have flu, so I’m feeling pretty miserable, but just looking at your photos of this cake is brightening my day – ADORE lemon in my desserts!

    1. Tom ~ Raise Your Garden says:

      Both of my kid’s are under the weather as well. It’s been freezing cold here in Buffalo, NY and who doesn’t need a little sunshine even if it’s in the form of a BUNDT CAKE!

  2. I’m so with you. Two weeks ago I couldn’t stop baking with Meyer lemons because it’s freezing out, and I just wanted to taste summer!
    Lemon cake is so addictive, and most people don’t realize it until they can’t stop eating it. This one looks perfect, cake flour and all!

  3. Mariana @The Candid Kitchen says:

    So glad you stressed how important it is to soak this cake. Hands down one of my favourites x

  4. Eye-squinty, baaahahahaha! I love it. I started soaking my lemon poppyseed loaf in a lemon simple syrup and it made ALL the difference in the world in flavor and texture. Amazing what a little sugar water can do!

    1. Yes! Everyone who tasted this cake agreed. The lemon syrup is the best part!

  5. Kerry @ Kerry Cooks says:

    I love how simple and spring like this cake is! Yummy!

  6. Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures says:

    Yum! Lemon is such a cheerful flavor!

  7. YAY! Lemon Poppyseed is one of my all time favorites. Can’t wait to try this… but first, let me go get a bundt pan. 😀

  8. Lemon Poppy Seed anything just screams ‘”SPRING!!” in my book. Cannot wait to bake this cake – I’ve been itching to bake all things spring-like and fruity for weeks! This cake looks delicious, Sally!

  9. Jennie @themessybakerblog says:

    I sure could use some sunshine in my life right now. It’s cold…real cold. Love this super moist cake. Pinned.

  10. Thank goodness winter gives us bright citrus to get us through! Love this sunshine on a plate Sally 🙂

  11. This seriously is a sunshine cake! 🙂

  12. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg says:

    I am in the same boat with you as far as summer wishes go! You know it’s cold out when you get excited to see 30 degrees in the forecast. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one struggling with this cold. Bring on lemon everything!

    1. 30 degrees sounds sweltering right now!

  13. Lemon soaking syrup sounds like my favorite invention ever! Recipes like this make me even more confused that some people don’t like lemon. Seriously?! Your photographs are beautiful, as always…they make me long for spring SO much. This is a perfect Easter cake 🙂

    1. Every time I make a lemon cake of sorts, I’m reminded that I don’t bake with lemon nearly enough! This cake is so, so good Caley. You would love it!

  14. Jen @ One More Cookie Blog says:

    I am always dreaming of summer and sunshine! This cake looks fabulous! Lemon Poppy Seed is my boyfriends absolute favourite. I’m heading down to visit him this weekend and maybe I will make this cake if I can find a bundt pan in his kitchen :p

  15. Monica @ Mocha and Moccasins says:

    Lemon and poppyseed taste amazing together! The soaking syrup is amazing – gimme that glaze!

    Monica – Mocha and Moccasins

  16. My bundt pan broke!! What other pans do you suggest we could bake this cake in? thanks!

    1. You may bake in two loaf pans– I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten’s lemon loaf (link in the recipe notes) and she uses two loaf pans.

  17. Hi! Could you use a pan that has a bunch of little bundt pans in it? I think there is either 9 or 12 on a pan. Would I need to change anything significant like baking time or anything? Thanks!

    1. The recipe would not change, but I’m unsure about the bake time for mini bundt cakes.

  18. Karen @ On the Banks of Salt Creek says:

    I LOVE lemon desserts. Unfortunately my family does not! Sad for me. This looks amazing so I think I’ll have to sneak this one in ….hey, if they don’t eat much that just means more for me

  19. Whoo-hoo! I love all things lemon! And I have great success with bundt cakes. And lemon-poppy seed is a fabulous combination. One of my favorite cookies to make is a frosted lemon poppy seed recipe I found. I also make a nice lemon-glazed loaf cake. I am just going to have to give this one a try. This idea of soaking the cake is new to me. Basically I soak it in the syrup, put it in the fridge for at least 2 days (if I can wait that long…) and then glaze the cake? Sounds incredible. I will have to try this.

    1. Ooops….I see I’ve erred. I don’t have to wait 2 days to glaze and eat it. You were just saying you could make it ahead if needs be. All I have to do is wait till it cools completely before glazing it. Good! Because after making a cake like this, I don’t think I could wait a day or two to try it!

  20. Ramona @ The Merchant Baker says:

    I love a good lemon poppy seed cake…I haven’t tried cake flour in a bundt recipe…love the idea of a bit of lightness…

    I think having any citrusy treat in the cold weather months makes it feel just a little bit sunnier 🙂

  21. Michelle @ Modern Acupuncture says:

    Lemon desserts are one of my favorites, too! So sad they often get forgotten in a world of chocoholics. Really looking forward to making this this weekend. I could use a little sunshine. It’s -24 degrees here today with wind chill 🙁

    1. Stay warm Michelle!

  22. This looks like a small slice of heaven, cannot wait to try it. A friend of mine recently introduced me to your blog and I’m embarrassed to say how many things I’ve already baked and maybe inhaled (slight sweet tooth here). I think we may have been sisters in a former life, or at least our taste buds were. Thanks for your awesome!

  23. Eve @ Baking the Day says:

    Oh, those slices of cake look amazing! A real feel of -8ºc?!? That is soo cold! Good job you made this cheerful and tasty cake, it looks so divine.

  24. After driving out to our mailbox (we don’t have a long driveway) and running back inside, this cake brings just the slightest bit of sunshine and warmth to this blustery day! HOW CAN IT BE THIS COLD AND WINDY?!

    On another note, I always know a recipe is good if my brother(s) or dad rave about it. The ones who talk about manly things all the live-long-day are the ones who let you know what is truly amazing. haha!

    1. So cold!!! And I don’t blame you for driving to the mailbox.

  25. Averie @ Averie Cooks says:

    creamed butter and cake flour and simple syrup = HEAVEN right there! 🙂

    This cake is so sunny, cheery, happy and who couldn’t fall in love with it! The pics just make me happy looking at them!

  26. Emily @ Life on Food says:

    I am all for eating to make it feel warmer. Summer cannot come soon enough!

  27. Arman @ thebigmansworld says:

    Having a cake like that would definitely make you feel warm (or at least, let’s convince ourselves of that!)

    I used to dislike citrus in baked goods but had the best lemon poppyseed muffin and have changed my mind- So good!

  28. Lena | la fille lumineuse says:

    I’ve always been a lover of lemon cake in every way, shape or form imaginable ☺
    This may totally get me out of the winter blues 😀

  29. OMG this looks like the sunshine of my love in a pan – can’t wait to try!

  30. Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life says:

    I love anything citrus and poppy seed-y and I can’t believe I’ve never tried coating it with a lemon simple syrup before frosting! Thanks for providing the answer and inspiration Sally! You bring a little sunshine into our everyday too!

    1. I love reading your comments Amy. They are such a treat! Thank you for always saying hi. =)

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