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!

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake recipe on 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 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 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)


  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. 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


  1. bethan davies says:

    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 

  2. 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

    1. Sounds tasty! You can certainly leave off the syrup step. I’d skip it for the flavor you are making.

  3. 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:(

  4. 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.:)

    1. 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.

  5. 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?

    1. 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.

  6. 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).

  7. 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!

    1. I always recommend greasing and lightly flouring NEW pans. I’m glad you enjoyed the cake!

  8. ColleenB.~Texas says:

    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 :}

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

    1. I would suggest a lemon extract if you can get your hands on it.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

    1. This is Ina Garten’s EXACT recipe for lemon poppyseed cake. I made it two weeks ago. I was just scrolling through Pinterest for more variations but this is completely plagiarized.

  13. 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!

    1. So happy to hear it was a hit!!

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

    1. See recipe note– enjoy!

      1. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. Thank you!

  17. Natalie Krueger says:

    So, after I drizzled the simple syrup onto the cake, I decided to see what it tasted like by spooning some out of the plate I placed under the rack to capture the excess. It was so good that I took the plate out and literally just drank all of it. I felt kind of sick for about an hour…maybe it was just the guilt talking… I guess what I’m saying is, this cake was spectacular and I will make t again at least once a month for the rest of my life!!

  18. Pamela Dickson says:

    Just made this and it’s in the oven! Results are to come later! Now back to football! It sure smells good! 

  19. I tried your recipe today and I have to say it tasts lovely BUT I used a silicon bundt tin with rather sharp edges and a) my cake needed twenty more minutes in the oven befor it was baked and b) the edges on the surface of the cake were burnt and I had to cut them of. Do you have any idea how I could do better next time? Should I reduce the oven-temperature and bake it longer? Or should I reduce the amount of batter in the pan so it could bake through in shorter time?

    1. I would either fill your bundt cake pan with a little less batter OR reduce the oven temperature.

  20. Is there a way I can make the cake dairy-free? I’m lactose intolerant and been on the hunt for a lemon poppyseed bundt cake recipe :/

  21. Can I use this recipe for mini Bundt cakes? If so, how long should I bake them?
    Thanks Sally!! You’re amazing and I love all of your recipes that I’ve tried 🙂

    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you for the sweet comment! You can use this regular size bundt cake batter for mini bundt cakes, but I’m unsure of the bake time.

  22. Hi Sally,

    Love your recipes so much! I make this recipe all the time as a bundt and it always goes down so well. I’m wondering how to adapt it to make in a loaf tin? What would you suggest? Different cooking time/temperature? Or do you think it would work better to adapt your lemon pound cake ( by adding poppy seeds and the lemon soaking syrup)?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Kirsty! Thank you so much for the comment. I suggest making my lemon pound cake recipe instead. Add 1-2 Tbsp poppy seeds and you can brush with soaking syrup when it’s done. 🙂 Enjoy!

  23. Love your recipes ,always search for the cakes I want to make here first. Can I make this cake in a regular Cake pan? I just moved and left my bundt tin in another country Thank you!

    1. Hi Rania! You can use this batter for any size pan, but the bake time will vary. Fill whichever pan halfway with batter and use any extra for cupcakes/muffins.

  24. Hi Sally! I just turned this out of the bundt pan and am excited to try the finished product! I am curious though – have you ever made this and had a thin layer of the cake stay in the pan and leave a rougher looking texture on the outside of the bundt? It was the gorgeous golden brown that was still in the pan. I’m wondering if it’s because I used cooking spray vs. butter to coat the pan. I cooked 45 minutes until toothpick came out clean and let it cool in pan for 10 minutes. It didn’t release easily when I turned it over but let it sit upside down in the pan on a rack until it dropped out. Perhaps I should have let cool a tiny bit more in the pan…? Thanks for any insight! I know it’s going to taste delicious!

    1. Hi Shay! I usually use nonstick spray in my bundt pans. There are just so many crevices and nonstick spray seems to get in everywhere it should! So anyway, I don’t think it was the cooking spray. It was likely the cooling OR it wasn’t actually baked all the way. I usually let my bundt cakes cool completely in the pan but this recipe uses a sugar syrup for soaking into the warm cake. If you try the recipe again, cool the baked cake for a little longer inside the pan. Maybe 20-30 minutes instead. Bake a few extra minutes next time too. And don’t forget lots of cooking spray!

  25. I made this one for this week’s night shift!! I think I overcooked it a little so it was a bit dry. And would use leas sugar next time (I’m not an big sweet tooth) but it was nonetheless devoured!! Thanks for feeding us nurses- look forward to next lot of nights to try something else!!

    1. I’m glad they enjoyed this one too!!

  26. Hi, Awesome recipe! I had so many compliments on this cake. I am curious to know if I made this recipe as cupcakes would the cooking time change? Please let me know. Thanks 🙂

  27. Hi Sally!

    Thanks for your recipes! Can I replace butter milk with whole milk? Thanks 🙂

  28. Hi Kate, thank you for taking the time to leave such a kind comment! I’m thrilled it was such a big hit!

  29. 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!

  30. 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!

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