lemon poppyseed cake

Lemon poppyseed layer cake, the perfect spring cake for any occasion.  

Lemon poppyseed layer cake. Everyone knows that I love a sweet/tart combination in my bakes. I’m not overly fond of rich desserts. So, this lemon poppyseed layer cake is perfect for satisfying that sweet tooth, it’s light, sweet and just the right amount of tart. The lemon zest and juice help to lift the flavour of the cake and give it a rich lemon taste. The poppyseeds, although not adding any flavour give a fantastic crunch and texture. Poppyseeds are fantastic in bakes because they give a little excitement to the texture and they look wonderful when lovingly sprinkled on top of your bakes.  

lemon poppyseed cake

When spring comes around, it’s time to put away the chocolate and the caramel for the time being and start using all the wonderful fruit that is coming into season. Citrus fruit is fantastic this time of year and it’s important to utilize all of the fruit. If you’re baking with citrus, don’t forget the zest, almost all of the oil is in the zest of citrus fruits and with it all of the flavour.  A good couple of tablespoons of zest in this cake helps lift the lemon flavour and make this recipe spectacular.  

The trick to achieving that smooth frosting on a layer cake like this is a good cake scraper. Roughly frost your cake and then run the scraper vertically around your cake to achieve that smooth side. There are hundreds of cake scrapers on the market and you don’t need to spend a lot to achieve fantastic results.

lemon poppyseed cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Layer Cake

Sweet and tart lemon poppyseed cake with sweet lemon frosting 
Course: Dessert
Keyword: layer cake, Lemon, poppyseed


For the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

  • 360 g cake flour sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 230 g butter room temperature
  • 450 g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 170 ml milk
  • 60 ml lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp poppy seeds

for the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 340 g full fat cream cheese
  • 400 g butter slightly softened
  • 700 g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

For the Decoration

  • Lemon slices
  • Poppy Seeds


For the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 180C. Line 2 shallow 8” cake pans with baking paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, lemon zest and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Combine milk and lemon juice in a jug and set aside to curdle.
  • In a standalone mixer beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on low, add eggs one at a time. Mix well after each egg, if the mixture looks as if it will split add 1 tablespoon of flour after each egg.
  • Add vanilla extract and mix to combine.
  • Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately. 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/3 of the milk, mixing well after each addition, repeat until all of the flour and milk is well incorporated.
  • Add poppy seeds and mix one last time to combine.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the pans.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.
  • Let cool in pans for 10 to 15 minutes, remove from pans and leave to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Using a stand mixer and a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  • Add vanilla, lemon zest and juice and beat together until evenly combined.
  • Gradually add icing sugar, beating well in-between additions. Beat until all sugar is combine and the mixture is smooth.

To Decorate

  • Place a thin layer of frosting evenly over one cake, place a second layer of cake on top.
  • Place another thin layer of frosting evenly over the second layer of cake and top with the third cake.
  • Cover the third layer of cake with a thicker layer of frosting.
  • Evenly coat the entire cake with a 1cm thick layer of frosting using a cake scraper to even out the edges.
  • Decorate with lemon slices and a sprinkle of poppy seeds
lemon poppyseed cake

And there you have it, my lemon poppyseed layer cake! Don’t forget to tag Whats Eating Manchester in your social media post to show me your bakes! 

For more recipe inspiration don’t forget to check out my Pinterest or Blog! 

Sarah x