I have a friend who loves lemon flavored desserts but struggles so hard to make them. Somehow they never taste lemon-y, unless they add lemon extract in which case they’re TOO lemon-y. It’s a struggle, so when I had the opportunity to bake a cake for their housewarming party I immediately decided to make a lemon flavored dessert and landed on this Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake!
I love bundt cakes because they have the same visual impact of a beautiful layered cake but with far less work – the shape of the pan does most of the decorating for you! Plus you can make a super simple frosting or glaze, rather than making a more time consuming buttercream. It’s a win all around!
This bundt cake is delicious and so, so simple to make! There are a few things to keep in mind though:
- prep the pan – make sure you’re really thorough when you butter your pan and dust it with flour. You want to make sure no little piece of cake sticks to the pan when you turn it out so you don’t lose any of the pattern created by the shape of the pan!
- don’t overmix – when you mix a batter with flour in it you’re developing gluten which gives whatever you’re making a dense, tough texture. This is ideal for breads, but for cakes you want something soft and fluffy so don’t overmix the batter. As soon as the flour is just incorporated turn off the mixer, and don’t worry about a couple of streaks of flour since they’ll get incorporated as you put the batter into the pan
- level the batter before baking – in order to have the flattest bottom possible so that your bundt stands beautifully when you pull it out, take the extra minute to level out the batter before popping the cake in the oven
- let it bake – because bundt cakes are larger than most cakes the cook time is also quite a bit higher. Don’t worry! Let it bake, there’s nothing worse than an undercooked cake that falls in the middle. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick or skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan
What I love about this recipe is that it can be taken in so many different directions!
- switch up the citrus – you could absolutely use any citrus you wanted to in this cake! sub the lemon for grapefruit for a different type of citrus tang or use lime instead and add in some coconut for an island vibe
- add a different mix-in – instead of poppy seeds you could add some nuts or any other mix-in you’d like! Just be careful when adding fresh fruits or anythign with a lot of liquid as it could upset the ratios of the cake
- make it fruity – if you want some fresh fruit in there, I’ve got a Peach Bourbon Bundt Cake that you’ll love!
Next time you want a beautiful, impressive dessert but don’t want to spend a lot of time on it this is the recipe for you! Give it a try and let me know what you think.
This Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake has it all - a super simple, quick recipe that produces a beautifully decorative cake that's packed with a tangy lemon flavor. You're sure to love it!
for the cake
- 113 g (1/2 cup / 1 stick) butter, softened, plus more for the pan
- 200 g (1 cup) sugar
- zest from 2 large lemons
- 240 g (2 cups) flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 14 g (1.5 Tbsp) poppy seeds
- 120 mL (1/2 cup) milk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 60 mL (1/4 cup) lemon juice
- 2 eggs
for the frosting
- 120 g (1 cup) powdered sugar
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- prep: preheat the oven to 350*. prep your bundt pan by melting about 1 Tbsp of butter and brushing every nook and cranny of the pan. dust with a couple tablespoons of flour and shake around to cover the entire surface. set aside
- cream the butter and sugar: in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the softened butter, sugar, and lemon zest with the paddle attachment on medium speed until very light in color and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. stop every couple of minutes to scrape down the sides of the bowl
- combine the dry ingredients: in a medium bowl, thoroughly combine the flour, salt, poppy seeds, and baking powder. set aside
- combine the wet ingredients: in a small bowl, combine the milk, vanilla, and lemon juice. set aside
- bring the batter together: add the eggs, one at a time, to the creamed butter and sugar, mixing well after each addition. add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the bowl and mix to combine, then add 1/2 of the wet ingredients until combined, another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then the remaining wet ingredients, and finally the last of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined
- bake: pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth the top so it's flat. bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is slightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
- let it cool: let the cake cool for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack. let cool completely
- make the frosting: in a small bowl, combine all of the frosting ingredients. It's supposed to be thick enough to hold it's shape and gently drip down teh sides of the cake. if the consistency isn't quite right, add additional powdered sugar to thicken it or a bit of water to thin it out
- enjoy: top the cake with the frosting and enjoy!