Home Cake Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting [+ Video]

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting [+ Video]


This Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is soft, moist & deliciously buttery with a fresh lemon flavor. Dotted with poppy seeds & topped with cream cheese frosting – it’s the perfect dessert for lemon lovers!

Hi there! It’s Fiona stopping in from Just So Tasty, and today I’m sharing this Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

From Poppy Seed Muffins to Cake!

It’s a soft, buttery, perfectly moist lemon cake that’s dotted with poppy seeds and topped with cream cheese frosting. It’s one of my favorite cakes, and it’s the perfect dessert if you love lemon poppy seed muffins.

The inspiration for this cake came after a friend gifted us with a poppy seed roll. It was a yeast bread with a swirl of poppy seed filling, and absolutely delicious. As I was having a slice with a thick slather of butter, it got me thinking about poppy seed recipes and I realized I hadn’t made any in a very long time.

So – this lemon poppy seed cake was born.

We have an entire video of exactly how to make it, so check it out!


For the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

The lemon poppy seed cake starts with real butter for extra flavor. We’ll cream together the butter and sugar, then mix in the eggs and vanilla. Then we’ll alternate between adding in the sour cream and the dry ingredients. And finally the lemon juice, lemon zest and poppy seeds are stirred in.

How to Make Your Cake Moist

For this lemon cake, we’re using sour cream because it makes the cake crumb oh so soft and perfectly moist. Just make sure it’s room temperature for easy mixing.

Then for the best lemon flavor, we’re using a combination of freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest. Make sure that you don’t use lemon juice from the bottle, otherwise the flavor will be too sour.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

After the cake is done baking and cooled, it’s time to make the cream cheese frosting. Simple, creamy, a little tangy, and the perfect pairing for this lemon cake. We’ll first beat together the cream cheese and butter, then slowly add in the powdered sugar along with a little vanilla extract and lemon juice.

You’ll want to make sure both the butter and cream cheese are well softened to avoid lumps in the frosting, but otherwise it comes together with very little effort.

Can You Freeze Poppy Seed Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting?

You can freeze Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream cheese frosting  is ideal for freezing.

It is sturdy, with plenty of fat, and it will do better in the freezer than a more delicate meringue-based icing.

Just wrap the cake well and freeze.

Thaw before serving.

OR You can freeze the cake before it is frosted. Wrap your cooled cake in plastic food wrap.

Then wrap in tin foil or place in a plastic freezer bag and remove the air.

Thaw the cake completely and then frost.  

Do Poppy Seeds Have Nutritional Value?

Poppy seeds add color and crunch to baked goods, but you’ll also gain nutrients, even from the amount sprinkled on top of a roll. They contain some niacin and folate, but poppy seeds are a better source of minerals. Just 1 teaspoon provides measurable amounts of calcium, iron and zinc.

I brought this lemon poppy seed cake with cream cheese frosting over to a family dinner, and there wasn’t even a tiny sliver left over. It’s buttery, moist, filled with fresh lemon flavor, and the cream cheese frosting is everything that you’d want it to be. Seriously – if you love lemon, you need to try this cake!

Does a Glass Dish Require More Cooking Time Than Metal?

A reader recently asked if her cake pan that is a glass dish requires more cooking time than a metal dish does and as it’s such a good question I wanted to mention it here.

Glass heats up slower but holds on to heat longer, so you may require a little more baking time. To help us not over bake this cake we like to open the oven at the end and let the glass dish cake rest for up to 4 minutes more before removing it from the oven to cool.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

4.26 from 127 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 18

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This Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is soft, moist & deliciously buttery with a fresh lemon flavor. Dotted with poppy seeds & topped with cream cheese frosting – it's the perfect dessert for lemon lovers!


Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

  • 3/4 cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs large, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons lemon zest freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 2-4 tablespoons poppy seeds I used 3 tablespoons

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice freshly squeezed


For the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
  • Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Then beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Using the electric mixer on low speed, beat about 1/2 of the sour cream into the butter mixture followed by about 1/2 of the flour mixture.
  • Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the sour cream and flour mixture.
  • Fold in the lemon zest, lemon juice and poppy seeds using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Once the cake is cooled, make the frosting.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until evenly combined.
  • Then slowly beat in the powdered sugar followed by the vanilla & lemon juice.
  • Frost the cooked cake using a flat edge knife & serve


*Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days or on the counter.

Cake can be frozen with the frosting for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 373
Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 213mg9%
Potassium 102mg3%
Carbohydrates 51g17%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 37g41%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 584IU12%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 62mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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