lemon poppy seed pound cake
For best results, serve with whipped cream

Sometimes March and April just aren’t as springy as you want them to be. Emotionally you might feel ready to cast winter aside, but outside it’s still jacket weather. The worst part: it will still be a few months before delicious seasonal produce starts to pile up on grocery store shelves. The best way to dispel these winter blues is, or course, to make a cake. This lemon poppy seed pound cake will make it feel like the sun is shining in your home, no matter what is happening outside. 

The bright lemon flavor makes this dessert, even though it’s a pound cake! The finished loaf is not-to-sweet, and a tiny bit tart from the lemon. Even though the technique is simple, this lemon-y loaf really feels like something special. 

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 15 Minutes, Baked Time: 55 to 65 minutes

Makes 1 loaf cake


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice*
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Fresh strawberries, blueberries or blackberries (optional, for serving)
  • Whipped Cream (optional, for serving)


  1. Prepare the pan. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease bottom and sides of a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment and coat the pan with flour; invert the pan and tap to remove any excess flour. In a bowl, whisk together the 2 cups flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds
  1. Start the batter. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the 1 cup butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Cream the mixture on medium-low speed for 3 minutes (it will turn pale yellow and become very fluffy). Add the eggs, one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate before adding the next. After the last egg has been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Mix for 30 seconds at medium-low speed until just combined. 
  1. Finish the batter. Stop the mixer. Add the flour mixture and sour cream. Mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. 
  1. Bake the cake. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until golden brown. (A cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.) Remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Let the cake cool in its pan for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the wire rack. Remove and discard the parchment. Let the cake cool completely before slicing and serving. If desired, serve with fresh berries and whipped cream. Enjoy!

*Test Kitchen Tip: Each lemon gives about 2 tablespoons of juice, so you’ll need 2 lemons to get 3 tablespoons for this recipe.

Looking for even more lemon flavor? Try this lemon ice box cake.