• Sarah Cohan

Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

More lemon! My friend Jared, a trained pastry chef, came over for a baking date last weekend and we didn’t have anything specific on the docket. We checked my “next up” list, and found this - I’d long been wanting to re-make an amazing cream cheese pound cake recipe I’d found a few years back, and my boyfriend loves all things lemon poppyseed (as does Jared apparently!) so this combo was a no-brainer.

This cake bakes low and slow but trust me, it’s worth it. It keeps the cake moist and tender, and the flavor is fantastic. In order to amp up the lemon flavor without adding too much liquid/acid in the form of lemon juice, we used King Arthur’s lemon powder. I have some suggestions below for how you could substitute other options without this, but I can’t promise the same hit of lemon flavor that makes this cake great. If you love lemon and you love baking, you should definitely have this as a staple in your pantry.

Soft, tender, dense, sweet - super lemony, and will keep at room temperature 3-5 days, even after being cut. This is absolutely one of my new favorite recipes, and would be killer for any social gathering. You can even mix it up by using a different citrus for the glaze - grapefruit would be delicious!

Happy Baking!

MAKES one 10” Bundt Cake


  • 3 cups sugar (600g)

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • 3 sticks butter, room temperature

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • 6 eggs

  • 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla

  • 3 cups minus 1 Tablespoon AP flour (352g)

  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice Powder*

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1/8 teaspoon table salt)

  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds, and a little extra for decoration

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 3/4-2 cups powdered sugar

  • 10”-12” Bundt Pan

  • CAKE GOOP! and a silicone brush

  • Hand whisk, mixing bowls, measuring cups + spoons, pyrex measuring cups

  • Stand mixer with beater attachment

*If you don’t want to buy Lemon Juice Powder, you can try this recipe by using the zest of three lemons and 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, but I can’t promise it will be as good!


  1. Preheat your oven to 300° F and apply cake goop liberally to all internal surfaces of your bundt pan - make sure you use enough! Better too much than too little in this case.

  2. Roll your lemon on a surface a few times, pressing down, to release the juices inside before zesting. Then zest your lemon into a mixing bowl and add 600g sugar (3c) and whisk to combine.

  3. In your stand mixer, cream 8oz cream cheese on medium-high until completely smooth. Add 3 sticks of butter and beat on medium-high until combined, about 60 seconds.

  4. Add the sugar/lemon zest mix, and cream on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.

  5. Add 6 eggs - one at a time - mixing on medium until just combined after each. Don’t over mix.

  6. Add 1/2TB vanilla and mix on medium about 10-15 seconds.

  7. Whisk together 352g AP flour (3c - 1TB), 2TB lemon juice powder, 1/4tsp kosher salt, and 2TB poppy seeds. Add to mixer bowl and mix on low, then medium, just until no traces of flour remain.

  8. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl to ensure flour is mixed in thoroughly - if you see traces mix again on medium for 5 seconds.

  9. Pour your batter into your prepared bundt pan, taking care not to splatter on the top or up the sides. Smooth the top to be level with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

  10. Bake for 85-100 minutes - start checking at 80. The cake is done when it’s starting to pull away from the edges of the pan, and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, with no crumbs. If you test and it comes out with a few crumbs but not liquid, make sure to check no later than 5 minutes more.

  11. Let cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes before turning out, then let cool completely to room temperature before glazing.

To make the glaze:

  1. Juice your lemon into a medium mixing bowl and remove any small seeds (pulp is fine).

  2. Sift 1 cup of powdered sugar, then add 1/2c of it to the lemon juice and whisk.

  3. Add more sifted powdered sugar 2TB at a time (up to 2c, depending on how much juice was in your lemon) and whisk to combine. Your glaze is ready when it is completely opaque, and thick enough that it slowly streams off a spoon - not thin enough that it pours or drizzles, and not thick enough that it glops or drops.

  4. Pour the glaze evenly over the cooled cake, and sprinkle with poppy seeds as desired.

  5. Let the glaze harden at room temperature. The cake will keep in a covered container at room temperature 3-5 days (depending on when it’s cut) or you can freeze it until it’s easy to handle, then wrap it thoroughly in two layers of plastic wrap and one layer of aluminum. It will keep frozen for up to 6 months.

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boston, massachusetts

© 2014 by Sarah Cohan