Lemon Poppyseed Cake

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Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Lemon Poppyseed cake is a traditional afternoon teatime favorite.  Whether baking a light cake version or the classic French Quarte Quart, better known as the pound cake, the tart lemon enhanced by the fruitful, yet mild, nutty flavor of the poppy seeds rich in magnesium, calcium and fiber, topped with a lemon zest glaze is certain to satisfy any sweet tooth. Pair with a tall, cool glass of iced tea or a fragrant pot of Jasmine tea.

The secret to this traditional French Quarte Quart Lemon Poppy Seed cake, meaning ¼ equal parts sugar, butter, eggs and flour, is the zested granulated sugar and high quality Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract and Lemon Paste.

Once again, if you are not inclined to bake from scratch any good pound cake or vanilla cake mix can be augmented with the vanilla extract, lemon paste and poppy seeds.  The same can be added to your own favorite white or vanilla cake recipe.

Be mindful, if taking a drug test that poppy seeds can register as a substance that may cause you to fail the test.

Lemon Poppy Seed Quarte Quart Cake

Lemon Poppyseed Cake


  • 4 large eggs
    1 – 1/2 cups granulated sugar (Lemon infused even better)
    1 – 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 1 Tablespoon Lemon Paste
    2 – 1/3 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds (to preferred taste) 

9 inch round cake pan, Bundt pan, Charlotte* Bundt pan or 9 inch Loaf pan.

Coat the bottom and sides of the baking pan with PAM™ BACKING SPRAY.  Dust the same with plain or lemon infused granulated sugar. (This will allow your cake to pop right out when cool)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

LEMON INFUSED GRANUALTED SUGAR: 2 Cups Granulated Sugar, Grated Zest of one lemon. Be certain to only use the yellow skin and no white pith.   Place into a blender or Cuisinart and pulsate until mixed together. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

SUGAR GLAZE: 2 Cups of Confectioner’s Sugar, 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest, 2 to 3 Tablespoons lemon juice. Stir together until a thin, glossy glaze forms.  Add more juice or water to thin.

PREPARATION: Separate the egg whites from the yolks into two (2) bowls.

Lightly beat the egg yolks until buttery yellow.  Add sugar and butter, beating continuously until the mixture is smooth.  Add the lemon juice and lemon paste, flour, and poppy seeds; continue mixing all until are well blended.

Add salt to the egg whites and beat until firm peaks form.  Gently, fold the stiffed egg whites into the batter. Do not stir too long or the egg whites will lose their volume.  Pour batter half way into the prepared cake pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any trapped air. Depending on the size of the pan you may have extra batter that may be used in a prepared muffin or cupcake pan.  Adjust baking time accordingly checking at the 15 to 18 minutes time until done.

Note: alternately- if chopped almonds are desired, sprinkle over the top of the cake before baking. Sliced pineapple may also be added to the bottom of the pan coated with butter and brown sugar, then add the batter and bake.

Bake for 50 minutes to one hour or until a toothpick when removed is clean.  If not using all of the batter check the cake at 30 minutes and monitor until done.

Remove the cake from the oven onto a wire rack to cool down approximately 10-15 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack over a bowl placed into the sink. While still warm add the prepared lemon zest glaze on top of the cake.  Pour the glaze onto the center and with the back of spoon or spatula ease out to the edges until covered. Sprinkle more grated zest on top for decoration.  Allow the glaze to set.  Transfer to your serving or cake plate. Cover with a cake dome, aluminum foil or cellophane until ready to serve. Depending on pan should serve 8 to 12.



  • Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea~Tips, Terms and Traditions(RED WAGON PRESS), an afternoon tea authority, lifestyle and etiquette industry leader, keynote speaker and product spokesperson, is a hospitality, design, and retail consultant whose clients have included the Waldorf=Astoria, the Plaza and Bergdorf Goodman. Easton’s family traces their tea roots to the early 1800s, when ancestors first introduced tea plants from India and China to the Colony of Ceylon, thus building one of the largest and best cultivated teas estates on the island.

2 Responses

  1. Mercedes Serralles says:

    Simply Spectacular!!!!! Refined and for Lemon Lovers Heaven!Bravo Ellen

  2. Polly says:

    Yummy cake and so classic! Great for light dessert in summer.

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