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.
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.
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!
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest, freshly grated
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2-4 tablespoons poppy seeds (I used 3 tablespoons)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 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 ½ of the sour cream into the butter mixture followed by about ½ 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
- 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
This Lemon Jello Cake is perfect for anytime of year. The fresh tastes of summer or to brighten the winter holiday meals.