Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Cake (scratch version):

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • zest of 3 small lemons
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons poppyseeds
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup whole milk

Cake (semi-homemade version):

  • 1 box white or yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons poppyseeds


  • 1 cup lemon curd

Lemon Buttercream:

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 3-4 tablespoons cream or milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon extract


Baker's Note:  For the two tiered cake I made pictured here, double the cake recipe and make 1 1/2x the amount of buttercream.


Preheat the oven to 350 and spray three 8 or 9-inch pans with non-stick spray.


Bake the Cake:

For the scratch version, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar for 3 minutes until fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then the lemon zest.  Scrape down the mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and poppyseeds.  Add in three additions, alternating with the lemon juice and milk, starting and ending with the flour, just until moistened.

For the semi-homemade version, mix all ingredients on low to combine, then on medium for 3 minutes.

Divide the batter between the pans and bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Set the pans on wire racks, covered loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and cool completely.

Make the Buttercream:

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and lemon zest until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and meringue powder, mixing on low to combine.  Add the cream/milk and lemon extract; whip on medium high for 4-5 minutes until very light and fluffy.


Stack the cooled cakes, filling with the lemon curd, then frost all over with the buttercream.  Garnish with fresh lemon peel curls or simple fondant lemon slices.

Recipes from Curly Girl Kitchen