Lemon-poppy seed cake is a little bit like banana bread; an classic and ever present option at cafés and potlucks alike.
I remember standing at the counter at the Second Cup café near school (and later near uni) completely exhausted, waiting for my much needed caffeine order, and trying to decide which sugary treat was going to complement my double-shot latte. I inevitably went for the lemon loaf. There is just something about the freshness of the zest, the bright glaze, and the fun texture of the poppy seeds that always did it for me.
I have tried for a long time to make a homemade version of this café staple, and after many (SO MANY) attempts, I have finally achieved a similar texture and flavour, though slightly less sweet and with a little more natural tang.
This recipes is flavourful enough without the drizzle, but for that extra punch of that classic lemony goodness, I highly recommend not skipping it!
Pair it with Lemony Poppins or Fior di Sicilia granola for a boost of goodness and crunchy bite.
Read the recipe all the way to the end before starting the process.
Make sure to prepare you ingredients and tools during your first read through. It will make the process go much more smoothly.
1 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sugar (preferably raw cane, coconut, date, or other unrefined sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract/paste/powder
1/3 cup butter or neutral vegetable oil
1 cup milk mixed with 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice then set aside 5 mins
Zest of 1 lemon + reserved juice for frosting if desired
2 tbsp (to taste) poppy seeds
1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 convection), and grease a loaf pan/small bundt cake pan, or any other standard size mold.
- Pour the milk into a medium bowl, add the vinegar, and set aside.
- In a larger bowl, pour the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, poppy seeds, zest, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
- Separate the eggs, and add the yolks to the milk, along with the butter/oil, and beat until smooth.
- Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, and whisk until just combined. Don’t overbeat.
- Fold in the egg white until just combined. You don’t want to deflate the peaks too much.
- Pour into mold, sprinkle granola on top of the batter (if using frosting, skip this step – see step 9), and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- FROSTING (optional): mix 1/2 cup of icing sugar with lemon juice, one teaspoon at a time, until you reach desired consistency. It should be as thick as pourable honey. Drizzle over the cake once it has cooled, and garnish with Fior di Sicilia (or alternatively, Lemony Poppins) granola immediately so that it sets into the frosting.
Enjoy the lemony goodness!