Posted on

cake frosting seeds

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8 x 2-inch cake pans with vegetable pan spray.

In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poppy seeds and lemon zest; mix well. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time until thoroughly combined. Add sour cream, milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract; mix well. Fold in flour mixture. Divide evenly between prepared pans.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on cooling grid. Turn cakes out on cooling grid; cool completely before decorating .

lemon poppy seed cake

Lemon-poppy seed is one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations, so it shocks me to my bones that I’ve never had it in cake form before. This recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Cake changes all that, though, and I couldn’t be happier (neither could my sweet tooth). Layers of soft poppy seed-speckled lemon cake are topped with tangy lemon curd and cream cheese buttercream frosting for the ultimate summertime (or anytime) showstopping dessert. If you’ve never had lemon poppy seed cake before, now is your time.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Ahem, hi. I made you a cake. But not just any cake — a layer cake. With frosting and everything. If you recall anything about my past disdain for constructing layer cakes, you know that this cake must have been worth the effort. And oh, friends, it was.

See, in my month-long hiatus from posting new content on the blog, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had to make a dessert with a lemon-poppy seed flavor profile, and cake felt like the most appropriate form for this situation. So I’ve been sitting on this recipe for an entire month, and today is the day I finally get to share it with you and I’m SO HAPPY. I hope you are, too. Because cake is just the best.

How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

So let’s break down this cake layer by layer, shall we? The cake itself is a soft, light and lemony cake speckled with crunchy poppy seeds. Yes, OK, we are interested. But then, we add a layer of tart lemon curd on top. Um, YES, we are here for that. And then, we top it all off with a thick layer of poppy seed-flecked lemony cream cheese buttercream frosting.

Please hold as we pick up our collective jaws from the floor.

Every bite is intensely lemony, soft and fluffy with creaminess from the frosting, tangy tartness from the lemon curd and a delicate crunch from the poppy seeds. It’s basically the most perfect form that the lemon-poppy seed flavor profile will ever take on, and may be the only way I enjoy it henceforth. Cake every day? That’s the right way to live.

Tips for the Best Layer Cake

Let’s discuss a few tips on how to make the best layer cakes! Because if you’re like me, you find layer cakes to be hella intimidating — all that layering and getting the perfect levels and lines and smooth frosted edges and ugh. And yet, I’m here to tell you it’s not actually all bad — especially when you’re well-prepared from the start. SO:

1. Be sure to line each cake pan with parchment paper. Here’s how I do it: I place a sheet of parchment paper under a cake pan, then trace the outer edge with a pencil. I cut out the traced circle and place it in the bottom of the cake pan. Done.

2. Also be sure to thoroughly spray the parchment and sides of each cake pan with cooking spray, or better yet, baking spray, which is cooking spray + flour. You can find it next to the cooking spray at your grocery store. The flour helps prevent the cake from sticking to the pan.

3. Use bake-even strips to keep the cake layers from doming at the top. Honestly, this was a game-changer for me, as I was tired of cutting off the tops of my cakes and having them end up extra crumbly or uneven (plus, all that wasted cake!). I highly, highly recommend getting yourself a set of these for the purposes of cake-baking sanity.

4. I’ve found that beating buttercream frosting at the highest speed of my electric mixer for a good minute or two gives it more structure, thereby making it easier to spread smoothly on delicate cake layers. Refrigerating the (fully cooled) cake layers before frosting them also helps avoid any accidental cracks in the cake or crumbs getting caught in the frosting. I have firsthand experience with every single one of these mishaps and it is never fun.

5. You can go all out and buy a cake turntable, an icing smoother, a decorating comb, etc. etc. And if you’re into that, good for you! But honestly, I’ve found that just a large offset spatula and a bench scraper do the trick to achieving good frosting coverage on a cake. I just use one hand to gently turn the cake stand on my counter as I spread the frosting on the cake with the spatula; then, I’ll hold my bench scraper against the edge of the cake and turn the cake stand to smooth out the edges and remove any excess frosting. It’s not fancy, but it works for me.

Now that I’ve sufficiently written you a novel about baking and decorating layer cakes, let’s stop this chatter and get to making a lemon poppy seed cake! I hope you love it as much as I do.