Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

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Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake has bright lemon flavors mixed with the mild, woody flavor of poppy seeds topped off with a buttery, crunchy topping that pairs well with coffee or hot tea.

Spring is finally here and I’ve been wanting to use all the bright flavors I can to celebrate!   I’ve had my eye on this Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake because I thought it would be a delicious spring breakfast.

So last Saturday when my son asked if we could make a birthday cake I said sure!  Since he’s only 3 I figured he wouldn’t know the difference between a coffee cake and a birthday and I was right. 


  • butter
  • flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • poppy seeds
  • salt
  • sugar
  • lemon zest
  • lemon juice
  • eggs
  • vanilla
  • sour cream
  • brown sugar
  • oats
  • nutmeg
  • powdered sugar

As I began making the batter my son sat on the floor in the kitchen looking at his books and then looking over and giving a good running commentary of what I was doing.  It was a little like being on a cooking show. 

To make the cake I combined the flour, baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds, and salt in a large bowl.   In another large bowl cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest.  Add in the lemon juice and eggs and stir well.  Then mix in the vanilla.

Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well.   Then add in half of the sour cream and mix until combined.  Add the remaining flour mixture and stir until combined.  Finish off by mixing in the remaining sour cream.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and then begin making the topping.  Basically everything goes into a bowl and gets mixed up until crumbly.  Pour over the top and bake.

My son got very excited when it was time to put it in the oven and backed way up because it was hot.  He then asked me to put the light on because he wanted to see his cake in the oven.

After the cake came out I let it cool completely then I mixed up an easy lemon glaze.  I drizzled it over the top and then we enjoyed it with a cup of coffee.  The bright lemon flavor was absolute perfection and then crunchy topping was amazing.

Can I make this in a different pan?

The simple answer is yes.   The hard answer is it depends on what type of pan you want to use.  You can use an 8 inch or 9 inch round cake pan using the same amount of ingredients and bake for the same amount of time.   If you want to use a Bundt Pan or Tube Pan you need to make 1 1/2 recipes of the cake and bake for 85-90 minutes.   You’ll also need to put the topping in the bottom of these pans.

Can I use a different fruit?

Of course!   Just about any citrus fruit will work.  You can use oranges, blood oranges, grapefruits, or even limes in place of the lemon zest and lemon juice in this recipe.

What if I don’t like poppy seeds?

Leave them out!   You don’t need to use them in this recipe.   If you are looking for a substitution chia seeds are a great addition to this cake.

Is there any coffee in this cake?

Nope!   Coffee cake gets it’s name because it’s often paired with coffee but there is no actual coffee in the batter or the topping of this cake.

Do I have to make the glaze?

No you don’t but it does add a lot of additional lemon flavor.   You can either leave it as it is or just dust the top with powdered sugar.

This coffee cake would be a great addition to a Mother’s Day brunch or a holiday brunch.  It’s also just great as a pick me up breakfast whenever your family needs something to brighten their day.

A fun idea would be to have a coffee and tea bar set up with plenty of creamers, spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, fruits like lemon, lime, and orange, and different flavors of sugar.  Set it up with trays of different flavors of coffee cake including a fruit coffee cake, regular coffee cake, and maybe even a chocolate coffee cake. 

Other Lemon Recipes:

If you’ve tried my Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake or any other recipe on Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you! You can FOLLOW ME on:

Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

Yield: Serves 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake has bright lemon flavors mixed with the mild, woody flavor of poppy seeds topped off with a buttery, crunchy topping that pairs well with coffee or hot tea.


For the cake:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 c. sour cream

For the topping:

  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons butter

For the drizzle:

  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 9 or 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds, and salt. Mix well.
  3. In a large bowl cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  4. Add in the eggs and mix well.
  5. Stir in the vanilla.
  6. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well to combine.
  7. Stir in half the sour cream. Add in the remaining flour and mix well.
  8. Stir in the remaining sour cream.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  10. To make the topping combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. Add in the butter and mix until the topping looks like a coarse meal.
  11. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the cake.
  12. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  13. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
  14. To make the glaze whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice.
  15. Place the glaze in a zip top baggie, snip off the top, and drizzle over top of the cake.
  16. Cut into 12 squares and enjoy.


Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine April 2021.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 572mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 1gSugar: 30gProtein: 5g

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