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I wasn’t really contemplating on a cake recipe.  I always feel a little self-doubt every time I throw one out there, after all, I have about as much credentials on cakes and baking as a dog on dating advice.  But over the last week, I wanted to bake a lemon poppy seed cake for a couple of friends coming over for coffee, and to my surprise as well, I couldn’t seem to find a satisfactory answer in the worldwide web with all its might.  OK, given that I didn’t really look past beyond page-3 on a Google search, but as far as I’m concerned, if it’s not on page-1, it might as well not exist in this world, and I went to page-3!  Page 3!  Can’t say my research wasn’t thorough.

There’s of course, lots of lemon poppy seed cake recipes out there.  And they probably all possess certain qualities that satisfy each maker’s niche, but for me, each and every one seem to have one or two imperfections.  Either it requires the separation of eggs and whipping of egg whites (and if you bake you’ll know a lotta complications come with that), which is a task I prefer just a bit more than laying asphalt for free on a hot summer day; Or, it uses a cake-mix, to which I ask why not just buy a damn cake: Or, it uses a staggering amount of egg yolks for rich flavours and colors, but entirely forgets the part where nobody, nobody, look forward to leftover egg whites; And as for the rest of them, perhaps the most irritating fault is that they all carry the saddest, palest, borderline-white crumbs that I consider an assault on the integrity of a lemon poppy seed cake.  The name itself expects, if not demands a halo of golden yellow glow, the color that transcribes all the good-feelings this cake has to bring to the subconscious… summer, happiness, light.

So it is what it is, that if I want my perfect lemon poppy seed cake – one that is easy, fast, golden and moist with the fragrance of citrus and plentiful of nutty pops – I will have to make my own.  With a flavor-wise untraceable dash of ground turmeric, and an easy step to aerating the eggs (I consider it an all-in-one alternative to the separation/whipping of egg whites), there I have it all, inside each golden slices of this spirit-lifting cake, a piece of my own heaven.  And I hope, if not predict, that it would be yours, too.

But, if I must be nitpicking… this cake, as all other cakes, does lose its prime in moisture and texture after a couple days of sitting inside the fridge.  To that, well, I have a solution, too.

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Yield: One 8"~9" cake, and 12~13 popsicles

The recipe is adapted from many combined.


  • 1 1/4 cup (245 grams) granulated sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (180 grams) whole milk
  • 2 cups (245 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) cornstarch
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 heaping tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (36 grams) poppy seeds
  • 2/3 cup (160 grams) canola oil (see note)
  • ICING:
  • 2 tbsp (27 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp (30 grams) lemon juice
  • 1 cup (120 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup (161 grams/about 4 lemons) lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 13.2 oz (375 grams/1 can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1//2 cup (120 grams) whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (104 grams) heavy cream


  1. BAKE THE CAKE: Preheat the oven on 350 F/175 C. In a stand-mixer or hand-held mixer, mix granulated sugar, lemon zest and ground turmeric together until it resembles yellow wet sand. On medium speed, add the eggs, one by one, and mix until even, then turn to high speed to mix until the mixture is thick and airy, almost doubled in size. Add lemon juice and vanilla extract, mix until even, then add whole milk and mix until even. From now on, switch to a hand-held whisk.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together ap-flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and poppy seeds until even, then add to the wet ingredient. Gently fold the mixture together with the whisk until there are only tiny lumps remain. Add the canola oil and gently fold again until even (the oil tends to settle on the bottom so make sure you scoop the bottom of the bowl several times). Butter the inside of a 8"~9" (22 cm) bundt cake pan, then coat evenly with flour. Tap the pan upside-down over the sink to rid any excess flour, then transfer the batter into the pan.
  3. Bake in the oven for 30~35 min until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean from the center. Let the cake cool completely over a cooling-rack. Meanwhile, whisk together melted butter, lemon juice and powdered sugar until even. Drizzle the icing over the cake.
  4. MAKE POPSICLE: In an easy-to-pour jar, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, sweetened condensed milk, whole milk and heavy cream until even. Crumble leftover cake into small chunks that will fit through your popsicle molds, then loosely stuff them into the molds until about 80% full. Insert the wooden popsicle handles into the molds in a swift and decisive motion (so it pierces through the cakes instead of pressing them down, or you can clear a pathway with a small knife first). Pour the milk-mixture into the molds all the way to the top. The liquid will quickly seep down and fill the empty spaces below, so come back and re-fill it to the top. Freeze until hard inside the freezer, at least 6 hours or overnight. Rinse the mold under water for a few seconds before removing the popsicle.


If you want to have a more buttery flavour in the cake, you can use 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter and 1/3 cup canola oil. But the cake may be less moist.

  • Dora

    June 26, 2017 at 11:16 PM Reply

    That’s what i call foooodporn!

  • Alex

    June 26, 2017 at 11:59 PM Reply

    Ahh, cake in popsicles – genius. Cookies in ice cream are the best thing ever, so this makes perfect sense. My only question is, how did none of us think of it sooner??!

  • Cheyenne

    June 27, 2017 at 12:01 AM Reply

    I love anything lemony and sweet! Do you think I could substitute in a bit of whole spelt flour, or would other ingredients have to be adjusted? I’d like to make it a little more breakfast suitable

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      June 27, 2017 at 12:15 AM Reply

      Cheyenne, I can’t see why not! Though I’ve never worked with spelt flower before so I can’t tell you how much to substitute. I’d start with replacing it with 1/2 of the ap flour? Let me know how it works out!

  • Diana

    June 27, 2017 at 2:55 AM Reply

    I think I read somewhere that starches “age” faster in the fridge, this is why breads, potatoes etc are typically not stored in the fridge. Though I think any cake looses moisture in two days, whether in the fridge or out. Yours looks fantastic!
    And a question, Mandy: can you share where you bought the beautiful white speckled bowl you use to plate this cake?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      June 27, 2017 at 11:27 AM Reply

      Diana, I bought it in China :)

      • Diana

        June 27, 2017 at 12:07 PM Reply

        ? Was afraid you’d say “in a store.” The search for the perfect bowl continues! :)

  • Sophia

    June 27, 2017 at 9:08 AM Reply

    I so love lemon poppy seed cake, I have been making different versions of it, as well as scones, both filled with lemon curd, and love very version I have made, so I look forward to trying yours, I have a few lemons ripening on the tree, I will save them for this cake. Thank you!

  • Leah Sprague

    June 27, 2017 at 11:41 AM Reply

    Lemon anything is my favorite! I especially love not having 6 extra egg whites in the fridge… no one needs that.
    That’s so interesting that turmeric helps aerates the eggs! Is that a common practice?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      June 27, 2017 at 1:24 PM Reply

      Leah, no the turmeric just gives it a beautiful golden color, and has nothing to do with aerating the eggs :)

  • Dulcistella

    June 27, 2017 at 7:40 PM Reply

    Hi! My favorite lemon and poppy seed cake is made only with….. egg whites! That’s why I think it is the best! :-D Well, not only for this, of course… I don’t think you would love it, though, because it requires to a) whip the whites to stiff peaks, b) make a syrup to soak it, c) the glaze and d) it is very pale.
    But oh boy, it is very lemony and stays moist forever thanks to the syrup. I also like its paleness. It is from the Hummingbird bakery cookbook (the first).
    Also: did you know that you can freeze egg whites? I always freeze them in small yogurt vases and then I use them for meringues, amaretti (yum), financiers, this cake and yolkless (I just invented this word right now) crepes. I am actually running out of egg whites, should go making some pastry cream…

  • Sabrina

    June 27, 2017 at 8:56 PM Reply

    Love both of these recipes! It’s such a good idea to use the leftover cake in the popsicles! Also, your photos are stunning, as always.

  • Alison

    June 29, 2017 at 11:04 AM Reply

    Thanks Mandy~ thought for sure there would be a pic of the pups, resting their noses ever so gently on the edge of the table, loving eyeing the cake! Or helping you eat a cakesicle?

  • Nicole

    June 29, 2017 at 4:05 PM Reply

    This looks amazing. I’m going to try the recipe

  • Diego Lopes

    June 30, 2017 at 5:18 AM Reply

    What an interesting recipe! I’ve never tried making cakes before, but after reading this, I’m going to have to try. It sounds delicious. Thank you for posting it!

  • kimithy

    June 30, 2017 at 6:01 AM Reply

    Oh wow, that looks amazing. There’s an ice cream place in my city that had a lemon poppyseed flavor with actual cake bits in it, and it was incredible – never thought to try in a popsicle!!

  • Sabrina B.

    July 1, 2017 at 6:17 AM Reply

    yep, agree that the cake better be yellow since we at least somewhat taste with the eyes! I’ve always loved the idea and taste of lemon cake so much more than it’s paler and much more commonly served cousin. Thank you for this lovely recipe and this extremely creative use of leftovers into a popsicle!

  • Kelly Mahan

    July 18, 2017 at 10:37 PM Reply

    Two in one, awesome, love it! I’m looking forward to taste this cake and popsicle (cake more than popsicle, actually)! From the photos I can almost do that, but let’s see how it turns out over the weekend =)

  • angie

    July 19, 2017 at 9:07 PM Reply

    jaysus thats a delivish popsicle right there. i’ll have to try this in muffin form one day. also: turmeric? good god yes. thanks for venturing into the deep dark depths of goo to craft this beauty :~)

  • Erika Kwee

    July 21, 2017 at 1:45 AM Reply

    U my hero, as always, saving me from the pit of despair that is me browsing pages 1-3 of Google every single time I want lemon poppyseed cake and never finding The One. Can’t wait to try!

  • Lay

    November 9, 2017 at 2:33 PM Reply

    Hi Mandy, can these be made in an angel cake pan? or just regular cake pan ? (basically a non-stick)

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      November 9, 2017 at 11:36 PM Reply

      Lay, I’m not a cake master but I don’t see why not :)

  • Ele

    December 2, 2017 at 5:01 PM Reply

    This was a lovely recipe thank you! I realized too late I don’t have a bundt pan so I made muffins and just reduced cooking time. Tasted beautiful thanks.

  • Manu

    April 10, 2018 at 3:01 AM Reply

    Stunning cake pictures! Could you let me know the brand name of the pan you used?
    Thank you

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      April 10, 2018 at 12:30 PM Reply

      Manu, I don’t think there’s a “brand”. Just a random pan I bought somewhere in Europe :)

  • Athena

    April 15, 2021 at 4:21 AM Reply

    I just feed leftover egg whites to our dog lol

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