Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Everything is better with lemon zest! Okay, not everything. Be that as it may, any dessert or baked good that is supposed to be lemon flavored is dramatically better when you include actual lemon zest. If you don’t own a microplane zester, I highly recommend it. It makes the job much easier, and your taste buds will thank you.

This recipe is based on one from Anne Byrn’s The Cake Mix Doctor, a book that takes a boxed cake mix and adds ingredients to have an “easier” from-scratch taste. I have enjoyed most of the recipes I’ve made from the cookbook, but here’s the thing: making a homemade cake mix isn’t that much harder than just opening a box. And then you know what’s in it! Try something new and make the mix yourself! (Writing out this recipe made me realize I don’t have an instant pudding mix recipe… Let me know if you do!)

~ Theresa

What you need:



  • 18.25 oz white cake mix (store-bought or homemade)
  • 3.4 oz vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1/3 c. poppy seeds
  • 1 c. vanilla yogurt (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk (store-bought or homemade)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 t. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)


  • 10-inch bundt pan or tube pan (I prefer bundt pan for its festive shape)
  • flour duster (optional)
  • stand mixer fitted with paddle
  • microplane zester
  • measuring cups and spoons

Time: 15 minutes prep, 45-50 minutes baking, 50 minutes cooling, divided

Freezeable: Yes! Freeze it wrapped in foil or freezer bag up to 6 months. Thaw on the counter overnight before eating.

Serves: 16 (or fewer if you like bigger slices…)

Multiplying the recipe: You would need to mix individual batches separately. When baking, rotate pans halfway through and add a few extra minutes.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray and lightly flour the tube pan, shaking out excess flour.

Place all ingredients in the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Mix again on medium for 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, leveling the top.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Place the cake (still in the pan) on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Remove it from the pan, inverting it onto a cooling rack until fully cooled, about 30 minutes more.

Enjoy this for breakfast or dessert! To make it more “dessert-y” sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with a simple glaze.


About Cooking for the Fam

Katie and Theresa are sisters-in-law who are passionate about food, passionate about family, and passionate about making and sharing food with their families. The Fam needs to eat. Make it good!
This entry was posted in Baking, Breakfast, Dessert, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

  1. Pingback: Weekly Menu Plan #23 | Cooking for the Fam

  2. Pingback: Portable Foods (for Picnics, Kids’ Sports Nights…) | Cooking for the Fam

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