The ultimate lemon cake recipe! My Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is bursting with incredible lemon flavor in every single bite! This incredible cake recipe is made with lemon poppy seed cake layers, my Homemade Lemon Curd filling, and creamy lemon and poppy seed cream cheese frosting! You’ll love this easy and delicious lemon dessert recipe! It’s perfect for spring and summer, and for spring holidays such as Easter and Mother’s Day!
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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Layers
This lemon cake is made with the best, moist and lemony lemon poppy seed cake layers! They’re super easy to make and so delicious! I start preparing the cake batter with the liquid ingredients first: oil, buttermilk, eggs, sugar and lemon and vanilla extracts. Using lemon extract is a great way to add even more lemon flavor. You can also use lemon oil for this lemon cake recipe.
Next, I combine the dry ingredients and then mix them into the wet ingredients. It’s important to not overmix the cake batter once the dry ingredients have been added. Overmixed cake batter will cause the cake to be heavy and even gummy. I add the zest of 2 lemons and the poppy seeds last. If you want even more lemon flavor, add the zest from 3 lemons! I divide the cake batter among three pans and then my cake layers are off to the oven. It’s really important to cool the cake layers completely before assembling the cake. Warm cake layers will melt the frosting and cause a huge mess! Try placing the cake layers into the refrigerator to cool faster!
Easy, Homemade Lemon Curd Filling
My easy, 5-ingredient lemon curd recipe is the perfect complement to this lemon poppy seed cake recipe! It’s the perfect filling – creamy, zesty, lemony and so delicious! Plus, it’s super easy to make! I have a separate video recipe for this lemon curd so make sure to check it out.
I like to make my lemon curd the night before and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight. You can make it the same day, too. Just make sure it’s completely cooled before using it to fill the cake. My recipe makes about 2 cups of lemon curd, while this cake requires approximately 1 cup. You either cut my original recipe in half, or serve the extra lemon curd on the side, which is what I do!
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Lemon poppy seed cake and cream cheese frosting are a marriage made in heaven!! For this lemon cake, I’m using my easy Cream Cheese Frosting recipe and adding a few extra ingredients. I have a separate video recipe for this frosting so make sure to check it out! In addition to my original recipe, I add a teaspoon of lemon extract and a tablespoon of poppy seeds. You can also add the zest for 1 lemon in place of the extract.
This frosting can be a bit soft when you first make. My solution is to refrigerate the frosting for a couple of hours, which will make the frosting thicker and easier to work with. You can even make the frosting the night before, cover it and chill it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to assemble the cake, remove the frosting from the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for an hour to soften.
Assembling the Cake
I love all the different parts of making a cake but assembling one is the most fun for me! This lemon poppy seed cake is so easy and straight forward to put together. First, I level the tops of each cake layer, then I spread about 1 ½ tablespoons of the lemon curd on top. This will help moisten the cakes and add more flavor. Next, I add a generous layer of frosting on top. In order to keep the lemon curd filling from seeping out the edges, I pipe a barrier ring of frosting around the edge of the cake to keep it inside.
Once I’ve put together the cake, I apply a thin, crumb coat layer of frosting on the outside, to seal in all the crumbs. The cake then needs to be refrigerated for 15 to 30 minutes before it’s ready for the final frosting coat. I garnished the cake simply with lemon wedges and wax flowers for a light springtime look! I recommend adding the lemon wedges right before serving to ensure they don’t dry out. Keep the cake refrigerated if you’re not serving it right away. You can even make it 2 to 3 days ahead of time.
Perfect for Spring & Summer!
This incredible lemon cake is so perfect for spring and summertime! The light lemon flavors with the creamy frosting are not overwhelming or heavy. It’s the perfect cake for spring holidays, such as Easter or Mother’s Day! If you’re planning anything special for these holidays, you can make my lemon poppy seed cake up to 3 days ahead of time and just keep it stored in the refrigerator! And feel free to garnish the top of the cake with your favorite edible/safe flowers or roses. If you’re not sure if a flower is edible or safe to use as a garnish, I recommend using Google search to find out.
Enjoyed this lemon cake recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Lemon Pound Cake – this super easy and delicious lemony cake is topped with a lemon glaze and can be made in a Bundt pan or in loaf pans!
- Lemon Mousse Cake – stunning lemon cake with lemon cake layers, fluffy lemon mousse and lemon jell-o topping!
- Lemon Meringue Cake – this lemon cake is made with fluffy meringue frosting and lemon curd filling!
- Lemon Raspberry Cake – another delicious cake with lemon and raspberry flavors; plus, creamy cream cheese frosting!
- Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins – this easy muffin recipe is always a huge hit with everyone! Extra moist, delicious and lemony!
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Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):
- Ateco Turn Table – every cake baker needs this handy cake decorating table. It makes assembling and decorating a breeze!
- Cake Spatulas – I use a variety of spatulas for decorating my cakes, including these offset spatulas, a cake scraper, and these small offset spatulas.
- 8-inch Fat Daddios Cake Pans – these are my favorite cake pans! They bake evenly and also clean easily!
- KitchenAid Hand Mixer – I love this small but powerful mixer for small jobs when I don’t require my heavy duty stand mixer!