Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

When we're feeling nostalgic, this delicately flavored cake is always at the top of our baking list. A favorite of ours for years, it was previously known as Carpenter Street Poppy Seed Cake, and was inspired by a local restaurant here in Norwich, VT. While the restaurant is no more, the recipe for their lemon cake lives on.

20 mins
35 to 45 mins
1 hr 5 mins
16 small cakes
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and crease a 10-cup Bundt pan, a 6-well Bundlette pan, or a 9" x 5" loaf pan.

  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the poppy seeds.

  3. In a separate bowl, beat the oil and sugar together for about a minute, using an electric mixer. Add the eggs and beat at high speed for 3 minutes, until the mixture is very light.

  4. On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients, then the milk, juice, vanilla, and zest or oil. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

  5. Bake the cake for 45 minutes (25 to 30 minutes for small cakes), or until it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

  6. Remove the cake from the oven and cool it in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before inverting it onto the rack to cool completely. Top with your favorite lemon or confectioners' sugar glaze.

Tips from our Bakers

  • The original Carpenter Street cake recipe called for fresh orange juice instead of lemon juice; and it's a delicious option here, as well.