There come times in life when the torch is passed to you. One of those is the holiday torch. Some years back, my family asked me to host Easter at my house—so the holiday torch was passed to me. You know how much I love cooking and baking, so you can imagine how much fun I had putting everything together!


My Easter recipes all begin with Italian family.

When I sat down to plan my menu, I thought about my mom, grandma, and mother-in-law. It’s always important to me to remember those who came before me, and all the goodness they brought into the world. 

My mom never did much with lemons in the kitchen, but my dad’s grandma used to make an amazing lemon knot. I loved it so much that I went crazy and started making all kinds of lemon desserts—my Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Cake recipe is one of them. It’s the perfect way to satisfy that lemon craving and to complement a traditional Easter feast.

To me, lemons are the quintessential spring flavor.

Even though lemons are technically in season year-round, their crisp, juicy flavor screams springtime to me. In this cake, the brightness of the lemons and melt-in-your mouth texture are perfectly balanced by nutty, crackly, poppy seeds. A tart lemon glaze ensures that sweetness doesn’t overwhelm the cake, and trust me—fresh lemon zest is way better than lemon extract!

But first, what are Meyer Lemons?

Don’t worry, I had the same question. Here’s what I found out: Meyer lemons were introduced to the United States by Frank Meyer, who brought the plant over from China. A cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon, these citrus beauties have a thin, bright yellow-orange skin. They’re sweeter than regular lemons, and their zest is more complex in fragrance and flavor. 

Because of their thin skin, Meyer lemons can be difficult to ship. That makes them hard to find, unless you live where they grow! But lucky for us, they do make brief appearances at local grocery stores nationwide. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, don’t worry. You can substitute regular lemons for this recipe. If you do happen to find some, grab a bag or two! Okay—now that we’ve learned about Meyer lemons, let’s get back to the cake.

This simple Meyer lemon poppy Seed cake recipe is delicious AND freezes well—so start baking!

This super-simple lemon cake recipe is easy to make, freezes wonderfully, and makes one 9-inch cake, two loaves (if you want to go all out and make a bundt cake, double the recipe). That means you can eat some now and save some for later. I like to keep one of these babies at the ready for unexpected (but very welcome!) visitors. So grab your microplane and get ready to brighten up the Easter table.

lemon cake
Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake
Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe

Want a super-simple lemon dessert for springtime? This Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Cake recipe makes a delicious cake to serve after your Easter feast. Topped with a homemade lemon glaze, it hits all the flavor buttons—sweet, tart, nutty, and absolutely droolworthy.


For the Cake:
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened, to prepare cake pan
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh Meyer lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
For the Glaze:
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using the tablespoon of butter, grease the bottom and side of a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, Meyer lemon zest, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until fluffy and light in color (about 2 to 3 minutes). Reduce the speed to low, then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg addition. Add the flour mixture and the poppy seeds. Mix until just combined.
  4. Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and smooth out the top using a small offset spatula or a rubber spatula. Place the pan on the center rack of your oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool on a cooling rack—still in the pan—for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, gently invert the pan to release the cake onto the cooling rack.
  6. Now it’s time to make the glaze. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Place a piece of parchment paper under the cooling rack with the cake on it. Turn the cake over on the rack so the flat side of the cake is on the bottom.
  7. Pour the glaze over the warm cake, gently spreading with an offset spatula so it drizzles over the edge. Let stand until the glaze is set (about 15 to 30 minutes). Enjoy!
Did you make this recipe?
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April 09, 2021 — Mary DiSomma