Best Ever Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf is perfectly moist and tender, packed with delicious lemony flavors and sprinkled with just the right amount of poppy seeds. Easy to bake, it makes for a great breakfast, tea-time or dessert, with or without icing. Love all things citrus? Me too! Make sure to give my amazing Orange Pound Cake and Perfect Lemon Ricotta Bundt Cake a try!
Guys, I’m so happy and proud to share with you my perfect lemon poppy seed loaf recipe today! I’ve been working on this recipe for quite some time (actually years!) and I finally obtained the results I was looking for: a rich, buttery and moist lemon poppy seed loaf, with just the right amount of poppy seed. The result is just insane… and slightly addictive too!
And believe me, when it comes to citrus cake recipes, I’m known for being very picky about the texture. I expect all the fresh and juicy flavors from the citrus (whether I use lemons, oranges or grapefruits), a moist and tender texture enabling the cake to hold its shape when slicing, and just the right balance between sweet and sour. I tried my hands on several lemon poppy seed breads over the years and often found them slightly too cakey and dry, which is a big no-no for me. So I kept trying again and trying again until I understand the science behind and made it to this decadent recipe.
This lemon poppy seed loaf is:
- Easy to make ✔
- Rich & buttery ✔
- Tender & moist ✔
- Lemony ✔
- Right balance of sweet & sour ✔
An additional challenge: the poppy seeds!
As it turns out, poppy seeds add an additional challenge to your baking recipes as they tend to absorb all the moisture, resulting in tough and dry texture. So the idea is to use just the right amount, not too much, not too little, and spread them out evenly in the batter. Most lemon poppy seed loaf recipes call for 3 Tablespoons poppy seeds in the batter when I, personally found my sweet spot with 2 Tablespoons only. And believe me, it doesn’t make me less of a poppy seed lover (not an addict!).
Tips to make best lemon poppy seed loaf
Note that I call it lemon poppy seed loaf and not lemon poppy seed bread. You may wonder what’s the difference between both, and I must admit it’s not very obvious. But generally speaking, bread recipes tend to be on the drier side with very little sugar, while loaf recipes are usually rich, buttery and sweet.
Now a few tips to perfect this lemon poppy seed loaf:
- Allow “wet” ingredients to be at room temperature before using them: eggs, butter, milk, lemons. If milk is cold, place it just a few seconds in the microwave and monitor closely so it doesn’t become lukewarm.
- Make sure you sift the flour. Then mix with the other “dry” ingredients: baking powder and salt.
- Cream eggs and sugar together until pale in texture. Then slowly add the other ingredients as explained in the recipe, always monitoring that the mixer is running on low.
- Don’t go crazy with the poppy seeds. It’s ok to use more if you want too, but I highly recommend 2 Tablespoons only to get the right moist and tender texture (again, too much of the poppy seed will make your loaf dry).
- Make the icing to add some extra moisture and sweetness to the cake.
More lemon desserts you may love too:
- Easy Homemade Lemon Curd
- Best Lemon Meringue Pie
- Strawberry and Lemon Curd Layer Cake
- Easy Speculoos Lemon Tart
- 3 Layers Lemon Magic Cake
- Corsican Lemon Cheesecake (Fiadone)
- Healthy Lemon Coconut Energy Balls
Other easy bread or loaf recipes to try:
- Ultra Moist Buttermilk Banana Bread
- Chocolate Banana Bread
- Easy Carrot Cake Loaf
- Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
- Moist Pumpkin Bread
Best Ever Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf is perfectly moist and tender, packed with delicious lemony flavors and sprinkled with just the right amount of poppy seeds.
For the lemon poppy seed loaf:
- 1 3/4 cups (225g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (175g) softened butter
- 3/4 cup (165g) sugar
- 3 large eggs
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tablespoons)
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) milk
For the lemon glaze (optional):
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar, sifted
- 3 teaspoons milk
For the lemon poppy seed loaf:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and grease the bottom and the sides of a 9×5-inch (23×13 cm) loaf pan with melted butter or vegetable oil. Set aside.
- Sift flour in a medium size bowl. Add baking powder, salt, and mix well. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a whisk or using hand mixer on low-speed setting, cream softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Slowly add the beaten eggs to the mixer, one at a time. Add the lemon juice, zest and poppy seeds. Keep the mixer running on low speed and pour in half the milk with half of the flour mixture. Once combined, add the remaining milk and gently fold in the remaining flour until combined.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (remember that every oven is different and baking times may vary a little). Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
- When the cake is cooled, make the icing. Start with adding 1 Tablespoon lemon juice to the powdered sugar then add milk, adjusting quantity if needed. The icing should be thick and not too runny. Spoon icing over he cake and let harden before serving.
Keywords: Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf