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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

by Lorena

My blog turned 5 years old today and to celebrate I made a Lemon Poppy Seed Cake. The cake is delicious with lots and lots of lemon flavour. To put it together I used a Swiss meringue buttercream which is less sweet than the classic buttercream so it’s perfect for those of you who are not fans of the classic. Also, if you prefer, you could use my cream cheese buttercream instead.

I can’t believe that my blog is 5 years old! It’s happened so quick, honestly! I feel like it was yesterday that I first decided to write recipes. It all started as a game and I quickly fell in love with it. In general, I don’t make that many cakes, have you realized? I don’t really enjoy the process that much, I prefer a brownie or a bundt cake! But for special occasions such as this one, a cake is needed.

I want to take the chance to thank you for being here and for making my recipes. You’re a big part of why I love what I do. Sharing with you and seeing you making my recipes and incorporating them to your day to day menus is really gratifying and pushes me every day forward. I also love the process of making a recipe, testing, having it fail but then become the best ever. I love taking the photos, sharing them with you and inspiring you to make the recipe. I love my job so much!

If you want other cake ideas, as I said, I don’t have many! But I do have a few I love:

Out of those, my favourite is definitely the carrot cake! In that recipe, I also teach you how to assemble a cake with buttercream, which is really useful if you don’t have experience in the subject. It’s the same method I use in this recipe.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

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Course: Dessert, Tea Time
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 people in a 16cm / 6in diameter pans (for 24cm-10in double the recipe)
Author: Lorena Salinas from Cravings Journal


For the cake

  • 160 ml milk any kind
  • 80 ml jugo de limón
  • 120 g unusalted butter at room temperature
  • 30 g vegetable oil
  • 220 g sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 290 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds optional but SO good

For the Swiss meringue buttercream

  • 4 egg whites
  • granulated sugar double the weight of the egg whites
  • 280 g unsalted butter at room temperature you want it to be soft but only just soft, more than that and the butter cream could split.
  • 200 g raspberry jam optional


For the lemon poppy seed cake

  • In a small bowl, mix the milk and lemon juice. The milk with curdle and that's perfect. Leave it to one side as we make the cake.
  • In a bowl, beat the butter with the oil, sugar and zest. You can use an electric mixer or a whisk. Do it until it's soft and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and beat again until it goes back to being creamy.
  • Add the milk with lemon juice and mix (it will look split but don't worry, it comes back with the flour).
  • Add the flour, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and mix.
  • Prepare two 16cm / 6in diameter pans (for 24cm-10in double the recipe). Spread a thin layer of oil on the base and sides, place a baking paper circle cut to size on the base and oil it up as well. Flour the pans and tap on them to remove the excess flour.
  • Divide the batter between the two pans and spread it out. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°C for 25-30min or until you can insert a knife or skewer and it comes out clean.
  • Once cold, remove the cakes from the pans. With a serrated knife, cut off the dome of the cakes and divide each in half. This will make 4 layers in total. Don't remove the baking paper yet, it will help with assembling. If you want to see how I assemble a cake, check out my carrot cake recipe.

For the swiss meringue buttercream

  • Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl where you're going to beat them later. Place the bowl in a bain-marie over medium heat. Make sure the base of the bowl is not touching the surface of the water. Mix every couple of minutes with a spatula.
  • Once you don't feel any granules of sugar and the mix feels hot (try this by touching the base of the bowl with your fingers and pinching the mix to feel for granules), whip on high speed until completely cold. This is important because if it's even a bit warm, it will split with the butter.
  • Add the butter one tablespoon at a time until it's fully incorporated.
  • Divide the buttercream in two and add raspberry jam to one half of it. This is optional and I did first pass the jam through a colander or sieve. That last step is also optional.

For the assembly

  • Place a bit of buttercream on the base of the cake dish and place the first layer of cake on top. Place one type of buttercream in one piping bag and the other in another one. Form a ring on the edge of the layer with the white buttercream and fill it in with the raspberry buttercream. We do this to prevent the pink inside from leaking.
  • On top of this first layer with buttercream place the base of that first cake upside down so that the base is at the top. Remove the baking paper and fill in the same way as the base. Repeat with the other layer.
  • Spread white buttercream to the top and sides of the cake. Scrape out the excess carefully with a spatula or dough scraper.*
  • Place the cake in the fridge for 2 hours. This will make the buttercream firm up and so it will be much easier to slice.


*With a small cake it’s not as necessary to place in the fridge after filling and before covering on the outside, but if you’re making a large cake, it’s best to refrigerate it for 30 minutes. After this time you can cover the outside and top.
Tried this recipe?Mention @CravingsJournal or tag #RecipeCJ!

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