Lemon-Poppy Seed Cakes

Well, it's December whether we can believe it or not! Which means holiday desserts are in full swing. 


Do you remember lemon-poppy seed muffins? Growing up, when my mom would bake little poppy seed muffins, it was my absolute favorite. She served them at the dinner table in a wicker basket lined with a dish towel - every time. So moist, sweet & lemony...

Well, when I was home the other week, I rediscovered lemon-poppy seed when mom made these cute little bundt cakes for a holiday dessert party. And, I tell you what... it's time we all bring back the poppy seed cake/muffin/bread because, well, it's just the best. 


Fresh lemon juice & zest add a zing to these moist little cakes. These are best made in mini bundt pans, but if you don't have that size pan or can't find it, regular muffin tins will do just fine! 

Mini Lemon-Poppy Seed Cakes

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 oz. light cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest (1 lemon) 
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1-2 lemons)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
  2. In a mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until well combined. Gradually add the sugar until fluffy and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the milk, poppy seeds, almond extract and 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest (set aside the remaining 1/2 tsp. lemon zest to reserve for the icing). The mixture may be lumpy, it's normal! 
  3. In a separate, large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, beating until well blended. 
  4. Spoon the batter into small mini-bunt pans (or muffin tins) that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Fill about 3/4 the way up. It will fill about 18 mini bundt cakes. 
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean. Remove from pans to wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes. 
  6. While the cakes/muffins are cooling, whisk the lemon juice with the powdered sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest until it forms a thin glaze. 
  7. Using a spoon, drizzle the icing over the cakes and let stand for about 5 minutes, until glaze sets

My mom originally found this recipe deep in one of those hard-back, retro Christmas baking books.

This month, rediscover old favorites... and give them your own modern twist!