Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Syrup

I have been on the hunt for a poppy seed bread/cake that I remember from childhood.  Of course, here’s where it gets fuzzy.  The cake I remember was from a recipe that was included in the electricty bill received from NOPSI/LP&L, aka New Orleans Public Service, Inc and Louisiana Power & Light company.  Recipes were included with every monthly statement, and yes, thinking about it now, it seems odd.  But, anyway, they did, and the recipes were devised by the home economists employed by the company.  Yes, that also seems odd.  The local office included a large demonstration kitchen, and as a pre-teen, I attended a baking class presented by the home economists.  At this baking class, one of the items baked was a Poppy Seed bread.  I don’t remember it as a sweet bread, but more of a savory bread.  To this day, I’ve never been able to replicate the taste of that bread.  I’ve searched far & wide, even ordering the reprint of the NOPSI cookbook, whick did not include the recipe, I’m sorry to say.  However, in my quest, I have tweaked many poppy seed cake recipes and have arrived at the recipe in today’s post.  The actual cake has no lemon juice, just zest; the punch of lemon flavor comes from the syrup that is poured on while the cake is hot.  The finishing touch of the lemon glaze and decorative zest adds to the lemon flavor, as well.  Not overly sweet, it’s perfect with an afternoon cup of tea. 

Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Syrup Printable recipe
2 cups self-rising flour
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
4 tablespoons lemon zest, divided
2.6 oz poppy seeds (an entire jar

Lemon Syrup
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
Combine in a saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer until sugar has melted and glaze has thickened slightly.  Pour over hot cake.

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup powdered sugar
Microwave lemon juice, milk, and butter until butter melts.  Whisk in the powdered sugar, and pour over cooled cake.  Garnish with remaining 1 tablespoon lemon zest.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease and line the base and long-side of a 9×5 loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper (allows easy removal)
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, vanilla, sugar, and 3 tablespoons lemon zest until fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the buttermilk and poppy seeds.
Gently stir in the flour.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in 325 degree oven for 60-75 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean.
Immediately pour on lemon syrup.
Allow cake to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan onto a cooling rack.
Once cake has cooled completely, drizzle on glaze and sprinkle on lemon zest garnish.


7 thoughts on “Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Syrup

  1. I am a huge lover of all things poppy seed! This cake sounds so luscious with the lemon syrup poured over top. I bet it has incredible flavor!

  2. Hi Brenda! Thank you! I love the flavor of lemon, and this cake packs a punch!

    Thanks, Faith! I know, recipes would make paying the bill a little easier.

    Thanks, Laurie!

    Hi Katerina – I'll send you a slice!

  3. Oh, my husband would love this cake as he's crazy about anything lemon and lemon poppyseed muffins are one of my favourite muffins, so why not cake? It sounds fabulous with the lemon syrup AND glaze. My kind of cake!

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