This lemon poppy seed loaf is sweet and tangy, with flavor to brighten your winter day! A citrus season gem, this delicious treat is filled with poppy seeds and topped with lemon glaze. A glazed lemon loaf is perfect for breakfast, tea time, or even a dessert!
Lemon and Poppy Seeds: A Perfect Pair
There’s just something about the sweet and tart flavor of a lemony treat during citrus season that brightens up my mood.
One of my favorite lemon desserts is these lemon bars, but I couldn’t go any longer without recognizing the perfect pairing of lemon and poppy seeds!
This lemon loaf topped with lemon glaze is an amazing and tasty way to bring a little bit of brightness to a cold and dreary winter day. And the poppy seeds add just the right amount of texture and flavor!
I feel like the purpose of citrus is to bring tart and happy flavors to the most dark and short days of the year, along with a vitamin C boost.
Of course, the vitamin content will change based on how you are using citrus, but the flavor and feeling it emotes remains just as uplifting!
Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Recipe
This lemon poppy seed loaf is like eating a burst of sunshine! This recipe results in a tender and moist cake filled with citrus and poppy seed flavors and is topped with an irresistible sweet and tangy glaze.
Ingredients for Lemon Cake
All purpose flour: I usually opt for organic flour, feel free to use whatever your favorite kind is.
Sugar: I prefer this sugar, but any granulated sugar you have will work just fine.
Poppy seeds: Be sure to choose food-grade poppy seeds labeled for human consumption. If you have poppy seeds in your pantry and are unsure how old they are, it’s best to buy fresh ones to use in this loaf.
Note: Poppy seeds are considered safe to eat when consumed in small amounts such as the quantities found in this recipe or bagels, muffins, etc.
Whole milk: The higher fat content of whole milk helps this cake stay moist, so I recommend to not substitute with a lower fat percentage.
Lemon juice: Definitely use fresh squeezed here!
Butter: This recipe calls for butter that has been melted and cooled, so give yourself a few extra minutes for cooling time.
Eggs: These should be at room temperature before baking in this loaf, so remember to leave them out!
Lemon extract: This lemon extract is optional, depending on how lemony you want your loaf.
Ingredients for Lemon Glaze
Powdered sugar: For a light glaze use any powdered sugar you have. If you only have granulated, pulse it in a blender to make it powdered.
Fresh lemon juice: Fresh squeezed is always best!
How to Make a Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf
First preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper for ease in removing the loaf from the pan.
Next, sift the the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Then add the poppy seeds and whisk the ingredients together.
Note: It’s not necessary to soak the poppy seeds for this recipe, especially if using freshly bought ones. If desired for easier digestion, it’s ok to soak them first.
Now, whisk the milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest together in a medium bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.
I recommend using a Microplane to grate the lemon zest. It creates a finer zest and removes only the outermost layer, leaving behind the bitter pith.
It’s important to wait the full 5 minutes after adding the lemon juice and zest to the whole milk as this process turns it into buttermilk. This will make this loaf extra moist and delicious.
Add the eggs, melted butter, oil, and extracts into the milk mixture, and whisk to combine.
Next, pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and fold gently with a rubber spatula until only just combined. Do not over mix, it’s ok if there are some streaks of flour.
Make sure to use the folding method as opposed to stirring when mixing the wet ingredients into the dry. If it is over mixed, the crumb will be tough.
To Bake the Loaf
Now transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 55 minutes or until golden brown on the top. Poke a toothpick in the center, if it comes out clean the loaf is done cooking.
Leave the cooked lemon poppy seed loaf in the pan to cool, then take it out to serve on a plate or platter.
If desired, this recipe can instead make 12 large lemon poppy seed muffins. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full each, and bake in a 400ºF (200ºC) oven for around 12 minutes or until the muffins rise and are golden.
Make the Lemon Glaze
First, mix all of the glaze ingredients together until it’s smooth. If the glaze is too thin it’s ok to add more powdered sugar. Or if it’s too thick, add more lemon juice to get the right consistency for a drizzly glaze.
Now pour the glaze evenly over the cooled lemon poppy seed loaf. Let it sit until the glaze firms up, which usually takes about 5-8 minutes.
Alternately, if you glaze the loaf while it’s still warm the glaze will melt into it instead of sitting on top and hardening. Both are really tasty options!
Eat and Store Glazed Lemon Loaf
I’ve even been known to top this with vanilla ice cream for dessert! There’s really not a wrong way to enjoy a glazed lemon loaf in the middle of winter.
Store lemon poppy seed loaf in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or individually wrap slices in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
Feel free to double this recipe. Make one to eat now, and one to freeze for a rainy day!
More Citrus Recipes
- Easy Orange Curd
- Homemade Grapefruit Curd
- Lemon & Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
- 12 Ways to Preserve Citrus
- Fermented Lemons with Salt
- Blood Orange Upside Down Cake
- Dried Orange Slices for Food and Decoration
Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf with Lemon Glaze
For the Lemon Loaf
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup butter melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract optional
For the Lemon Glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
To Make the Lemon Loaf
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt then add the poppy seeds and whisk the ingredients together.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, juice, and zest. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- To the milk mixture add the eggs, melted butter, oil, and extracts and whisk to combine.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and fold gently with a silicone spatula until only just combined. Do not over mix – some streaks of flour are fine.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 55 minutes or until golden brown on the top. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
- Leave to cool in the pan, then turn out onto a serving plate or platter.
To make the Lemon Glaze
- Mix together the glaze ingredients until smooth. If the glaze is too thin add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick add more lemon juice to get the right consistency for a drizzly glaze.
- Pour the glaze evenly over the cooled lemon poppy seed loaf. Let sit until the glaze firms up, 5-8 minutes.
- Poppy seeds are considered safe to eat when consumed in small amounts such as the quantities found in this recipe or bagels, muffins, etc.
- Choose food-grade poppy seeds labeled for human consumption.
- If you are unsure how long you’ve had poppy seeds in your cupboard then it’s best not to use them and buy fresh to make this recipe.
- It’s best to use a Microplane to grate the lemon zest. It creates a finer zest and removes only the outermost layer, leaving behind the bitter pith.
- It’s important to wait 5 minutes after adding the lemon juice and zest to the whole milk as this process turns it into buttermilk. This will make this loaf extra moist and delicious.
- Make sure to use the folding method when mixing the wet ingredients into the dry. Over-mixing will make the crumb tough.
- If you glaze the loaf while it’s still warm the glaze will melt into it instead of sitting on top and hardening.
- This lemon poppy seed loaf can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Or individually wrap slices in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
- This recipe can be converted to make 12 large lemon poppy seed muffins: Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake in a 400ºF (200ºC) oven for around 12 minutes or until muffins are risen and golden.