This cake calls for lemon extract, and believe me when I tell you that you won’t be able to achieve the necessary level of lemony goodness in it with zest and juice alone. The fine folks at McCormick’s (which Mike always reminds me is a Maryland-based company) make lemon extract that you’ll likely find in the baking aisle at your local grocery store. It is absolutely worth the $5.
If you’d rather not use the poppy seed filling, you can omit it and just serve your cake as-is. I’m a huge fan of poppy seed though, so for me this is pretty close to pound cake heaven. You can serve it warm without glaze, or wait for it to cool and glaze it. Either way, it is delicious.
For the cake
- 1 1/2 cups poppy seed filling
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
- 1 cup 2% milk
- zest of 1 medium lemon
For the glaze
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- About 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan very well, then dust with flour.
In a small bowl, combine poppy seed filling and 4 teaspoons lemon juice, mixing well; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla and lemon extracts and mix well.
Add the flour and milk alternatively in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour and mixing until just combined after each addition.
Add lemon zest and beat until just combined.
Pour about half of the batter into your bundt pan, then spoon in poppy seed filling and gently spread to create a ribbon. Top with remaining batter.
Bake for 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then carefully invert the cake onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
When the cake is cool, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice, about a teaspoon at a time, in a large glass measuring cup. You want a very drizzly consistency for your glaze so that it can easily drip down the sides of your cake. Pour over cake and allow to set before serving.
Remember: if you want to serve this cake warm – and it is dee-lish-ous warm – you can leave it unglazed.