Lemon Pound Cake with Poppy Seed Filling

lemonpcwithpoppyYesterday, I wondered: what should I do with a ton of leftover poppy seed filling? I should slather it into a lemon pound cake, that’s what.

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.

Buttermilk Pound Cake

buttermilk pound cake“There’s a hole in this cake,” says Maria Portocalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, when presented with a Bundt from her soon-to-be-in-laws. So what exactly is a Bundt cake? According to Wikipedia, the Bundt is based on a European fruit cake called Gugelhupf or, in the north of Germany, Bundkuchen. The Nordic Ware company began making Bundt pans in the U.S. in the 1950s and, with the help of some publicity from Pillsbury, the pans became popular.

When you look at the photo below, you’ll have a new appreciation for the need to a) properly grease and flour your Bundt pan and b) allow your cake to cool completely before attempting to remove it from said pan. I thought my baking spray, which includes a combination of cooking spray and flour, would be enough to release the Bundt…but I was wrong. Also, I removed the cake when it was still slightly warm, which could have been another problem.

Moral of the story: grease your pan with shortening, flour your pan, and wait until your cake cools completely before you remove it from the pan so you can avoid the torn Bundt situation that I experienced in the photo below. Despite its less-than-perfect appearance, the cake itself is quite delicious.


Buttermilk Pound Cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Almond Drizzle

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • About 1 tablespoon water


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-cup capacity Bundt pan.

In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add buttermilk and flour mixture alternatively, beating until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 70 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool completely in pan; remove and invert on a cake plate before drizzling.

For the drizzle: in a large glass measuring cup combine powdered sugar and almond extract. Add water slowly, about 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach a thick drizzling consistency. Pour over top of cake and allow to drip down the sides.

Below, the evidence of my faulty pan-greasing and haste of removal is clearly observed. At least it tastes good.


Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

lemon poppy pound cakeYesterday, I met my dear friend Carrie and her family in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday is browsing in the Strip, and I was so glad to get to share this experience with Carrie, her husband, and their two children. Carrie’s family lives in State College and we don’t get to visit as often as I’d like, but we had a nice time among the fascinating foods, spices, and treats on Penn Avenue.

At lunch at a seafood restaurant, Carrie and I marveled at the things that people imagined they could eat—mussels, lobsters, crabs. Poppy seeds are among such ingredients for me, as I have no idea why someone once looked at a poppy and thought, hmm, I bet I could cook with those seeds in there.

Interestingly enough, Carrie and I also just had a discussion about the difference between cupcakes (small cakes) and muffins (small quick breads), because though this recipe was billed as a bread I believe it to be much more of a pound cake, given its inclusion of butter and its method of preparation. Once it is completely cooled, I might whip up some lemon powdered sugar drizzle icing for the top, but I believe it’s going to be quite tasty either way.


For the cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 13 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

For the lemon syrup

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray an 8 x 4 loaf pan with baking spray, line the bottom with parchment, and spray the parchment.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, and milk; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds until combined.

Add butter and half of the egg mixture, beating on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat for about 1-2 minutes, until ingredients are very well-incorporated.

Scrape down the bowl and add remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for about 30 seconds after each. You may need to scrape the bowl a few more times to fully incorporate all of the ingredients and to make sure there are no lumps in the batter.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes, then cover with foil and bake another 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. The edges of the cake will be very dark, but that is okay.

In the last 10 minutes of baking, prepare lemon syrup; combine lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan, stirring and boiling until the sugar dissolves.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick it with a cake tester or thin wooden skewer and brush half of the lemon syrup over the top. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan, invert on a cooling rack sprayed with baking spray, and prick the bottom and sides, brushing with remaining syrup.

Cool completely, then wrap in foil. Store overnight before serving so that the lemon syrup has time to absorb; top with lemon drizzle icing if desired.


Pound Cake

pound cakeThe Christmas before Mike and I got married, to help me prepare for married lady-ness, my mom gave me the Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook. Its red and white plaid cover shelters a binder of classic BH&G recipes—70 years worth, in fact. It is the most useful book that I possess, or have ever read.

A treasure chest of middle-class American cuisine, this cookbook features information about weight and measure conversions, emergency substitutions, the different types of pasta, the merits of butter over margarine in baked goods, a glossary of common cooking terms, and diagrams of the different cuts of meat. Unlike some of the other cookbooks I’ve used, the BH&G has never failed me. Every single recipe I’ve made from it—and believe me, I’ve nearly exhausted the cookie and cake chapters—turns out exactly as expected. This speaks volumes for BH&G’s test kitchens, and makes things so much easier for self-taught cooks and bakers.

This pound cake recipe is a slight adaptation from the one in the BH&G (I tripled the quantity of vanilla) and yields a sturdy but tender texture that would be an ideal base for a trifle. It could be accessorized by any number of glazes, though I highly recommend pairing this cake with whipped cream (or whipped topping, as is pictured above) and the summer fruit of your choice or a handful of chocolate chips.


  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Let butter, eggs, and sour cream stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease and lightly flour an 8x4x2 loaf pan.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar and continue beating on medium or medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, about 7 minutes.

Beat in vanilla.

Add eggs, one at a time, and beat for 1 minute after each; scrape the bowl well before adding your next egg.

Add flour mixture and sour cream alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating after each until ingredients are just combined.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool completely before serving.