How to Make a Delicious Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

Picture yourself savoring a moist and delicious piece of coffee cake imbued with the irresistible aroma of fresh lemon zest and poppy seeds. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? If you’re a fan of baked goods, then you’ll love our Poppy Seed Coffee Cake Recipe. As a barista and lover of coffee, I know that nothing beats a freshly brewed cup of joe paired with a scrumptious slice of lemon-poppy seed cake to start your morning on the right foot.

This recipe is an ideal choice for anyone looking to indulge in a little sweetness without overindulging since each ingredient is thoughtfully chosen to give you a balanced taste that’s not too heavy on sugar or fat. It’s crucial to me as a barista to make sure my customers get their caffeine fix in the best possible way, which is why I had to share this recipe with you. Trust me, you won’t have just one slice!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Poppy Seed Coffee Cake
Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

Are you ready to experience a coffee cake like never before? Look no further than this poppy seed coffee cake recipe. Trust me, once you try this delicious concoction, you’ll never want to go back to boring breakfasts again.

But what makes this recipe so special? The answer lies in the unique combination of poppy seeds and lemon zest. These flavors work together to create a tasty and refreshing burst that will leave your taste buds singing.

And let’s not forget about the texture. This coffee cake is moist and fluffy, with just the right amount of crumble on top. It’s the perfect sweet treat to pair with your morning cup of joe or to enjoy as a mid-day snack.

But don’t just take my word for it. Try out this recipe for yourself and see why it’s quickly becoming a fan-favorite at bakeries across the world. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredient List

 This coffee cake recipe will win hearts at any gathering.
This coffee cake recipe will win hearts at any gathering.

Before we start whipping up this delightful Poppy Seed Coffee Cake, let’s gather all the essential ingredients to prepare it. Here is a list of the items that you will need:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of purpose flour: As the main ingredient, it adds structure and texture to the cake.
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder: Acts as a leavening agent and helps lift the cake.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda: Neutralizes acidity in the batter and helps to brown the cake.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt: Balances out flavors by bringing out sweetness while reducing bitterness.
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar: Adds sweetness to the cake without making it too sugary.

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of buttermilk: Provides moisture, acidity, and tangy flavor to the cake.
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature: Adds rich, creamy texture to the batter.
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature: Helps to bind all ingredients together
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest This adds freshness and complements well with poppy seed flavor.

Poppy Seeds Filling:

  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds, soak poppy seeds for 30 minutes before using.*
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

The Recipe How-To

 Get ready to fall in love with the combination of soft and fluffy texture with a slight crunch.
Get ready to fall in love with the combination of soft and fluffy texture with a slight crunch.

Now that you have gathered all your ingredients, it’s time to jump into making this delicious Poppy Seed Coffee Cake! Follow these steps closely to ensure the best results:

Step 1: Soak the Poppy Seeds

Place the poppy seeds into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak for up to 30 minutes before draining and returning to the bowl.

Step 2: Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups of purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Step 3: Prepare the Wet Ingredients

In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup of butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar. Add in lemon zest (from one lemon) and mix well. Then add in two egg yolks and continue mixing until combined.

Step 4: Combine Dry and Wet Ingredients

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture alternating with 1 cup of buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Mix until just combined.

Step 5: Add Soaked Poppy Seeds to Batter

Fold in the soaked poppy seeds into the batter, mixing until just combined.

Step 6: Layer the Batter into a Baking Pan

Grease a baking pan (9×13 inches) with butter. Then pour in half of the batter. Evenly layer poppy seed filling over the batter, using a spatula to smooth it out. Pour over remaining batter on top of your filling, spreading it out evenly.

Step 7: Bake the Cake

Bake at for about45-50 minutes at a temperature of 350 F or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Step 8: Let it Cool and Serve

Let the coffee cake cool completely before serving. Add a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a lemon glaze to make it more special.

Enjoy your freshly baked Poppy Seed Coffee Cake with a hot coffee or glass of milk!

Substitutions and Variations

 The aroma of cinnamon and sweetness of poppy seed will take your senses on a culinary journey.
The aroma of cinnamon and sweetness of poppy seed will take your senses on a culinary journey.

The great thing about this Poppy Seed Coffee Cake Recipe is how easily it can be adjusted to suit your personal taste. Here are a few substitutions and variations you can try:

– Use lemon poppyseed instead: If you want to switch things up, try using lemon poppyseed instead of plain poppy seeds. This will add a bright, zesty flavor to the cake.

– Add a crumble topping: For an extra crunchy texture, sprinkle a crumble topping on top of the cake before baking. Mix together ½ cup flour, ½ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 4 tablespoons of softened butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over the cake batter.

– Use quark öl mohnkuchen: Quark öl mohnkuchen is a German poppy seed roll that makes for a delicious coffee cake variation. Instead of using regular flour and buttermilk, use the ingredients for quark öl mohnkuchen (listed in the keyword list) for a truly unique twist.

– Drizzle with lemon glaze: For an added hint of sweetness, drizzle your cake with lemon glaze after it has cooled. To make the glaze, whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice until smooth.

– Make it into a bundt cake: If you’re looking for a different presentation, bake this recipe in a bundt pan for an elegant look.

No matter what variation you choose to try, one thing’s for sure – this Poppy Seed Coffee Cake is sure to be a hit at any brunch or bakery display.

Serving and Pairing

 The perfect company for a hot cup of coffee or tea!
The perfect company for a hot cup of coffee or tea!

This Poppy Seed Coffee Cake is a truly versatile treat that can be served for a variety of occasions. Its fluffy texture and the subtle nutty flavor of poppy seeds make it a perfect choice for brunch, afternoon tea or even as an after-dinner dessert.

One pairing that particularly stands out is serving this cake alongside a cup of coffee. The rich aroma of coffee complements the nutty taste of poppy seeds and enhances the cake’s flavor profile. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something lighter to enjoy with your cake, try brewing a cup of your favorite herbal tea.

For those who love indulging on sweets, you can elevate the cake’s flavor by adding whipped cream or frosting made with cream cheese. The lightly sweet glaze made with lemon juice and powdered sugar will also complement the poppy seeds’ nutty flavor.

This cake’s versatility makes it easy to pair with other breakfast or brunch foods like fresh fruit salad or scrambled eggs. Or, if you’re hosting a party or get-together, you can cut it into small bite-size pieces and serve as part of a larger dessert platter.

Overall, there are numerous ways to enjoy this delicious Poppy Seed Coffee Cake. Whether you indulge in it on its own or add some creative twists to its presentation, it’s sure to please those with a sweet tooth and those looking for something light yet indulgent.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 You'll have the whole house smelling amazing with this recipe!
You’ll have the whole house smelling amazing with this recipe!

Ah, reheating and storing baked goods – a plight for pastry lovers everywhere. But fret not, dear readers! I have some tips for you on how to keep your poppy seed coffee cake fresh and delicious.

Firstly, this cake can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. It’s best to store it whole rather than sliced, as that will help to preserve the moisture.

If you’re planning on keeping it longer than three days, you have the option to freeze it. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and then cover it with aluminum foil. You can keep it frozen for up to a month.

When you’re ready to serve your coffee cake, let it thaw at room temperature for several hours. You can also warm it up by placing it in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 minutes. This will give your coffee cake a nice crisp exterior while maintaining its soft and moist interior.

Another option is to microwave individual slices for about 10-15 seconds. Be sure to watch it carefully though, as microwaves have different power levels and you don’t want to overdo it.

Lastly, if you’re looking to add some pizzazz to your cake after reheating, try adding a drizzle of lemon glaze or dusting it with powdered sugar. This will give your poppy seed coffee cake an extra burst of flavour and make it look oh-so-tempting!

Remember, proper storing and reheating is key to preserving the freshness and flavour of your baked goods, so follow these tips and enjoy your delicious poppy seed coffee cake anytime you like!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Get cozy with a slice of this warm and comforting coffee cake.
Get cozy with a slice of this warm and comforting coffee cake.

I have a few tips to offer to ensure that you make the perfect poppy seed coffee cake every time. Here are my recommendations:

1. Soak the Poppy Seeds

Before adding poppy seeds to your recipe, soak them in hot water for at least 15 minutes. This will help soften the seeds and release their flavor, making your cake more delicious.

2. Measure Ingredients Accurately

Use measuring spoons and cups when adding ingredients to your batter. Baking requires precise measurements, so be sure to follow the recipe closely.

3. Use Room Temperature Ingredients

Ensure that all of your ingredients, such as the butter, eggs, and buttermilk are at room temperature before beginning the recipe. This will help them incorporate evenly into the batter.

4. Don’t Overmix The Batter

When combining ingredients, mix them just until they are incorporated. Over-mixing can cause your cake to become tough and dry.

5. Allow Cake To Cool

Once out of the oven, let your poppy seed coffee cake cool in its pan for at least 15-20 minutes before transferring it onto a plate or wire rack.

6. Add Lemon Glaze or Crumble Topping

For added flavor and texture, consider topping off your poppy seed coffee cake with a lemon glaze or crumble topping.

With these tips, I’m sure you’ll make a delightful poppy seed coffee cake that will be a hit among family and friends alike!


Now, let’s address some frequently asked questions (FAQ) you might have about this Poppy Seed Coffee Cake Recipe. Read on to clear up any confusion and make sure you have all the knowledge you need to execute this recipe perfectly.

Why do you have to soak poppy seeds before baking?

To ensure that our Poppy Seed Muffins are easily digestible, it’s crucial to soak the poppy seeds in either hot water or hot milk before mixing the batter. By soaking the seeds for at least 30 minutes, the outer layer of the seeds softens and becomes more digestible, resulting in a more enjoyable eating experience for our customers.

What do poppy seeds add to cake?

Adding poppy seeds to a lemon loaf cake provides an enjoyable crispy element.

Should poppy seeds be toasted before baking?

For the best flavor, it’s recommended to toast or bake poppy seeds before use. These tiny seeds are highly susceptible to going bad due to their high concentration of oil and protein, therefore it’s advisable to buy them in small amounts.

Can poppy seed be used in baking?

Poppy seeds are commonly utilized as a decorative element and seasoning in a variety of baked goods and pastries. In North America, they are often incorporated into popular foods like muffins, bagels, bialys, cakes, and rusks.

Bottom Line

As you can see, making a Poppy Seed Coffee Cake is not as hard as it seems. With the right ingredients and proper instructions, you’ll have a delicious treat that will impress everyone at your next brunch or gathering.

So next time you’re looking for a recipe to try, consider making this German-inspired classic. Make it as written or put your own spin on it with substitutions and variations. No matter how you make it, this cake is sure to delight your taste buds.

So what are you waiting for? Get baking and enjoy! Your family and friends will thank you for it.

Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

Poppy Seed Coffee Cake Recipe

From E. Shern at Madison Middle School.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 coffee cake
Calories 461.1 kcal


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 ounces poppy seeds
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Cream butter, sugar and egg yolks. Soak poppy seeds in buttermilk. Sift dry ingredients ( flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt). Alternately add buttermilk and dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites flavored with almond. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tblsp. cinnamon. Pour half the cake batter into a greased tube pan. Cover with part of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour in remaining cake batter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake for 1 hour at 350*.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 135gCalories: 461.1kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 7.7gFat: 23.1gSaturated Fat: 12.7gCholesterol: 125.3mgSodium: 497.9mgFiber: 1.4gSugar: 32.2g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Breads, Easy
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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