Lemon lovers rejoice! Grab a few lemons and make this lemon poppyseed bread- that is so tender and moist and topped with a lemon glaze. The tartness of the lemons pairs wonderfully with the pop of the poppy seeds in this soft, and moist quick bread. Or bake it in a bundt pan and call it a cake. Whatever puts a smile on your face.
So it’s mid-January here in the Boston area. That means COLD, COLD, COLD. And sometimes snow. And sunshine? Not so much. So I will get my dose of sunshine from my kitchen. Thank you very much.
Like this bread. And I’ll serve it alongside a cup of afternoon tea. Put on some fuzzy socks and pretend I’m somewhere on a beach. A girl can dream.
Ok back to reality. This lemon bread bursting with poppy seeds is everything you want in a quick bread – soft, moist, tart, sweet, a little crunch – and easy to make. Basically, I had to give these loaves away before I ate them all. Because I’m pretty sure two slices before dinner doesn’t count as an appetizer.
Bread Or Cake?
Great question. Technically it’s a pound cake that I baked into a loaf pan, so I’m calling it a “bread”. You can bake it into a bundt pan if you want and turn this into a cake.
I’ve used this recipe before and made different versions of it and baked it into a bundt pan, like this grapefruit bundt cake recipe.
Ingredients For This Lemon Poppyseed Bread
For the bread:
- Flour – You will need all purpose flour for this recipe. Make sure you measure it correctly by either weighing your flour with a scale or by spooning it into a measuring cup and leveling it off (don’t pack it down.) You can read more here about How To Measure Flour
- Salt – Not all salt is created equally. I generally use table salt in my recipes. You can read more here about the The Role Of Salt In Baking
- Baking Powder – This is a leavening agent that will help your bread rise. Make sure it’s not expired by testing a spoonful in a bowl of hot water to see if it bubbles.
- Baking Soda – This is a leavening agent that will help your bread rise. Make sure it’s not expired by testing a spoonful in a small bowl of vinegar o lemon juice to see if it bubbles. You can read more here about Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda.
- Sour cream – This gives the bread a wonderful richness, and slight tanginess that I just love! You can always use greek yogurt instead.
- Lemon zest – This of course gives the bread it’s wonderful lemon flavor!
- Vanilla extract – Pure vanilla extract is always the best!
- Unsalted butter – You want to use unsalted butter for this. Not all brands use the same amount of salt in their salted butter so you could end up with a dessert that’s too salty. You can read more here about Unsalted Butter Vs. Salted Butter In Baking
- Sugar – I’ve started using organic cane sugar in my recipes! I love the hint of natural molasses flavor it imparts. The sugar will be creamed with the butter, which will help to aerate the butter and tenderize your bread. You can read more here about What Is The Creaming Method?
- Eggs – Make sure they are room temperature before using. Place them in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before using.
- Poppy seeds – You will add a generous 2 Tablespoons that gives the bread a wonderful crunch and pairs wonderfully with the lemon!
For the glaze:
- Confectioners sugar – This will be used in the lemon glaze.
- Lemon juice – Remember the lemons you zested? Well they won’t go to waste! Go ahead and juice them and use them in the glaze.
- Vanilla extract – You will also use a little in the glaze. I find it helps to round up the lemon flavor.
- Lemon zest – You can add additional lemon zest to the glaze, but it’s optional.
How To Make This Bread
- Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
- Make the sour cream mixture. In another bowl, combine the lemon zest, vanilla extract and sour cream.
- Cream butter and sugar. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs. Add the eggs one at a time (make sure they are room temperature!) scraping down the mixing bowl well after each addition and mix until blended.
- Combine the wet and dry. Add dry and wet ingredients alternately to butter-sugar-egg mixture until uniformly incorporated- do not overmix.
- Time to bake! Grease and flour one bundt cake pan (or 2 large 9×5 loaf pans- or 6-7 mini loaf pans). Pour batter into pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for approximately 50 minutes (be sure to lower the baking time if you are making things smaller). The cake is done when a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before glazing.
- Make the glaze. Mix all ingredients until smooth. Pour over top of cake and serve. For a thicker glaze use less lemon juice.
Tips For Making This Lemon Poppyseed Bread Recipe
- Careful when zesting. When zesting the citrus, make sure to go only down to the white pith layer. The white pith layer is bitter so you want to make sure to not zest this layer, just the outer layer.
- Soften Your Butter. You want properly softened butter so that you can cream mixture properly. The sugar punches holes into the butter creating air pockets, which helps to aerate and help the cake to rise. Here are 3 quick ways to soften your butter.
- Bring your eggs to room temperature. You don’t want cold eggs being added to your creamed butter mixture. It will seize up the butter. So place your eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before using them.
Storing This Bread
You can store this bread at room temperature for up to 3 days, wrapped in either plastic wrap or tinfoil. Make sure it’s completely cool before you store it.
Or you can freeze the bread (I would recommend freezing it unglazed) as well. Wrap the bread up in plastic wrap, then a layer of tinfoil and freeze for up to 3 months! Simply thaw at room temperature.
Lemon Poppyseed Bread FAQ’s
Can I Use A Different Type of Zest?
You definitely can. Lime, orange, grapefruit. It’s up to you!
Can I Use Greek Yogurt Instead Of Sour Cream?
Absolutely. I have and it’s still delicious! I recommend a full-fat plain yogurt, as oppossed to a fat free yogurt for maximum richness and moistness.
Why is my lemon poppyseed bread not done in the middle?
This can happen if it cooks too fast, creating a crust on the outside leaving the middle uncooked. This could mean your oven temperature is too high. Do yourself a favor and get an oven thermometer to double check the accuracy of your oven.
Why does my bread sink in the middle?
This usually means the bread is not done. Again, do yourself a favor and check that oven temperature. And be sure to not peek during the baking process! Keep that oven door closed.
How can I tell when my bread is finished baking?
To test when lemon bread is done, I like to use a long wooden skewer to insert into the cake and see if there are moist crumbs that cling to it. My biggest worry is overbaking it. So making sure my oven temperature is running correctly, I can then set my timer and check it with the skewer to ensure it’s done properly and not overbaked.
What pan do I bake this lemon bread in?
Can I omit the poppy seeds?
You absolutely can! Or try mixing in a different seed like chia seeds.
Tools Needed To Make This Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
- Bundt pan, loaf pans, or mini loaf pans
- Kitchen-aid Stand mixer – this is my new mixer and I love it!
- Mixing bowls – I always recommend using metal bowls for baking because they do not leave behind any grease or residue over time.
More Lemon Recipes
- Lemon raspberry bundt cake recipe
- Lemon zucchini bundt cake recipe
- Blueberry Lemon Crumb Cake
- Lemon Bars
- Lemon Sour cream pound cake
- Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
- Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes
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Lemon Poppyseed Bread
- 2 ½ cups (300 g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (240 g) sour cream
- 1 Tablespoons lemon zest about 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 226 g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 2 ¼ cups (441 g)granulated white sugar
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
For the Lemon Glaze
- 1 ½ cups (180 g) confectioners sugar
- 3-4 Tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest optional
- Preheat oven to 350F and position oven rack in the middle of your oven. Grease and flour (or line with parchment paper) two 9-inch loaf pans. Or you can bake this in a 10-cup capacity bundt pan. I like to spray the pans first, then line the pans with parchment paper. And then spray one more time. If using a bundt pan, do NOT grease and flour until right before adding the batter.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
- In another bowl, combine the lemon zest, vanilla extract and sour cream. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the mixing bowl well after each addition and mix until blended. Your batter may look slightly curdled at this point, but will smooth out once the flour has been added.
- Add the flour and sour cream mixture alternately to butter-sugar-egg mixture until uniformly incorporated- do not overmix. Start and end with the flour mixture, in 3 additions.
- Stir in the poppy seeds until evenly incorporated. Do not overmix. I like to stir these in with a spatula to ensure I do not overmix at this point.
- Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for approximately 40-45 minutes (or for a bundt pan bake for 50-55 minutes). The bread is done when a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. A few moist crumbs is Ok! Remove pans from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes. Then remove from the pans and continue to cool on a cooling rack. Allow to cool before glazing.
- For the glaze: Mix all ingredients until smooth. You can adjust the consistency of the glaze by adding more powdered sugar, or more lemon juice. When bread is cooled, divide the glaze between the two breads, and pour over top of breads and serve. For a thicker glaze use less lemon juice.
- Tools: microplane |Bundt pan | loaf pans | Kitchen-aid Stand mixer | metal bowls
- Storage: You can store this bread at room temperature for up to 3 days, wrapped in either plastic wrap or tinfoil. Make sure it's completely cool before you store it. Or you can freeze the bread (I recommend unglazed) as well. Wrap the bread up in plastic wrap, then a layer of tinfoil and freeze for up to 3 months! Simply thaw at room temperature.
- Sour Cream: You can swap out the sour cream for a plain full fat greek yogurt. But I do recommend using a full-fat sour cream vs. a lighter sour cream for maximum richness.
- Poppy Seeds: You can omit these if you would like. Or try using chia seeds instead.
- Citrus: Feel free to swap out the lemon for another citrus zest, like orange or lime, or try a combination of all three!
- Mini Loaf Pans: You can bake this in a mini loaf pans, but baking time and yield will vary depending on the size of your pans.