Poppy seeds are a fun ingredient to bake with because they add a surprising amount of texture to cakes, muffins and cookies, even though they don’t add a tremendous amount of flavor in most recipes. Just like adding nuts to a cookie recipe, it is nice to add different textures as well as different flavors to recipes to change things up. Poppy seeds are frequently paired with lemon and in this Lemon Lime Poppy Seed Bundt Cake I’ve added lime to the mix, as well.
While lemon on its own is delicious, the lime really amps up the citrus flavor that you get in every bite, making this cake surprisingly refreshing. The bundt cake has a tight, tender crumb that allows for a great distribution of the poppy seeds throughout the cake. It isn’t as dense as a pound cake, but it is still a sturdy cake that will give you a great shape from just about any bundt pan you want to put it in. The citrus flavor in the cake comes from a very generous amount of lemon and lime zest. The zest of the citrus – the colorful outer layer – is loaded with citrus oils, which contain much of the flavor of the fruit. Relying on the zest for the flavor allowed me to use buttermilk as the primary liquid in this batter, which contributes to a soft crumb and a soft buttery flavor in the recipe.
The lemon icing adds a bit of extra sweetness to the cake, and you could easily turn it into a lime glaze by simply switching out the lemon juice for lime juice. Since the cake recipe only uses the zest of the citrus fruit, you will have plenty of juice available to use in the icing. You can also store the zested fruit by placing them in a ziploc bag and refrigerating them, where they’ll last for a couple of days without drying out.
This cake is easy to put together and is a great choice for spring and summer entertaining. You can serve it as-is, or pair it with some seasonal berries if you want to plate up individual slices for a dinner party. I do recommend buying fresh poppy seeds before baking this cake, however. Poppy seeds are very high in fat and spoil easily, so if you don’t go though them quickly and have had a jar sitting around your kitchen for a long time, you should replace them instead of taking the risk of putting off-flavors in your cake.
Lemon Lime Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 tbsp lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tbsp lime zest (2-3 limes)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 10-inch bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, lemon and lime zest until light. Bear in vanilla extract, eggs and egg yolks. Stir in one third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk. Stir in another third of the dry ingredients, followed by the remaining buttermilk. Add in the remaining flour mixture and the poppy seeds, then mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain visible and poppy seeds are well-distributed.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with icing when cool.
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 – 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gradually whisk in remaining confectioners’ sugar until icing is thick enough to drizzle easily over the cake.
Makes 1 cake; serves 12-16.