Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Recipe

From pastry chef Alysa Downs at Edge Catering, this classic loaf is the perfect addition to Mother's Day brunch

From pastry chef Alysa Downs at Edge Catering, this classic loaf is the perfect addition to Mother’s Day brunch


  • ¾ cup buttermilk or 2% plain, unsweetened yogurt

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tsp fresh lemon zest, grated

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2¼ teaspoons poppy seeds

  • Oil spray


  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

  • ½ cup white sugar


  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • Approximately 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Lightly grease loaf pan with oil spray.

  3. In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk (or yogurt) with the lemon juice and zest. Set aside.

  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

  5. Using electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until well-combined.

  6. Beat in one egg until evenly incorporated.

  7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and add one-quarter of the dry ingredients.

  8. Beat in the second egg.

  9. Scrape the bowl and add some more of the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk mixture until the batter is almost uniform.

  10. Stir in poppy seeds using a spatula to finish by hand.

  11. Transfer batter to the prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes (or 20 to 30 for mini pans) or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Check after 40 minutes and tent with foil if the loaf is browning too quickly.


  1. While the loaf is baking, whisk together the fresh lemon juice and white sugar until the sugar dissolves.

  2. When the loaf is done, let cool for 5 minutes then gently remove from the pan and transfer to a cooling rack.

  3. Poke the cake all over with a toothpick or skewer.

  4. While the loaf is hot, slowly pour the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it sink in before pouring more over. When all the glaze is used, let the loaf cool to room temperature.


  1. While the loaf is cooling, measure icing sugar into a small bowl.

  2. Whisk in the lemon juice gradually until a loose icing forms, then whisk in lemon zest.

  3. Drizzle over the top of the loaf, allowing it to flow over the sides of the cake.

  4. If desired, sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Keep the loaf covered for up to 3 days at room temperature, or the loaf can be frozen for up to 3 months.