This easy Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake recipe includes a tender-crumbed, super moist white cake with a delicious lemon curd filling and icing. Make the ridiculously easy lemon curd in minutes!
You might frown on me, but I have to admit that I’m
a little selfish when it comes to a really good cake. When our kids were growing up, Scott used to buy me a delicious layered birthday cake every year from my favorite little neighborhood bakery. I would proceed to make the children’s favorite dessert (often this French Silk) for my birthday. Perhaps they thought I was being really nice (maybe not, since they know me so well) but that was the farthest thing from the truth. I made their most cherished dessert so they wouldn’t eat all of my cake! There you have it, a true confession. Oh, and since I’m being honest, one more thing. If you were coming for dinner tonight, I might make you something really wonderful for dessert and never tell you that there’s a Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake stashed away in the freezer.
This cake is that good! It’s as delicious as the wonderful cake Scott used to buy from the fine little bakery down the street. Sadly, that bakery closed years ago (and we moved to the other side of the state) so I love that I can make something on that caliber myself. And, even more, I love that this sweet little cake comes together easily with no-mixer needed!
This Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake includes lemon curd in both the filling and the icing. I use our Ridiculously Easy Microwave Lemon Curd which you can throw together in less than 10 minutes. You will need to allow time for the lemon curd to cool though so you might want to make it the day before or earlier in the day.
This would be a fabulous cake for Easter, Mother’s Day, a graduation party, a baby or wedding shower or just to convey some sweet love to family, friends, neighbors, etc. The cake can be made ahead and frozen, then thawed and iced early in the day you want to serve it. I made it a one-layer cake for easy entertaining, but the recipe could be easily doubled or tripled for a two or three-layer cake.
One of our granddaughters, little Emmy, turned seven this week and, after taking one bite of this Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake earlier this month, she chose it for her birthday cake. Emmy is definitely a little foodie (she gets the trait honestly!) and thinks long and hard each year about what kind of birthday cake she wants. She also asked if she could come and help me make it – so we made it a fun joint effort!
I doubled the recipe, then split each layer in two so we ended up with a four-layer cake and three layers of lemon curd. For some reason, Emmy is quite smitten with pug dogs. So I ordered some “pug” cake toppers from Amazon and a pug cake it is!
Which flowers are edible?
I’m not a great cake decorator so I love using edible flowers to make a really pretty presentation without a lot of work (or talent). We don’t actually eat the daises, but it’s important when decorating food items with flowers, to use safe edible varieties. I used tiny daisies to decorate this Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake. Both daisy flowers and leaves are edible.
Which flowers are edible? A lot more than you might think! According to Southern Living, these are the best (and some of the most common) edible flowers:
- Zucchini blossoms
- Borage blossoms
Avoid using edible flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals not suitable for consumption.
What do poppy seeds taste like?
Wondering what poppy seeds taste like? Poppy seeds don’t have a ton of flavor when used in a cake. If finely ground and used as a filling, some people describe them as having a slightly “nutty” flavor, some people call it “fruity”. Whatever you call it, in a cake like this Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake, it’s very mild. To me, it’s more about the whimsical appearance and texture (a bit of crunch) than the flavor.
I wish we could sit down and enjoy a piece of this delicious cake together. There’s so much unsettling, unprecedented stuff going on in the world around us right now. Other than keeping us on our knees, seeking strength from above and the comfort of family and friends, there’s nothing like a sweet little treat to take our minds off of the craziness.
Café Tips for making this Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake
- This recipe calls for an 8-inch cake pan with sides that are at least 2-inches tall. If your 8-inch cake pan is lower than 2 inches, use a 9-inch pan.
- This is a no-mixer cake so the butter needs to be very soft. Check out some easy ways to soften butter quickly in our Lemon Curd Shortbread Tart post (under Café Tips).
- Because this Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake is a white cake, the recipe calls for just egg whites, no yolks. The last step of the recipe is to whisk the whites until foamy and stiff. I do this by hand and it takes two minutes, but if you want to pull out your hand mixer or use a stand mixer, feel free. I remember my mom sitting on a chair in the kitchen and whisking egg whites (a dozen!) for angel food cake. I figure if she could whisk up 12 egg whites until foamy and stiff, I can do three!
- For whisking eggs, I love this old-fashioned spiral whisk. It’s great for lightening the whites and adding lots of air which makes for a light, tender-crumbed caked.
- You’ll have three egg yolks leftover after making this Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake. You can use them for your lemon curd or make these Ridiculously Easy Brioche Dinner Rolls.
- The icing recipe will frost the cake with a nice, thick layer. If you like a thinner icing, just make half of the icing and refrigerate or freeze the leftover icing.
- I like to do a crumb coat when frosting my cake. What’s a crumb coat? Just a thin layer of icing before adding the final layer. After adding the crumb coat, refrigerate the cake for 15-20 minutes to allow the icing to harden. In addition to keeping your icing crumb-free, the crumb coat also seals in the lemon curd filling so there’s no chance of it oozing out. This step is totally optional – I’ve made this cake without doing it with good success but if you have the extra time, it’s easy to do.
- Be sure to spray your pan well with baking spray. Baking spray is different than cooking spray. Baking spray is designed to help cakes, muffins, etc. release easily from the pan.
- I also recommend that you line your cake pan with parchment paper. You can cut out parchment paper rounds to fit your pan or you can purchase these pre-cut parchment paper rounds. If you do a lot of baking, these parchment paper rounds are worth their weight in gold! They’re not expensive, easy to store and a package will last forever!
- Just to clarify, I call this a Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake a no-mixer cake but you can definitely use a mixer if you prefer.
- If you’re adverse, allergic or don’t feel like running out to the store for poppy seeds, just skip them. This cake will be fantastic without the poppy seeds.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations
This easy Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake recipe includes a tender-crumbed, super moist white cake with a delicious lemon curd filling and icing. You can make the ridiculously easy lemon curd in minutes!
- 3 tablespoons very soft butter
- ⅓ cup oil sunflower, canola, vegetable or any other mild tasting oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk
- 3 large egg whites (save the yolks for the lemon curd!)
- ¾-1 cup Ridiculously Easy Lemon Curd
- 8 ounces very soft butter
- ¼ cup Ridiculously Easy Lemon Curd
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract optional
- 3 ½- 3 ¾ cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons half and half or heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spray one 8-inch round cake pan (with 2-inch sides) with baking spray and line it with parchment paper. (If your cake pan is lower than 2 inches, use a 9-inch pan.)
Stir the soft butter in a medium-large bowl until creamy. Add the oil, sugar and vanilla . Stir until well combined and creamy, about 1 minute.
Sprinkle the baking powder, the salt and approximately one-third of the flour over the butter mixture. Stir just until the flour has disappeared.
- Add half of the milk and stir to combine. Add another third of the flour and stir just until incorporated. Repeat, adding remaining milk and then the remaining flour, stirring after each addition until almost completely combined before adding the next. Stir in the poppy seeds.
- Whisk egg whites in a separate clean bowl for 1 ½-2 minutes by hand or with a hand mixer until foamy and a peak forms when you lift the whisk or beater out of the egg whites.
Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is mixed in, but don’t over-mix. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake layer comes out clean or until the center reaches 210˚F with an instant thermometer.
Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. If the cake looks like it’s stuck on the sides of the pan, run a thin knife around the edge, then invert it onto a cooling rack to cool completely before filling and icing.
With a long, serrated knife, slice the cake in half horizontally and place bottom half on a cake stand or serving platter. Scoop the lemon curd (¾-1 cup, depending on how thick you like the fillling) right onto the center of the bottom cake layer. Spread the lemon curd to within a ½-inch of the sides of the cake.
- Set the other layer gently on top of the lemon curd, cut side down.
- Frost the cake as desired with the lemon curd icing. Serve and enjoy!
- Combine the soft butter, lemon curd and extract(s) in a medium-large bowl. Stir until very smooth and creamy.
Add the 3½ cups of the powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of the half and half (or cream). Stir together until all powdered sugar is incorporated and the icing is lump-free (about one minute).
If the icing seems too thick to spread nicely, add more half and half (or cream) one teaspoon at a time until a creamy, spreadable consistency is reached. If the icing seems to thin, add more powdered sugar, one to two tablespoon at a time until creamy and spreadable.
See Café Tips above in post for more detailed instructions and tips.
Cake recipe adapted from Sugar Spun Run.
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