Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake with a Lemon Glaze

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

A plump, golden Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake with a Lemon Glaze is what I have for you today.

After all these years of baking vegan cakes and cupcakes, I am still amazed at how easy it is to eliminate animal products like butter, cream and egg and still get a perfectly moist, airy and beautiful result. All of it minus that awful egg odor. If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is try this cake.

Lemon and poppy seed are a classic combination, and just one bite of this amazing cake will tell you why. I used Meyer lemons which have a distinctive flavor and are sweeter than your average lemon, but it’s perfectly fine to use regular lemons instead. You could even try substituting other fruit juices.Lemon Poppyseed Cake

This is a great base recipe to create cakes of all flavors. You could, for instance, substitute the lemon juice and zest with orange and get a great orange bundt cake. Or you might try another fruit juice. This cake is very much like a pound cake, with a buttery crumb and a melt-in-the-mouth texture. I also used unbleached cake flour to get a particularly light texture. Cake flour is very low in gluten, so you don’t have to worry about your cake getting tough, the way it could with higher gluten flours like all-purpose flour. If you can’t get cake flour, use all-purpose but replace two tablespoons in each cup with cornflour.

You could also use whole-wheat pastry flour to make this cake. It will be darker and the crumb will be thicker, but you’d still have a great cake (and one that’s slightly healthier too).

Gotta run now, but here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake With A Lemon Glaze
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
  • For Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake:
  • 2⅔ cup unbleached cake flour (If you don't have cake flour, all-purpose would be okay but replace 5 tbsp of the all-purpose flour with cornflour. You can also make this with whole-wheat pastry flour but the crumb will be thicker.)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1½ cups vegan cane sugar or turbinado sugar
  • 1¾ cup almond milk or soymilk mixed with 2 tsp vinegar. Set aside five minutes to curdle.
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup poppy seeds, lightly toasted in a skillet. Do this over medium heat and stir frequently. It should take no more than five minutes.
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of vegan "butter" like Earth Balance, at room temperature
  • For Lemon Glaze:
  • For the lemon glaze
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¾ cup confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
  1. Make the cake:
  2. Cream together the sugar and "butter" in a stand mixer or hand mixer fitted with a wisk, until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of bowl a couple of times during the mixing.
  3. Mix the lemon juice, zest, vanilla extract and almond milk.
  4. Sift into a bowl the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder
  5. Add the flour to the butter and sugar mixture in three batches, alternating with the almond milk mixture. Mix for 20 seconds after each addition, then scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything's integrated.
  6. Add the poppy seeds and mix with a spatula to disperse them evenly through the batter.
  7. Oil and flour a bundt cake pan. Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out dry. Let the cake stand in the bundt pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then unmold. This cake unmolds easily, but if you need help run a knife lightly and carefully around the edges.
  8. Make the glaze:
  9. With a wisk, mix the lemon juice and sugar.
  10. With a toothpick, make a few holes in the warm cake and then paint the glaze onto the cake using a pastry brush. You can even just pour it on. Add some lemon zest on top, if desired.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/16th Calories: 275 Fiber: 0.8 grams Protein: 2.5 grams


Lemon Poppyseed Cake


Lemon Poppyseed Cake

If you like citrusy cakes, have you tried my fail-safe Orange Cake?


Say No to Horse-Carriage Rides in New York City and Elsewhere

There have been a number of media articles in recent weeks about efforts by animal-rights activists to stop New York City’s abhorrent horse-drawn carriages, after the deaths of two horses who literally dropped dead while ferrying passengers around the city’s clogged streets.

If you’ve ever been to New York, you will not have missed these horse carriages (and hopefully you knew better than to ride in one). But if you haven’t you would find it hard to imagine the sight of these poor animals, blinkers on, forced to walk around pulling hundreds of pounds for at least nine hours each day, seven days a week, ferrying passengers through the din, pollution, and unbearable hustle of New York’s infamous traffic.

It is also hard to imagine that leaders of this, one of the world’s greatest cities, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, still believe that they need this archaic display of animal cruelty to draw in tourists. If anything, it makes me never want to visit again.

To my mind, horses symbolize freedom. To condemn these beautiful creatures to a life of slavery and suffering is not just wrong, it should be a crime. Unfortunately, New York City is not alone. I wrote a few years back about Charleston’s horrendous horse carriages which really ruined my visit to this otherwise beautiful town in South Carolina.

The horses pay a heavy price for our “entertainment.” Many suffer respiratory ailments, not surprising given that they are inhaling noxious exhaust fumes all day, and some turn lame because of walking constantly on the hard pavement. At the end of a long, hard day the horses are returned to crowded stables where they are packed in, with no recourse to roam free for even a short time. They have no pastures where they can graze, or socialize with other animals. The next morning it’s back to the streets and hard labor and on and on until they die an early death or are put down.

Animal rights activists in New York City, including the ASPCA, have been fighting to have the horse carriages banned and they have been making steady progress, but I wanted to share this with you too in the hope that you will contribute your own power as consumers. All you have to do is say no to horse rides that are common “tourist attractions” in cities around the world.

There’s so much to see and do in New York City or in Charleston or in just about any place on earth. There is absolutely no need to sully your visit or vacation with a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, pulled by a sentient animal who will never know what it’s like to be happy.

Picture from ASPCA
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.


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  1. says

    Oh wow! I must try this. Can I use oil instead of vegan butter?
    I am against horse carriages too, but I did take one just a few months ago in a Amish village, but i did note that the animals are so well cared for by these simple folk.

  2. says

    Manju, thanks!

    Manasi, I don’t want to generalize, but I do want to shed some light on your view– one others may hold too– that the Amish treat animals with love and care because they lead a peaceful lifestyle. The Amish dominate the puppy mill trade– those horrible places where dogs are kept locked in cages all their lives (often stacked one on top of another) and bred incessantly to create puppies sold to pet shops. Lancaster county in Pennsylvania, home to the Amish, has become known as the puppy mill capital of the United States. The Amish have also often enough been implicated in horrible instances of cruelty against the horses who pull their buggies. Here’s just one news article from earlier this month that you might want to read: http://www.wfmj.com/story/16183845/2-amish-fined-for-cruelty-to-buggy-horses-when-hot?clienttype=printable

  3. says

    Should the almond milk be unsweetened? This just may be my first foray into vegan baking…and all because it doesn’t use lots of funky ingredients!!

  4. says

    Barbie, I too hate those funky ingredients that sometimes crop up in vegan baked goods. :) Yes, the almond milk should be unsweetened, although using sweetened almond milk would not make a difference that would be discernible in the final cake.

  5. Anonymous says

    Hi Vaishali,
    Lovely and delicious looking cake. Since I do not have the bundt pan, can I use the regular 8″ or 9″ cake tin? One question which had been lingering in mind since the time I have started visiting ur blog; what is ur inspiration (other than inner instinct)to baking? Is there any book or site?
    God Bless

  6. says

    Divya, thanks.

    Nisha, my only inspiration from the start has been Desi, who has a huge sweet tooth. :) But as a novice baker, I learned a lot from a classic American cookbook named Joy of Cooking which has dozens of recipes for baked goods (usually not vegan), and just from watching baking shows on public television. By the time I turned vegan, I knew enough about baking to experiment on my own.

  7. says

    I need a plain pound type cake for a trifle. Can I just leave out the lemon juice and zest? Would I need more milk? Can I bake it in a loaf pan??

    Many thanks

  8. says

    Priya, Zengirl, Thanks!

    Maesti, this recipe would work great for pound cake. Leave out the lemon juice, poppy seeds and zest and replace the lemon juice with an equal amount of almond milk. You could even try using some club soda in place of the lemon juice for an airier cake.

  9. says

    Hello Vaishali,
    I am planning to make this for my son’s birhtday, but I don’t have a bundt pan. Do you think I could use a 9 inch spring form pan? And can I use black poppy seeds instead of the white?
    Thank you for sharing and for the effort you put into your recipes.

  10. says

    Hi Tibik, yes, a springform pan would work just fine. And black poppy seeds would be okay– only thing is they’d show up in the cake so I am not sure how aesthetically pleasing that would be. But flavor-wise they wouldn’t make much of a difference.
    A very happy birthday to your son!

  11. says

    I would have loved to try this recipe, but it doesn’t say how much fat or saturated fats, my husband must watch his cholesterol so I need this information. Helen

    • says

      Hi Helen, Some of my old recipes don’t have nutrition info but you can always plug the ingredients into the recipe analyzer at Calorie Count for nutrition information that’s fairly accurate. I went ahead and did this for this recipe and if you slice this cake into 20 pieces, each slice would be 259 calories and would have 14.8 grams of fat, approximately half of which would be saturated fat. Vegan products do not contain cholesterol.

    • says

      Don’t use oat flour by itself– it doesn’t have enough gluten to bind. You could mix in some with whole-wheat, or, if you want gluten-free, use a gluten-free cake flour mix.

  12. narf77 says

    My husband made me this cake for my birthday recently. He subbed out the lemon and added in orange and it was the best cake I have ever eaten (and I was a cook for a number of years). I loved it so much I took it to an omni dinner party (minus the poppy seeds) and it went down amazingly well and everyone wanted the recipe. I then took it to another level and turned it into a matcha, black sesame seed and rose scented drizzle cake that I blogged about. I linked to your recipe and hope that you don’t mind me sharing the amended recipe with my dear constant readers. I am now following your wonderful blog (in my RSS Feed Reader) after that chance search on Google for a “Vegan drizzle cake” by my wonderful husband. Your blog is amazing and I am SO glad that we found it :) I want to give this recipe 10 stars because it is amazing, light and fluffy, moist, completely delicious and eminently customisable. I have made it three times now and it was a glowing success every single time :)

    • says

      Hi Narf77, THank you for your very kind words. And your matcha rose drizzle cake sounds beyond sublime! I would love a slice of that! I am glad too that your husband found the blog and tried the lemon cake recipe. Wonderful to “meet” you. :)

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