Individual Lemon & Poppy Seed Cakes

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This recipe is for some delicious lemon and poppy seed cakes. They are similar to muffins but much lighter in texture. A muffin pan is perfect to make these cakes.

Often lemon & poppy seed cake is in the form of a loaf cake. That is wonderful too. But these individual ones really hit the spot for me. To make the cakes I used a muffin pan. That meant the cakes were a perfect size for individual servings.

The recipe is very simple indeed. The method is slightly different to making muffins, and is more akin to making a pound cake batter. That delivers a soft and light texture to the cakes, rather than the denser texture of muffins.

You will notice that in the recipe I soaked my poppy seeds in boiling water to soften them. That was just my personal preference. As I mention in the video that soaking step can be omitted, simply using the dried poppy seeds instead.

Many recipes flavour with just the zest of lemons and the brush lots of lemon syrup over the top of the cakes. But, for me, that makes the individual cakes rather too wet and delicate. Instead of that I incorporated some juice into the batter to give a stronger flavour and just brushed a smaller amount of syrup over the top of the cakes. That worked very well indeed, giving me super soft and flavoursome cakes without being too moist.

Although I used a stand mixer to make my batter the process is simple enough to do everything by hand too.

My Bake

I baked my cakes for 20 minutes. They rose well and coloured on the top. I left the cakes in the muffin pan and brushed a little syrup on the top of each. Then after a further 15 minutes I gently transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once they had cooled I simply peeled the muffin case from the cakes and enjoyed the cake. The lemon flavour was just perfect, with an extra hit when my tongue encountered the slightly sticky top. Although I didn’t particularly taste poppy seed, which has a nutty flavour, their presence certainly enhanced the look. The texture of the cake was perfect too, so light and soft.

The cakes will store well in an airtight container for a few days, getting stickier on top too, if they last that long.

Individual Lemon & Poppy Seed Cakes

Another very easy recipe is Easy Banana Streusel Muffins.

Individual Lemon & Poppy Seed Cakes

Recipe by geoffcooCourse: Cakes, MuffinsDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Cakes
  • 260g(1 2/3 cups + 1 tbsp, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour

  • 200g(1 cup) caster sugar

  • 113g(1 stick) soft unsalted butter

  • 2 medium eggs(large in USA)

  • 225ml(1 cup minus 1 tbsp) buttermilk(or sour cream, natural yoghurt)

  • 15ml(1 tbps) lemon juice

  • grated zest from one large lemon

  • 4g(1 tsp) baking powder

  • 2g(1/2 tsp) baking soda

  • 1.5g(1/4 tsp) salt

  • 5ml(1 tsp) vanilla extract

  • 15g(1 1/2 tbsp) poppy seeds, either left dry or soaked in boiling water, as preferred

  • Glaze
  • 25g(2 tbsp) lemon juice

  • 22ml(1 1/2 tbsp) lemon juice


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
  • Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  • Put the lemon zest into the sugar and rub it between your fingers for about 30 seconds to release some of the lemon oils.
  • If the poppy seeds are soaking drain off the water and set the seeds aside.
  • Place the sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer( you can do it all by hand if you wish).
  • Cream them together until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until well combined, adding in the vanilla extract as well.
  • Scrap down the bowl, if necessary to ensure everything is well mixed.
  • Add the poppy seeds and the buttermilk and beat again until fully combined.
  • Pour in the lemon juice and mix again.
  • Put the baking powder, baking soda and salt into the flour and stir to mix them through.
  • Pour the flour into the wet mixture and beat on a low speed until just about combined.
  • Use a spatula to finish mixing to ensure all the flour is incorporated.
  • Divide the batter equally into the 12 paper cases.
  • Bake the cakes for 20 minutes, until they have risen well and they have coloured slightly on the top.
  • As the cakes bake place the sugar and lemon juice for the glaze into a saucepan and bring to the boil for a few seconds. Then remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and brush a little syrup over the top of each one.
  • Allow the cakes to sit in the muffin pan for 15 minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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