Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

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5 from 18 votes

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This incredibly moist and easy lemon poppy seed loaf is bursting with freshly squeezed lemon flavor and topped with a simple lemon glaze.

A sliced lemon poppy seed loaf on a wooden cutting board.

Welcome to #LemonWeek 2022 hosted by Rebecca from Devour Dinner and me! This week is sponsored by Rodelle and La Tourangelle. I may have received product samples from these sponsors to help in the creation of my recipes. All opinions are my own. Come join me and my fellow Lemon Week bloggers as we bring you recipes from appetizers to drinks to entrées and desserts!

I am so excited to be kicking off Lemon Week 2022 today, and I’m even more excited for you to discover 50+ ways to use lemon in baking, cooking, and beveraging. I’ve been wanting to share a lemon poppy seed loaf recipe for a long time, and this occasion seemed the best time to debut it.

This loaf goes by many names, including lemon poppy seed pound cake and also lemon poppy seed cake, but know that really, today, all of these things = lemons and poppy seeds and a loaf pan and a scrumptious glaze and you can slice and devour faster than you can bake it.

You’re in for a good time, I assure you.

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A front view of a loaf of lemon poppy seed bread on a cutting board, topped with glaze.

Make This Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Recipe With Pantry Staples

One of the things that I love the most about baking is that you’re able to create so many different flavors and textures from basically the same set of ingredients.

This means you can stock your pantry and fridge with those basic staples, and have what you have on hand to make a delicious batch of muffins, cookies, or even a basic cake at a moments notice.

This lemon poppy seed bread is really no different, making use of those same pantry basics that show up time and time again. In fact, other than some fresh lemons (and maybe the poppy seeds if you don’t use them often), you probably have everything you need on hand already!

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Ingredients

To make the lemon poppy seed loaf, you’ll need the standards like flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, butter, eggs, cream (or milk) and vanilla.

You’ll also need some fresh lemons, for both the juice and the zest. I like to zest my lemons first, and then juice them. This makes the zesting part a tad bit easier, since your lemon is round and easy to hold versus lumpy, wet, and slippery.

A lemon poppy seed bread, covered with a lemon glaze.

LEMON GLAZE

For the lemon glaze, you’ll need just three simple ingredients: powdered sugar, lemon juice, and milk (or cream).

See what I’m talking about? All pretty basic stuff here! And this glaze works for all kinds of applications. You can add it to lemon poppy seed muffins, strawberry lemonade quick bread, lemon poppy seed biscotti, or even a simple vanilla cake for a touch of lemon-y goodness!

HOW TO MAKE LEMON POPPY SEED LOAF

One of my favorite things about baking loaves such as this one, is how simple the process is. It’s just a matter of mixing up the batter, pouring it into a loaf pan, baking, and then topping with a delicious glaze or frosting.

Baking quick breads is (as the name implies) quick and simple. You still get all the satisfaction from a more complicated bake, but way less work, and way fewer dishes to wash. Anyone can get behind that, right?

A lemon poppy seed loaf, sliced and topped with a lemon glaze.

Before we get started, make sure to prepare your loaf pan by spraying it with some cooking spray. I recommend you use a 9″ x 4″ loaf pan, as that is the standard size and will produce the most reliable results.

Oh, and don’t forget to preheat your oven to 350°F (170ºC)! It’s essential to always add your baked goodies to a preheated oven unless the recipe specifically asks you not to.

Not only does this help provide consistency with baking times, but it also is important to help any leaveners (like yeast, baking soda, and baking powder) react properly. Bet ya didn’t know that!

MAKE THE BREAD

To get started on this lemon poppy seed loaf cake, you’re going to add all of your dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds) in a small bowl.

Give them a good whisk and set it aside.

Then, measure your cream into a small bowl, or (preferably) a liquid measuring cup with a pour spout. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and give it a stir.

The lemon juice will do its thing with the cream and thicken it up, which is totally what we’re going for here. Just set it to the side and get started mixing up the batter.

Several slices of lemon poppy seed bread fanned on top of a cutting board.

Add your butter, sugar, and lemon zest to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, OR a medium size bowl with a handheld mixer.

Beat the butter and sugar mixture until super light and fluffy. This generally takes about 3 minutes, and you’ll probably want to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice during the process.

Add your eggs to the butter and sugar mixture, one at a time, beating the mixture after each addition. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, since we want everything to incorporate well.

Turn your mixer down to low, and add the flour mixture very slowly. Allow the mixer to run, mixing until the batter is mostly combined.

While there are still small bits of flour in the batter, add the cream mixture to the bowl. Mix on low, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the batter just comes together. This means the flour has been worked in, but only just barely. It’s crucial we don’t overwork the batter!

Pour all of that bright and citrus-y smelling batter (can you tell I had to fight the urge to eat it?) into your prepared loaf pan and spread it out evenly with your spatula or the back of a spoon. Then, give it a bang on the counter to release any air bubbles.

A loaf pan, filled with lemon poppy seed batter.

BAKE THE LOAF

Add your loaf pan to the preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

A fully baked lemon poppy seed loaf in a loaf pan.

If your loaf is browning a little more quickly than you would like, you can totally tent some foil over the pan for the last 15-20 minutes of baking.

Since this lemon poppy seed loaf is light colored, it tends to show more browning than darker loaves like banana bread, so if you want to keep the color light, adding a little foil at the end is a great trick and it works for all kinds of baked goodies.

Once your loaf has baked through, remove it from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack. Let it cool completely on the cooling rack before adding the glaze.

A lemon poppy seed loaf cooling in a loaf pan.

You can definitely leave your loaf in the pan during the glazing process, but if you want to remove it first, just run a butter knife around the edges of the pan after it has completely cooled. Place your hand on the top of the loaf pan and flip it upside down. The loaf should release into your hands, but if it doesn’t you can give it a few gentle taps and it should come right out.

MAKE THE GLAZE

Once your loaf has cooled down completely, you’re ready to make the delicious lemon glaze.

This lemon glaze is semi-translucent, meaning it doesn’t form a solid white layer of glaze on top, but it’s not really thin and syrupy either. It’s somewhere right in the middle, and totally perfect for this lemon poppy seed loaf.

All you have to do to make the glaze is to add the powdered sugar, milk (or cream) and lemon zest in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup with a spout.

Whisking together the ingredients for a lemon glaze.

Then, whisk everything together until smooth. Add a little more (and I mean little) milk or cream if your glaze is too thick, but keep in mind that you want your glaze to settle on the top of the loaf, so you don’t want it too thin either.

ADD THE GLAZE

Remove the cooled loaf from the pan, and set it on the wire rack or on a serving platter. Spoon the glaze evenly over the top of the loaf, smoothing it gently with the back of the spoon to get it in an even layer.

Adding the glaze to a loaf of lemon poppy seed bread.

Allow the glaze to set up, and then you’re ready to slice and serve!

Slices of lemon poppy seed loaf, topped with a lemon glaze.

Storing Lemon Poppy Bread

Store your lemon loaf for up to 3 days at room temperature. Just make sure you wrap it tightly or store it in an airtight container.

If you want longer storage, you can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months! If you freeze your loaf, just thaw it at room temperature for several hours before slicing and serving.

Now that you’ve made this bright, citrusy, and fresh lemon poppy seed loaf, you’re ready to try a few more of my favorites. If you’re looking for something sweet, I recommend my strawberry lemonade quick bread, chocolate chip peanut butter bread, OR this chocolate chip zucchini bread.

If you’re wanting something on the savory side, I highly recommend my herbed tomato quick bread. It’s perfect for serving with soups, or just as a quick and delicious savory snack.

Monday #LemonWeek Recipes

A sliced lemon poppy seed loaf on a wooden cutting board.
5 from 18 votes
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Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Recipe

This incredibly moist and easy lemon poppy seed loaf is bursting with freshly squeezed lemon flavor and topped with a simple lemon glaze.
Prep Time15 minutes
Bake Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

LEMON POPPY SEED LOAF

  • 1 and ½ cups + 2 Tablespoons (195g) all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • ½ cup whole milk or cream room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (30mL) fresh lemon juice about 1 small lemon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest about 4 small lemons
  • 3 large eggs room temperature

LEMON GLAZE

  • ½ cup (60g) powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons (15-30mL) whole milk or cream
  • ½ Tablespoon lemon zest about 1 small lemon

Instructions

LEMON POPPY SEED LOAF

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177ºC). Spray a 9" x 4" loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds. Set aside.
  • Measure the cream into a small bowl or measuring cup with a spout, then add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and stir to combine. It will thicken up. This is ok. Set aside.
  • In a medium size bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture again after each addition, and scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Turn the mixer speed down to low, then slowly add the flour mixture. Continue mixing until the batter is mostly combined, then add the cream mixture. Continue mixing on low, scraping down the sides as needed, until batter has just come together.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. If loaf is browning too quickly for your liking, you can tent the pan with foil for the last 15-20 minutes of baking.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before adding the glaze.

LEMON GLAZE

  • In a small bowl or a measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk or cream, and lemon zest.
  • Remove loaf from the pan before spooning or pouring the glaze evenly over the top of the loaf. Lemon poppy seed loaf stays fresh covered tightly at room temperature up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Loaf freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!

Nutrition Disclosure

All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 362kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 181mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 379IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg

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36 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The perfect loaf, bright, full of flavor and those lovely poppy seeds! And of course that luscious lemon glaze to me makes the bread!

  2. 5 stars
    This loaf is constantly asked to be made in my house…I totally love that you added both lemon juice and zest in the bread.

  3. 5 stars
    Lemon and poppy seed is such a classic combination, fantastic! This loaf looks so moist, yum!

  4. 5 stars
    Quick bread recipes are my FAVORITE. So easy to make. Can’t wait to try your Lemon Poppyseed recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    EEK! I love your recipes they are always so perfect. I know this recipe will be great. I’m going to give this a try this week. YUM!

  6. 5 stars
    This is my kind of breakfast or dessert! Love how moist and flavorful this loaf is and I love all the lemon!!

  7. 5 stars
    Your bread looks amazing and the glaze is the perfect topping. Your pictures make me want to grab a piece through the computer screen!

  8. 5 stars
    This has been one of my favorite kinds of quick breads for decades. I love that it freezes very well too.

  9. 5 stars
    Just cut into this beautiful loaf. It is lovely! Tender, moist – and that glaze…I mean, c’mon!