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Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf (strong lemon flavor)

This Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf boasts a vivid, intense lemon flavor paired with a moist and tender crumb, all topped with a simple two-ingredient lemon drizzle icing. Easy to prepare, this delightful loaf bakes to perfection in just 40 minutes, making it an ideal treat for any occasion!

The loaf iced, sliced, and ready to serve and enjoy.

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Recipe

This lemon poppy seed loaf promises you a strong lemon flavor thanks to the generous amount of grated lemon zest and the freshly squeezed lemon juice, just like my Easy Lemon Syrup Cake

The texture of this easy lemon poppy seed loaf is a nice cross between a moist and tender loaf and soft sweet bread.

You’ll find citrus and poppy seeds combined in my orange and poppy seed cake which is just as potent in flavor with a tender crumb as this lemon loaf is.

The addition of the three eggs, creamed butter, and Greek yogurt provide this poppy seed lemon loaf with a moist yet delicate crumb that stays fresh for days. 

It’s made without sour cream or buttermilk, making this lemon poppy seed loaf easy to make with ingredients you’re most likely to have in your home already. 

The crumb with the poppy seeds and lemon zest bursting out.

How to get a strong lemon flavor?

To achieve a strong lemon flavor in baking, increase the amount of lemon zest used. You can also add a few drops of lemon extract but through testing, I find adding more tablespoons of lemon zest the best way to get a strong lemon flavor.

What does lemon poppyseed cake taste like?

Lemon poppyseed cake offers a refreshing citrus flavor complemented by a subtle nutty texture from the poppy seeds, making it a light and slightly tangy treat.

Ingredients to make lemon poppy seed loaf

The individual ingredients laid out to show what is needed to make this recipe.

Can I substitute the poppy seeds?

Try swapping the poppy seeds with chia seeds as a substitute. If you do use chia seeds, pour the batter into the baking pan and bake immediately. If you leave the batter with the chia seeds sitting for too long, the chia seeds will soak up the batter and swell, which will change the texture of the loaf, not in a good way. 

How to make lemon poppy seed loaf?

1) In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poppy seeds, and lemon zest. Set aside, this allows time for the lemon zest to infuse into the flour. 

Whisking together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

2) In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes. 

In a separate mixing bowl, beating together the butter and sugar.

3) Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition for 15 seconds. 

Beating in the eggs one at a time.

4) Beat through the milk, yogurt, lemon juice, and vanilla. 

Beat through the milk, yogurt, lemon juice, and vanilla. 

5) Add the dry flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, ensuring not to over-beat. 

Add the dry flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, ensuring not to over-beat. 

6) Pour into the lined pan and bake for 40-43 minutes. Remove then cool completely. 

6) Pour into the lined pan and bake for 40-43 minutes. Remove then cool completely. 

7) Sift the icing sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk through the lemon juice until smooth and thick. 

Whisking together the icing ingredients.

8) Drizzle and spread the icing over the cooled loaf. Serve and enjoy! 

The icing drizzling over the sides of the loaf as it begins to set.

Expert Tips

  • Ensure your refrigerated ingredients come to room temperature before starting to make your loaf. This helps all of the ingredients to blend seamlessly in your batter, preventing an over-mixed batter. 
  • Use fresh and ripe lemons for your zest and juice. I use and recommend Meyer Lemons as they’re more fragrant and sweeter than other lemons. This will promise you the best and brightest lemon flavor. 
  • This recipe has not been tested without eggs or using an egg replacement. 

How to zest a lemon without a zester?

If you don’t have a zester, use the fine side of a grater or peel thin strips of the lemon skin with a vegetable peeler and finely chop them.

Do you need to soak poppy seeds before baking?

Soaking poppy seeds before baking can enhance their texture and flavor, especially in baked goods like muffins and cakes. Soak them in hot water or milk for up to two hours before use. Although it is not always necessary and you do not need to soak the poppy seeds in this loaf recipe.

Taking bites out of one slice.

How to store lemon poppy seed loaf?

Store in an airtight container, at room temperature for 3-4 days. Refrigerate to stay fresh after a few days if needed or if the icing begins to soften and melt.

Freeze whole lemon poppy seed loaf, not sliced and without the icing, by wrapping it tightly in cling film or foil or by placing it in a freezer-friendly container. Freeze for up to 3 months. 

Freeze individual slices by wrapping each slice (with or without the icing) in cling film or foil, or inside freezer-friendly zip lock bags. Or place them in a freezer-friendly container, separating any layers with a sheet of parchment paper. Freeze for up to 3 months. 

Thaw the whole loaf or slices by leaving it/them at room temperature until defrosted and soft, typically overnight or for 24 hours. Once completely thawed, make and spread over the lemon icing. 

A bite taken out of one slice.

💬 Recipe FAQ’s

Can I make this into mini loaves?

I encourage you to give it a go, although this lemon poppy seed loaf has not been tested in mini loaves, try pouring the batter into a mini loaf pan and reduce the baking time to 15-20 or until a toothpick is inserted into the middle comes out clean. Be sure not to over-bake them as they will become dry. 

Can I make this into muffins? 

Sure thing! I encourage you to give it a go, I have not tested muffins myself but try pouring the batter into a muffin pan lined with muffin cases. Reduce the baking time to 15-20 or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Be sure not to over-bake them as they will become dry. 

Can I make this lemon poppy seed loaf into a round 8” round pan or a bundt cake? 

I would recommend trying to bake this lemon poppy seed loaf in an 8-inch round cake pan or a standard 10-inch bundt pan. Watch the baking time for both as the cakes can take less or more time to bake. Start with baking them for 25-30 minutes then keep checking in 5-10 minute intervals until baked. 

Can I substitute the poppy seeds with chia seeds?

Why not? If you choose to use chia seeds, pour the batter into the baking pan straight away and bake it immediately to avoid the chia seeds from swelling in the batter, which will cause problems with the texture of the finished loaf. 

Can I make this loaf ahead of time and freeze it?

Yes, make your lemon poppy seed loaf ahead of time, freeze the whole loaf, not sliced and without the icing, by wrapping it tightly in cling film or foil or by placing it in a freezer-friendly container. Freeze for up to 3 months. 

If you enjoy this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️ star rating and a comment review below. I love to hear what you think and it’s much appreciated. Thank you! Your email address will not be published. Sam x

Slices of the loaf on a serving platter and decorated with fresh lemon slices.

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf (strong lemon flavor)

Samantha Pickthall
This Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf has a bright and potent lemon flavor with a moist and tender crumb. Glazed with a 2 ingredient lemon icing. Bakes in 40 minutes!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Bread, Loaf Cake
Servings 10 people
Calories 296 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Loaf

  • 2 cups (300g) plain all purpose flour, scoop & leveled
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt, or Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 3 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest, from one-two medium-large lemons, take the zest from the lemon you’ll be using for the icing
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup golden or white granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature (each weighing approx. 55g in shell)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plain unsweetened greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one medium-large lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon Icing

  • 3/4 cup (115g) icing/confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one medium-large lemon

Instructions
 

Loaf

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºC). Line a 9-inch x 5-inch (23cm x 13cm) rectangle loaf baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside. NOTE: Alternatively, if you have a quality non-stick pan, liberally grease it with melted butter and dust it with a light layer of flour. This will leave your finished loaf with smooth edges.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poppy seeds, and lemon zest. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, using either electric hand beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attached, add softened butter to the bowl.
  • Beat butter for a few seconds until creamy and broken up (this makes it easier when the sugar is added so it won’t fly out of your bowl with the beater running).
  • Add sugar and beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition for 15 seconds. Scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Pour in milk, yogurt, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat for 20 seconds until well combined. Scrape down the sides again.
  • Add half of the dry flour mixture and beat for a few seconds until just combined. Scrape down the sides.
  • Add the remaining flour and beat until just incorporated, ensuring not to over-beat, just until the pockets and streaks of flour have mixed through. TIP: If some excess flour is still visible around the sides of the bowl, gently fold it in with a spatula. If you over-mix, the loaf can turn tough and dense.
  • Pour into the lined pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 40-43 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the top is set and no longer wobbly.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon Icing

  • In a small-medium size mixing bowl, sift in the icing sugar.
  • Pour in the lemon juice and whisk until well combined, smooth, and thick.
  • Once the loaf has cooled, drizzle and spread over the icing. It can drizzle down the sides so be sure to have your loaf on a tray to catch the drippings.
  • Allow the icing to set before serving.
  • Slice and serve with fresh lemon slices if on display or enjoy without.
  • Store in an airtight container, at room temperature for 3-4 days. Refrigerate to stay fresh after a few days if needed or if the icing begins to soften and melt.

Video

Notes

  • Store: Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. Refrigerate if the icing softens.
 
 
  • Freeze: Wrap the whole un-iced loaf or individual slices in cling film or foil, or place in a freezer-safe container. Use parchment between layers if stacking slices. Freeze for up to 3 months.
 
 
  • Thaw: Leave at room temperature until soft, typically overnight. For loaves, apply icing after thawing.

Nutrition

Calories: 296kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 6gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 237mgPotassium: 228mgFiber: 1gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 344IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 120mgIron: 2mg
Keyword lemon, loaf, poppy seeds
Tried this recipe? Let us know how it was!

If you enjoy this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️ star rating and a comment review below. I love to hear what you think and it’s much appreciated. Thank you! Your email address will not be published. Sam x

2 Comments

  1. I have made this and it is so delicious. I wanted to know if I could make this recipe into mini muffins for a brunch I have coming up. Just not sure long to bake them for.

    1. Hi Amanda! Thanks so much, glad you’re enjoying this lemon bread, it’s one of my favourites! Yes you can definitely try converting this loaf into mini muffins. I would recommend to increase the oven temperature to 190ºC (375ºF) and reduce the baking time to 10-20 minutes, because they’re mini and much smaller than regular sized muffins. Keep an eye on them though and test them with a toothpick until it comes out clean and they’re golden on top. If they need longer in the oven, check them every 5 minutes then every 2 minutes when they’re nearly done. Hope that helps and please reach out if you have any more questions. Enjoy! Sam

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