If you’ve ever walked into a deli in New York City, you’ve seen slices of lemon poppy seed pound cake tempting you from a basket sitting right next to the register. It’s an “impulse” buy that’s almost impossible to resist. We’ve even used slices of this cake to make a fabulous French toast.

Ingredients (8 to 10)


  • Cooking Spray
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (spooned into cup and leveled off)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs


  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

Additional Information

  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 1hr


To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with the cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper. Coat the paper with cooking spray.

In a small skillet, toast the poppy seeds over low heat for 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the butter and heat until melted. Stir in the lemon zest. Let cool to room temperature. Whisk in the yogurt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a bowl, with an electric mixture, beat the sugar and eggs until light in color. Alternately beat in the flour mixture and the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for one hour, or until the cake starts to pull away from the side of the pan and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with some moist crumbs attached.

To make the syrup:

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the lemon juice and sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Run a metal spatula around the sides of the warm cake and invert it onto a wire rack. Pull off the parchment or waxed paper. Place it right side up onto a cake platter. Using a fork or paring knife, poke several holes in the top. Spoon half the syrup over the cake. Let stand until the syrup has been absorbed, then spoon on the remaining syrup. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.

Tip: If you can get your hands on black sesame seeds, give them a try here. You can use half poppy seeds or half black sesame seeds, or you can use all black sesame seeds, which will give the cake a middle eastern flavor.

This recipe can be found in our Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook.

by Josh and Brent

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