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Satisfying my sweet tooth the healthier way with this Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Citrus Honey Glaze. Extra light and moist, this cake is made with fresh Meyer lemons, Greek yogurt, and swirled with nutty poppy seeds. Lightly sweetened with a touch of honey, kept moist with heart-healthy extra-virgin olive oil, and finished generously with a sweet citrus honey glaze. You’d never guess this delicious cake is made on the healthier side…and gluten-free too. Every last crumb is SO GOOD. Enjoy for brunch, as an afternoon snack with a latte, or for dessert with ice cream on the side.

overhead photo of Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Citrus Honey Glaze

And just like that, we’ve made it to Friday! When I was a kid, Friday was my absolute favorite day of the week. Friday meant it was the last day of school and I had two full days of absolutely zero school ahead of me. It was always such a relief once Friday finally rolled around. Plus, I knew that after school there would be a very good chance I could convince my mom to bake something sweet with me, normally cookies.

I still look forward to Friday, but probably more because it’s been ingrained into me to just love this day. I don’t actually have a favorite day anymore, I usually wake up pretty excited and full of energy to tackle whatever is on my list that day…Monday through Sunday (though I still don’t love Sundays). But something about Friday holds so much excitement. It’s the end of the week (and this week was a great one!), things usually slow down for the next couple of days, and life chills out.

cake batter in mixing bowl before baking

And that right there is reason enough to celebrate…

Which is why I (mostly) reserve Fridays for something sweet. We took a quick break last week to share one of my go-to weekend breakfasts. But this week it’s back to something sweet. Enter this oh so pretty, and perfectly lemon, poppy seed cake. It’s healthy(ish), so easy to make, gluten free (if you need it to be), and most importantly?

Insanely delicious.

drizzling honey glaze over cake

The Inspiration.

I’ve talked about this before, but I find a lot of inspiration from the seasons and the produce that goes along with each season. The more time I spend developing recipes, the more I lean on the food itself for inspiration. Currently, winter citrus is my main focus. I can’t stop both cooking and baking with all the wonderful citrus that’s currently in the market.

I shared a savory salmon early this week, and today, it’s cake. And you guys? This cake is so good. I used Meyer lemons for incredible tang and sweetness. I also used vibrant blood oranges in the glaze to add a pop of color.

Citrus Honey Glaze in mixing bowl

Best (healthy) lemon poppy seed cake…details.

The cake batter is simple, easy, no fuss, and can even be made gluten free. I used olive oil and Greek yogurt to not only keep the cake light and moist but to add additional flavor. If you’re new to baking with olive oil don’t be scared. It’s actually such a nice oil to bake with and it’s really just an added bonus that it happens to be healthy. You might think you’d be able to taste the oil but you really can’t. It only leaves the cake with a moist texture and a faint fruity hint, which pairs perfectly with the citrus.

To keep the muffins sweet, I used manuka honey Some of you might argue that honey is sugar, and all sugar is the same. I’m looking past this, and instead focusing on the benefits manuka honey is said to have. Just trust me here, it works and it’s good. If you prefer not to splurge on fancy manuka honey feel free to use regular honey too.

overhead close up photo of Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Citrus Honey Glaze

Moving along…that citrus honey glaze.

While the cake is so good on its own (really, it is), the glaze seals the deal (literally) and makes this extra special.

The first step is the citrus. I used a Meyer lemon and a blood orange. You can use all lemons too, but I love the color the blood orange adds, so pretty.

I zested the fruits with a Y peeler, then thinly sliced the zest into very thin dainty strips. Set the strips aside for a minute and mix the citrus together with the honey. Some of the citrus honey is poured over the warm cake, which helps to really lock in the moisture. The remaining citrus honey is mixed with a little powdered sugar (only just a little) and all the citrus zest. Spoon this over the cake to finish.

And that’s it…simple, pretty, perfectly sweet, extra moist SO GOOD!

side angled photo of Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Citrus Honey Glaze with 1 piece of cake cut

Even though I’ve now made this cake more times than I can count, I’m still excited to make this again soon. Maybe even this weekend, as my fridge is still full of citrus. Or maybe I’ll wait a couple of weeks and make this for Valentine’s Day. The pretty pink colors scream February.

I’ve found this to be the perfect cake to enjoy as an afternoon snack or an after-dinner dessert. We love it on its own, paired with a dollop of cream, or even a scoop of ice cream. Either way, you really can’t go wrong.

And the best part? This is super easy to make. One bowl for the batter, one bowl for the glaze, nothing too fancy, and no crazy ingredients. All around the perfect extra wintry cake.

overhead photo of Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Citrus Honey Glaze and 2 pieces of cake cut

If you make this lemon poppy seed cake, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Citrus Honey Glaze.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 438 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Citrus Honey Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 Meyer or regular lemon
  • 1 blood orange
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, using more as needed

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, eggs, yogurt, vanilla, lemon zest, and juice, mix until smooth and creamy. Add the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined, being sure the batter is completely mixed. Stir in the poppy seeds.
    3. Pour the batter into the prepared bread pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    4. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Remove the zest from the remaining lemon and the blood orange with a vegetable peeler in wide strips. Then thinly slice the strips. Alternately, you can just zest the lemon and orange on a Microplane.  
    5. In a medium bowl, mix together the honey and about 1/4 cup lemon juice. Drizzle 1/2 the glaze over the warm cake. To the remaining glaze, add 1 tablespoon blood orange juice and the powdered sugar, whisk until smooth. Stir in 1/2 the lemon zest and 1/2 of the orange zest.  If needed, thin the glaze by adding additional citrus juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until drizzly. 
    6. Pour the glaze over the cake, letting it fall down the sides. Let set 5 minutes, slice and enjoy warm or at room temp.

Notes

Storing: this bread keeps well for 3-4 days at room temperature. 
To Freeze: Bake as directed, cool each loaf completely, then tightly wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze in a freezer bag or freezer safe container for up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or on the counter for a few hours. 
Gluten Free Sub: Use an equal amount of your favorite gluten free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour. I recommend Cup4Cup gluten free flour. Or use 1 cup coconut flour. Note I find best results using a GF flour all-purpose mix.
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horizontal photo of Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Citrus Honey Glaze with 2 pieces of cake cut

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Comments

  1. Looks great! Is there any way you’d be willing to use weights in your recipes? I find it is do much for more accurate and I have better success! Thanks for considering it!

    1. Hey Hilarie,
      You can always click on the “metric” measurements for this. I hope you love the recipe. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  2. 4 stars
    Hello!
    I just made this loaf and the flavors are incredible! However, the outer edges of my loaf are very golden brown and the middle of loaf is sunken. How do I fix this? I used Bob’s Redmill GF All-purpose flour and almond flour and Fage greek yogurt. I followed all of the measurements as well. Your help would be much appreciated! Thank you 🙂

    1. Hey Alexandra,
      Thanks so much for trying the recipe, so sorry your middle fell, unfortunately I think that is the result of the GF flour. xTieghan

    1. Hey Lea,
      I am thrilled that you enjoyed the recipe, thanks for making it! I hope you have an awesome weekend:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Teja,
      Yes that is totally fine to do! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    Oh also adding to my previous comment, I did add one little step that helped the look of the loaf! I saw this recently on another baker’s loaf video. Half-way through baking I pulled the load out and made a really shallow slit at the center (grazed it with the point of a knife) so that the loaf could split from the center like a pound cake. When I pulled it out of the oven after it finished baking, it was puffed up like a pound cake, but after a few minutes it did come back down, but I think the slit still adds a little bit of aesthetics to it!

  4. 5 stars
    YUM! Just finished baking this and trying a slice and this is a great recipe! I didn’t use all the glazing—a little more than half of it is left in my bowl as we speak and I’m thinking maybe I’ll save it to glaze something else (maybe a strawberry lemon cake!). I was left with more than half after the first step of the glaze, so I put some extra confectioners to thicken it up a bit more. I also don’t like my pastries and baked goods super sweet. The loaf was perfect on its own!
    I followed your recipe exactly and mixed the ingredients until they were just mixed, spooned both the flour into the cups, and the loaf came out nice and fluffy. I was weary at first because I saw a lot of the comments saying it was dense, but mine came out fine. Also I can definitely taste the Manuka honey, but I love honey so I’m fine with that. This is definitely going in my recipe binder!
    I’m wondering though, do you have a version of this that would be keto friendly? No honey & no flour? Could I replace the honey with monkfruit or swerve sweetener and what would be the equivalent amount? And could I use coconut flour instead of flour?

    1. Hey Soo,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I am so glad you enjoyed the cake! Unfortunately I have not tested this without honey or flour so I am unsure of what the results would be. I would recommend using gluten free flour. I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  5. hi!! first of all I have to say I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for weeks now! but something went wrong which really upset me 🙁 I followed your recipe, except the almond flour part, I used only whole wheat flour and I baked it for 38-40 minutes -toothpick came out clean. but I could tell something was wrong because in the oven it looked like it was puffing but then it just blew out. when I cut it I could see that it was really, really dense and wet inside like it needed more flour or less liquid something or more baking time I don’t know but my oven is busy with another thing so I couldn’t rebake it. I tried to eat it like this but it’s not enjoyable at all. now it’s been a couple of hours and I’m not even sure if I should rebake it or not. (by rebaking I mean 10-15 minutes at 300F, maybe foil covered) do you have any ideas on what could have gone wrong? or how can I fix it? thanks in advance!!

    1. Hi Irem,
      Thanks for trying the recipe, so sorry you had issues with your results. Unfortunately I would highly recommend using the almond flour. I think this was your overall issue. I hope this helps! xTieghan

  6. How come mine didn’t cook in the middle, cooked longer then recipe asks. Tasted delicious though !!!

  7. 5 stars
    Ok, though I made a bunch of substitutions and made muffins instead of a loaf, just want to say how much I like this recipe. It works very well even in spite of my substitutes (I use half farro flour, a bit less regular yogurt instead of greek, and I add a quarter cup collagen powder, just to give my toddler a little extra protein). These make the most delicate muffins, they almost feel undercooked, but they aren’t. My daughter loves them and they are a nice breakfast treat. I’ve also made them as almond flavored rather than lemon. I live in Kosovo where there’s no Meyer lemons, but I’ve been using lime or a mix of lime and lemon. Anyway, it’s a great recipe and easy to experiment with: nothing I can do seems to be able to mess it up. Thank you!

    1. I am so glad this recipe turned out so well for you, Sarah!! Thank you so much for trying this one! xTieghan

  8. I made your lemon poppyseed cake today and it was dry and lack of lemony flavor. I followed the recipe. I life in castle rock so I didn’t think I needed to change anything for higher elevation.
    Not sure what happened.
    I have made your chicken taquitos twice this week with the jalapeño pineapple salsa. Sooo delicious

    1. Hi Kelly! I am so glad you have been loving the chicken taquitos, but I apologize this cake did not turn out as expected! Did you change anything in the recipe? Or perhaps bake too long? I would love to help! xTieghan

  9. Looking forward to making this! One question, can the Greek yogurt be low-fat? Or is there a preference?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Sheris,
      That is totally fine to use low-fat. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  10. Hi! I would love to make this but have a dairy/cow milk allergy, any suggestions for subbing the Greek yogurt?

    1. Hi Steph! I could suggest using creamy coconut yogurt! Just make sure it is thick! I hope you love this recipe! xTieghan

    1. Hi Sana,
      Yes that will work! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  11. 4 stars
    Hi!! Thank you so much for this recipe! I made this with normal lemons and orange instead of the blood orange. I used regular honey. The flavor was delicious, but it didn’t come out as fluffy as it looks in your picture, more on the dense side. Also at the top it had a couple of cracks. I did mix it with a mixer. Could that have been the problem? Hope you can help me so I can perfect this recipe!!

    1. Hi Qiomy,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Yes the mixer could have done some over mixing, next time I would recommend just mixing by hand. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan