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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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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- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 3/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Meyer (or regular) lemon zest and 1/4 cup juice
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour (for GF see note)
- 1 cup almond flour/meal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Citrus Honey Glaze
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 Meyer or regular lemon
- 1 blood orange
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar, using more as needed
- 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.
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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.