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Cake & Cheesecake | August 21, 2018

Simple Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake

*This post has been updated, originally posted in 2010*

Simple Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake has been in my recipe files for years. Too many to count. I’ve been married 36 years now, and I’ve been making it most of those years! Before you judge me for using a box mix (haha) read the rest of this post! I’ve never steered you wrong yet, have I?

Simple Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake

Boxed Cake Mix

Remember when we had that talk about using box mixes? And I told you I only have a few recipes I love, where I use a box and like the result? This is one. Actually, there are 3 or 4  total.  I always think to myself – I’m sure everyone already has this recipe… so for a long time, I didn’t post the doctored up box mixes!  But I decided I need to share this recipe with you because it’s THAT good! And everyone loves a good easy recipe that turns out fantastic each time, right? Right.

Simple Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake


Simple Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake

I ran into my friend Marge the other day (don’t you love that name?) at the paint store. Yes, I was buying paint. Not a happy place for me. Let’s just say sewing is not my only challenge. Anyway, she asked me if I had a good lemon poppy seed recipe, and asked if I would post it ASAP. That’s what friends are for!
Simple Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake is just what the name says, so simple. It’s also really moist and almost fail proof. Sounds perfect, right? Spring and summer is the ideal season for this poppy seed cake but you can make it anytime of the year.  The original recipe which I believe came out of a newspaper years ago, came with a boring icing, but adding fresh lemon juice and lots of zest makes this special. You will fall in love with this  lemon flavor and delicious moist cake! You won’t be able to each just one slice. Slice it up and deliver it to a friend to brighten their day.

Simple Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake
Fresh Lemon Icing

Simple Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake

The icing on this Simple Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake takes this dessert to the next level. The cake would be totally fine on it’s own, but what’s better than cake topped with a tart and smooth icing? I love that this icing has fresh lemon juice and zest in it. It pairs perfectly with the almond flavor of the cake. The fresh lemon juice in the icing is just the right amount.

You’ll  just need a little butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest, and a tiny bit of salt to bring this icing  together. Easy as that. If the icing is too thick for you, just add a tiny bit of milk to thin it out. Spread it over the cake and then enjoy a slice all to yourself. Mmmmm! The platter below is Simple Lemon Almond Poppyseed Cake and Foolproof Chocolate Bundt Cake with Fudge Frosting;  another cake made with a mix . It’s a super easy and delicious cakes well.  I often make the two cakes at the same time, then frost, slice and serve side by side on a platter! This one’s for you Marge!

Here are a couple other cake mix recipes you will love! Nan’s Coconut Cake and Funfetti Birthday Cake.

Simple Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake

5 from 5 votes

Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake with Fresh Lemon Icing


  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons almond extract
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 package lemon cake mix I like Duncan Hines
  • 1 small 3.4 oz instant vanilla pudding

Icing Ingredients:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Juice from 1-2 lemons about 1/4 cup juice
  • zest from lemons
  • dash salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Generously grease and flour a bundt pan. 
  3. Mix all wet cake ingredients together with mixer until blended .
  4. Add dry ingredients, including poppy seeds, mix until all ingredients are blended well, about 1-2  minutes. 
  5. Pour into prepared pan.
  6. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. 
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, before inverting onto serving platter.
  8. Prepare icing, and frost cake when cake is completely cooled.
  9. Serve with fresh berries if desired. You may also leave the icing off and dust with powdered sugar before serving. Icing:
  10. Melt butter, add to powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest, and salt in bowl.
  11. Whisk or beat until smooth.
  12. Thin with a little milk, water or lemon juice if too thick.

Recipe Notes

I use 1-2 lemons depending on the amount of juice extracted and the size of the lemon. You will need about 1/4 cup lemon juice to make the icing spreadable. If using one lemon, only take the zest from one lemon as well. If you want to thin the icing a bit, you may use a little milk.




31 thoughts on “Simple Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake

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Recipe Rating

  1. This is the exact recipe for Poppy-seed Cake my mom always makes. It turns out so moist and delicious every time. We never put icing on it as we like it just as well without!

  2. Melanie and I made this today. We loved the cake, but have a question about the frosting. We only used one lemon and it was too sugary, would the juice of two lemons have made the difference? Also, it didn't cover the whole cake? Oh well. We still ate two pieces each… Thanks for the recipe. Definitely a keeper!

  3. You know how I like the lemon! This is one of the few times when you tell me the recipe is simple and then it ACTUALLY IS.

    I may even try it. I'm not so sure about purchasing poppy seeds, though. I'm scared. Yeah, I don't know why, just am.

    My grandma's name is Marge. Yes, it's a great name.

  4. Amazing what recipes bring so many comments!
    Tiffany and Mel, I'm not sure why you didn't have enough frosting for the whole cake? Last time I made this, I used the juice from two lemons, but other times I have just used juice from one…I always thin it a bit with milk, if I need to as well (I'll add this adjustment) . It's not a thick layer of icing, as you can see. You should have had more than enough to frost the top. hmmm. Maybe too many tastings before frosting?? 🙂

  5. I cannot wait to try this. Lemon poppy seed is my sons favorite flavor, and the addition of almond will add a nice light flavor-thank you!


  6. I saw this recipe and made it yesterday…. Everyone loved it. Thank you so much. It was a great cake! I am not a huge lemon person, so next time I think I'll just use a vanilla icing, but the cake is just divine!!!! So springy and refreshing especially with the berries!

  7. Si!!

    My sister Sarah told me about your blog, it is so darling. Thank you for sharing your talent with us. I am so excited to cook your food. Thank you thank you!! I have missed seeing you since I moved!

    Jenny Rigby Peterson

  8. I am always skeptical of any recipe with a boxed cake as well, but like you I have a few that I love. This sounds great and it's "doctored up" nicely. I think I am going to have to give it a try! Great blog- I just joined Utah Hive and found you.

  9. Si, I made this yesterday for our Easter dessert-everyone LOVED it!
    I was surprised there was so much almond extract in it, but I guess that's one of the things that made it SO good!


    Saw this when you posted it and instantly wanted to make it.. but like someone up there, I guess the thought of buying poppyseeds intimidated me. I finally made this tonight at my sister's and it was *divine* Some of their relatives from out of state were staying over and they said it was amazing and just fantastic."The best cake I've ever had" I agree. I'll post all about it tomorrow on my blog. Of course I took pics;) Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Made this last week. Perfect recipe! Has stayed moist for a week. I would make no changes except that I would go easier on the lemon juice in my icing next time since my icing was thin but I didn't want to add anymore sugar. Still tasted incredible!

  12. I made this for my son’s 5th birthday, his request, and it turned out wonderful. The cake seemed a little dense at first but after we cut into it we discovered a light, fluffy and perfectly lemony flavored cake. It was a hit foe the whole family, even our 1 year old. Thank you ABK for sharing your wonderful recipes.

    1. Candace,
      So glad you loved the cake! This has been a favorite of ours for years as well! Happy baking and thanks for reading ABK!

  13. 5 stars
    Made this tonight for our ward picnic. It was inhaled! Great recipe. I only had less than a tablespoon of almond extract left but it was still almond-y enough! Thank you!! Love having back-pocket recipes like this winner!

    1. You’re very welcome Karen, this is such a great recipe to make for big crowds. I hardly ever have leftovers! Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK,

  14. I have a question about the recipe. In the ingredients it says 1 small 3.4 oz instant vanilla _ pudding icing ingredients. this puddingicing ingredients, is this part of the icing or part of the cake. Not sure.

    1. Hi Margaret, thank you for pointing that out, I will fix it on the recipe. The vanilla pudding mix is a part of the cake.

  15. 5 stars
    Made this for a birthday and it was a complete hit! There was not a crumb left which meant everyone loved it just as much as I did! It was easy, beautiful, and delicious! Can’t wait for a reason to use this recipe again! Thanks for sharing!

  16. This cake looks so good! I just have one question, would it convert well to be baked in a normal round 6 or 8 inch cake? I thinking of using it as a wedding cake, top layer. What do you think Si?

  17. It’s so easy and yummy! My daughter requested I make this for her baptism coming up next month 🤍🍋

  18. 5 stars
    I was on the search for a great recipe and was sooooooo craving this pregnant, now I’m seeing the picture and my mouth is watering again. It’s so good and so easy, thank you!

  19. 5 stars
    I love how this is so easy to make and with a fresh taste of lemon. It’s a quick go to for me when I have to bring dessert, especially during spring and summer!