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Butteryum food blog recipes

Lemon Poppy Seed Overload Cake

Patricia Reitz

I had 8 egg yolks left over from a recent baking project so I searched the internet for a recipe to use them and I came up with this rather unusual lemon poppy seed cake.  The recipe is adapted from 3-star Michelin Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner.  The high ratio of poppy seeds lends a pleasantly nutty flavor and somewhat crunchy pop in every bite which leaves you wanting more and more.  On the flip side, the original recipe called for only enough lemon zest to lightly perfume the cake so I bumped up the lemon flavor with the addition of pure lemon oil.  All in all, the cake is dense yet light, dry yet rich, crunchy yet tender, not too sweet yet satisfying.  Quirky, unique, and quite definitely, utterly spectacular.

Don't be alarmed when you read the list of ingredients - they are correct.  Be sure to cover the cake pan with foil as directed, and don't over bake the cake - remove it from the oven as soon as a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   If you like your cakes a little sweeter, feel free to add the optional glaze I've included below. One word of caution - the cake wants to stick to the pan badly and I have found Baker's Joy works perfectly to prevent that from happening. 

Beat egg, yolks, and sugar together until light and fluffy.

The mixture will look like this after 8 minutes.

Next the flour and cornstarch are sifted into the bowl.

Time to fold the sifted ingredients into the egg mixture.

Using a spatula, “cut” down through the middle…

Carefully sweep across the bottom of the bowl and up the side and over the top.

Repeat, turning the bowl 1/4 turn each time, until no trace of dry flour remains.

Now fold in the lemon oil, melted butter, and lemon zest.

Mmmm…. melted butter!

…. and lemon zest!

Lastly, sprinkle the poppy seeds over the batter, being careful not to deflate the batter.

Return the bowl to the stand mixer and let the whip distribute the poppy seeds.

Just look at all those seeds!!!

Use this magic stuff to coat the silicone pan - I promise, your cake will release perfectly!

Spray every nook. We don’t want any cake disasters!

Don’t be alarmed if the cake doesn’t fill the pan - it’s a short cake.

Cover the pan very well with nonstick foil (or foil that has been sprayed with oil).

The cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean and the cake starts to shrink away from the edges of the pan (note the cake doesn't rise much in the oven),

Wait 15 minutes before turning cake out of the pan.

This 7-inch wide, 2-inch tall cake is small in size, but BIG in flavor!


Items used to make this recipe:

Lemon Poppy Seed Overload Cake

makes 8 servings

Printable Recipe



  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 8 large egg yolks

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 2 tablespoon lemon zest (2-3 lemons)

  • 2 teaspoon pure lemon oil

  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds

optional lemon glaze:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

optional garnish:

  • confectioners sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325F.

  2. Prepare an 8-inch tube or bundt pan with Baker's Joy or other flour/oil baking spray (I used this silicone cake pan).

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg yolks, whole egg, and sugar at medium high speed for about 8 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and very fluffy.

  4. Remove the bowl and whisk attachment from the mixer (you'll need the whisk attachment again in a few minutes).

  5. Gently sift the flour and cornstarch over the egg mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold them in.

  6. Fold in the melted butter, pure lemon oil, and poppy seeds too.

  7. Return the bowl to the stand mixer and incorporate the poppy seeds.

  8. Pour batter into prepared pan.

  9. Cover pan tightly with non-stick foil (or buttered foil).

  10. Place cake pan on half sheet pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.

  11. Remove foil from pan and cool for 15 minutes before unmolding.

  12. Make glaze by heating the sugar and lemon juice together until the sugar dissolves (without allowing the mixture to boil); brush over top and sides of unmolded cake.

  13. Cool completely on a cooling rack.

  14. If desired, sprinkle with confectioners sugar after glaze dries. Wrap leftovers well in plastic wrap and serve within 3 days.

adapted from Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner