Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

It’s time to change the rule and make cake acceptable for breakfast. At least for this lemon poppy seed yogurt cake. Since there’s yogurt in the cake, it’s basically the same thing, right?

Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

While cake for breakfast sounds like a good idea, most of the time it is too sweet and not a good idea. This lemon poppy seed yogurt cake thought turns that idea on its head. The cake is kind of like muffin, but also just like a loaf cake. It’s very moist, refreshing, and a great mix of sweet and tart. It easily could be eaten with brunch or as a late-night snack. Since it’s so light and made with honey and yogurt, it’s basically an acceptable breakfast cake, right? Either way, it’s pretty good.

So, what’s in this cake? This cake base is pretty typical, but it gets a few fun additions through the oil, brown sugar, yogurt, citrus, and honey. The combination of those ingredients helps keep everything light, gives the cake a solid crumb, and keeps everything very moist. The brown sugar and honey give the cake a good sweetness and flavoring, but don’t make it overly sweet. The yogurt also keeps the cake creamy but doesn’t weigh it down, so it’s still airy and light. It’s pretty much got everything you could want in a cake.

Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake Recipe

Lemon poppy seed is a classic flavor combination and one of my favorite. I always forget about it and definitely don’t make it enough. However, if you aren’t a big fan, this cake could easily be made with other citrus flavors like grapefruit, blood oranges in the winter, or sweet oranges. The base of the cake is pretty versatile and will sway to whatever zest and juice combo you put it.

Quick zesting tip! When using citrus in a cake that requires zest too, always zest the fruit first before juicing it. It seems like it would be such a novel concept, but many times I have done it in the opposite order. While it is really not the end of the world, zesting a dull fruit is just a waiting game when it comes to cutting your fingers. You’ll remember quickly if you do it in the wrong order, especially if lemons are around to make the cuts even worse.

Whipped Cream Topping For Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

Without the whipped cream topping, the cake would still be pretty good, but it truly brings the whole cake together. If you have lemon extract, you could throw some into the whipped cream, but don’t use lemon juice when making fresh whipped cream! I’ve learned that the hard way, trying to keep everything natural, and quickly remembered that lemon and dairy are not the best of friends. It causes the cream to curdle, so if you want that extra burst of flavor, stick the extract or even add in some zest.

After the small curdling mishap, I stuck with a plain whipped cream for the topping with some poppy seeds. The poppy seeds give the whipped cream some texture to tie it all together with the cake. The seeds don’t do anything really for the flavoring, so if you don’t love the texture of them, you can just leave them out.

Ingredients For Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Brown sugar
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Lemon zest
  • Lemon juice
  • Vanilla extract
  • Honey
  • Poppy seeds
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Powdered sugar
Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

How To Make Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

  1. Prepare: Preheat the oven and prepare an 8×8 baking dish with parchment or grease and set to the side.
  2. Dry Ingredients: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients
  3. Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl, slightly beat the eggs. Then, add in the yogurt, brown sugar, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients into the mixture and mix to combine. Fold in the poppy seeds and honey using a rubber spatula.
  4. Bake The Cake: Bake the cake for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The cake should start to pull away from the pan when ready.
  5. Make The Whipped Cream: While the cake is baking, make the whipped cream. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream. Whisk the cream for about 3-5 minutes until the cream starts to form light peaks. Add in 1/4 of the powdered sugar. Continue to lightly mix and add in powdered sugar until the desired texture and sweetness is reached.
  6. Frost The Cake: When the cake is fully cooled, frost the cake with whipped cream. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and enjoy!

Check out the full recipe for the cake below and give breakfast cake a try!

Lemon Poppy Yogurt Cake

Recipe by Margo Gothelf Course: Dessert, BrunchCuisine: CakeDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



This lemon poppy seed yogurt cake is super light and airy and great to serve alongside brunch.


  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 large eggs

  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 

  • 2/3 tablespoons lemon zest, about the zest of one large lemon

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 tablespoons honey

  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds

  • Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1/4 -1/2 cup of powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoons vanilla


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a square 8×8 baking dish with grease and parchment. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large or medium-sized bowl, add in the eggs and give them a quick mix. When they are slightly beaten, add in the yogurt, brown sugar, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix with until combined. Try not to overmix and work the batter, so just mix everything until it is combined. When everything is set together, fold in the poppy seed and the honey with a spatula.
  • Add the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. The cake should start to pull away from the edges of. the pan when done and turn a golden brown. Don’t worry if the cake cracks a little on the top. Let cool completely on a wire rack in the pan.
  • While the cake is cooling, make the whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or in a medium-sized bowl with a hand mixer, make the whipped cream. Whisk the cream for about 3-5 minutes. Once. it starts to come together and reaches medium-sized peaks, add in 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Mix until you reach the desired constancy. If you want to add more powdered sugar, add 1 tablespoon at a time and give it a slight whisk to mix together. Don’t over mix the whipped cream, otherwise, it will clump and will be lumpy.
  • When the cake is fully cooled, take the cake out of the pan and spread the whipped cream on top of the cake. Sprinkle on poppy seeds if using. The cake will last for a week in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated because of the whipped cream.


  • You can freeze the cake for up to three months but without the whipped cream.

Did you make this recipe?! Let me know and share it on Instagram. Tag @crispcrumble and use the hashtag #crispandcrumble. 


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  1. Pingback: Iced Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake | Crisp and Crumble

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