Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

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The secret to this lemon poppy seed coffee cake is almond paste, which adds amazing flavor and keeps the cake super moist.

Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

This cake starts with a buttermilk base filled with almond paste, lemon zest, and poppy seeds. Midway through baking, it’s topped with a lemon poppy seed crumble. Once baked and cooled, it’s finished with a lemon glaze. This coffee cake is tender, moist, and packed with lemon and poppy seeds. It’s one of our favorites!

Tips for the Best Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

  • Almond Paste Handling: Break the almond paste into small pieces for easier mixing.
  • Creaming Butter and Sugar: Cream until light and fluffy for a tender texture.
  • Alternate Wet and Dry Ingredients: Add buttermilk and dry ingredients alternately for a smooth batter. Avoid overmixing.
  • Folding in Zest and Poppy Seeds: Gently fold in these ingredients to evenly distribute flavors.
  • Crumb Topping: Add the crumb topping halfway through baking to prevent it from sinking.
  • Toothpick Test: Insert a toothpick into the center; if it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, the cake is done.


How Do I Store Leftover Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake?

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. The cake is even better the next day because of the almond paste.

Can I Freeze the Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake?

Yes, tightly wrap in plastic wrap and foil before freezing for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Can I Omit Poppy Seeds?

Yes, but they add a unique texture and flavor.

Can I Use a Different Pan Size?

Yes, adjust baking time accordingly. Smaller pans may require longer baking to cook the center thoroughly.

Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

Course Dessert


**Coffee Cake:**

  • – 7 ounces almond paste
  • – 1 cup granulated sugar
  • – 1 stick salted butter room temperature (½ cup)
  • – 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • – 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • – ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • – ½ teaspoon salt
  • – 2 large eggs
  • – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • – ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • – 1 cup buttermilk
  • – Zest of 2 lemons
  • – 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  • – ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • – ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • – ⅛ cup white sugar
  • – ½ tablespoon poppy seeds
  • – ¼ teaspoon salt
  • – ½ stick butter melted (¼ cup)
  • – ¼ teaspoon almond extract

**Lemon Glaze:**

  • – 1 cup powdered sugar
  • – 2 tablespoons lemon juice


**Coffee Cake:**

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, add the sugar, lemon zest, and almond paste (broken into pieces). Mix on low for about 2 minutes until the almond paste is in small pieces.
  • Add the room temperature butter and beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat for another 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • On low speed, alternate adding the buttermilk and flour mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.
  • Gently fold in the lemon zest and poppy seeds.
  • Pour the batter into a 9×9 inch glass pan lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray. Spread into an even layer.
  • Bake for 35 minutes.


  • While the cake is baking, mix the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, poppy seeds, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Add the melted butter and almond extract. Mix until large crumbs form. Set aside.

**Finishing the Cake:**

  • After 35 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and top with the crumble.
  • Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool completely.

**Lemon Glaze:**

  • Mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a bowl.
  • Drizzle over the cooled coffee cake.

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