Easy Lemon Poppyseed Cake is a soft, moist lemon cake studded with poppy seeds. It’s topped with cream cheese frosting for a sweet finish. If you love lemon, you need to try it!

At our house, this Lemon Poppyseed Cake is a favorite celebration cake. The bright lemony flavor pairs perfectly with rich and creamy frosting, and it’s so easy. I use a cake mix and pudding mix to make it, so it’s soft, moist, and delicious.

a slice of lemon poppyseed cake on a plate.

For some kids, chocolate cake or funfetti cake rule the day, but it’s all about lemon poppyseed cake for my son, Madden. He requests for birthdays, and anytime we’re celebrating – he loves it! 

He’s requested it so many times I finally came up with an easy lemon cake recipe that can be made on short notice, so, of course, I turned to one of my all-time favorite cake recipes, coffee cake.

I played around with the recipe to make it the best lemon poppyseed cake. The cake has the most tender crumb, and the flavor is just what it should be – full-on lemon flavor! I add a simple cream cheese frosting for a special touch, but the cake is delicious plain, too.

The only thing I love better than a slice of this cake is watching Madden enjoy every last crumb. It’s a great “anytime” cake for potlucks, birthdays, or any old time you want to make an easy lemon cake. It is so good.

a piece of cake on a fork.


  • Lemon cake mix
  • Instant lemon pudding mix
  • Large eggs
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil or canola oil
  • Poppy seeds
  • Softened cream cheese
  • Softened butter
  • Powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
  • Milk
  • Lemon Zest
  • Lemon Juice

Recipe Tips

  • For this recipe, you only need the dry cake mix and dry pudding mix – disregard the box instructions and use the additional ingredients.
  • We love cream cheese frosting, but the cake is delicious with buttercream frosting, too.
  • Wait to spread the frosting over the top of the cake until it’s completely cooled.
  • Store the cake at room temperature for a couple of days, or you can keep it in the refrigerator for a day or so longer.
  • I love to serve this lemon poppyseed cake for all kinds of occasions. It’s excellent as a dessert or make-to-do as a brunch cake or snack cake.

How to Make Lemon Poppyseed Cake With Cake Mix

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9×13″ metal pan.

Beat the dry cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil, and poppy seeds in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer. Beat them for seven minutes – this will allow the pudding to set.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the pan’s sides.

overhead shot of the baked cake in a pan.

Cool the cake in the pan on a room temperature cooling rack.

Place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl for the frosting. Beat them with a mixer until smooth.

the frosting in a bowl.

Add the powdered sugar and continue mixing until well combined. If your frosting is too thick, add the milk a little at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.

Once the lemon poppyseed cake is thoroughly cooled, add the frosting. Smooth it over the cooled cake, and it’s ready to slice and serve.

a slice of frosted cake on a plate.
a piece of cake with a bite removed.

The first time I made this lemon poppyseed cake for Madden, he told me never to use another recipe – this was it for him! I have to agree – not only because it tastes fantastic, but it’s so simple to make, too.

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Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 284 kcal
At our house, this Lemon Poppyseed Cake is a favorite celebration cake. The bright lemony flavor pairs perfectly with a rich and creamy frosting, and it's so easy. I use a cake mix and pudding mix to make it, so it's soft, moist, and absolutely delicious.
lemon poppyseed cake on a plate.


  • 1 box lemon cake mix just the dry mix
  • 3.4 oz instant lemon pudding just the packet
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  • 2 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced


  • Preheat oven to 350; grease 9×13 metal pan.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the cake in a mixer for 7 minutes (this is key to make the pudding set). I love to use my Kitchen Aid mixer for this!
  • Pour in greased pan.
  • Place in oven and bake 30-35 minutes or until the cake is set and is pulling away from the edges.
  • While cake cools completely, make frosting. I like using a cream chese frosting.
  • Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and continue beating until combined. Add lemon zest and juice, and add some milk if needed by 1/2 teaspoonfuls until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Frost cake once cooled and enjoy!


If you’re a frosting lover, feel free to double the frosting! (The frosting pictured is the amount used in the recipe)
Serving: 1sliceCalories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 3gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 306mgPotassium: 40mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 151IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 87mgIron: 1mg
lemon poppyseed cake on a plate.
Tried this recipe?Let us know what you think!
lemon poppy seed cake social media image.

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  1. 5 stars
    I would love to try this! It looks and sounds incredibly delicious! The perfect dessert for spring!

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