Poppyseed Cake with a Simple Orange Glaze

Poppyseed Cake with a Simple Orange Glaze

This poppyseed cake recipe comes from my mother-in-law.

Legend has it that when my husband and his sister were little, they asked to make a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve. In an attempt to be as historically accurate as possible my mother-in-law found this recipe, a simple poppyseed cake, and has been making it every year since. I appreciate this story for a few reasons: 

1. How cute were they? A birthday cake for Jesus. Aww.

2. They definitely weren't eating confetti cupcakes back in the day. My mother-in-law successfully wove a food history lesson into this sweet (no pun intended) moment. I just love that.

3. Simply put, I love this cake/loaf. It's one of my favorites and I'm thankful that it's part of a staple in our family!

So what should you know about this recipe that I haven't already told you? Well, it's NOT supposed to be a lemon poppyseed cake.. so no, there isn't a missing ingredient. Also, butter extract has been randomly hard to find for me. I didn't see it at Whole Foods or Shaw's and I ultimately found it at my third stop at Hannafords (equal to like a stop n' shop, publix, etc.). I wonder if Target sells it? Lastly, don't make my mistake... I almost always have a loaf or cake pan out with a friend, so I inevitably have fewer baking tins than what is really needed for the amount of batter this recipe produces. I almost always end up over-filling and thus baking a slightly too brown bottom. I think you could get away with at least three different cakes/loafs/etc. and never fill more than half way.  

On that note.. I love this as a loaf to be enjoyed with coffee or tea, as cupcakes for on-the-go, or in cake form for a special occasion (like Christmas Eve). It's mild enough to be enjoyed any time of the day.


I've tried to make this cake with a different glaze, usually based on whatever fruit juice I have in my fridge. My opinion is that orange is the best, but you could make any other glaze recipe that you have! 

print recipe
Poppy Seed Cake with Orange Glaze
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/8 cup flavorless oil, such as canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp butter extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Glaze
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp butter extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line pans with parchment paper. 2. Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix for about 2 minutes. 3. Pour into prepared pans and bake until top rises and cracks. Roughly 30 to 40 minutes. Glaze1. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves.2. Generously drizzle hot glaze onto the hot cake.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2+ loaves