Lemon Poppy Seed Layer Cake



40 min


2 hrs 15 min



Lemon Poppy Seed Layer Cake

Cake design by Camilla Wynne, Produced by Chantal Braganza and Sun Ngo, Photography by Christie Vuong, Prop Styling by Madeleine Johari, Food Styling by Michelle Lucas Larving

Camilla Wynne developed this recipe, published in 2022, as a go-to when making wedding cakes for friends. Here, she’s gone all out with piped frosting for an extra-celebratory effect.


  • 1 2⁄3 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1⁄4 cups 35% cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1⁄4 cups (248 g) granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 vanilla bean , scraped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1⁄2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • Pink food colouring
  • 1 batch Buttercream Icing , see below
  • 3/4 cup raspberry jam , divided
  • 1 cup firm lemon curd , such as President's Choice
  • Fresh raspberries , for garnish (optional)
  • Dragées , (optional)


  1. Put rack in centre of oven; preheat to 350F. Spray two 7-in. round cake pans (at least 2 in. high) with oil, then line bottoms with parchment.
  2. Cake: Whisk flour with baking powder and salt in a bowl. Combine cream with lemon juice in a cup.
  3. Combine sugar with lemon zest and vanilla bean seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer. Rub with fingers until sugar is fragrant. Fit mixer with whisk attachment. Add eggs. Whisk on medium-high until mixture is light, fluffy and thick, 3 to 5 min.
  4. Reduce speed to low. Whisk in one-third of flour mixture, then half of cream mixture. Repeat, ending with flour mixture. Increase speed to medium-high. Whisk for 10 sec. Fold in poppy seeds. Divide batter among pans.
  5. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted in centre of cakes comes out clean, about 35 min. Cool completely, about 1 hr.
  6. Stir enough food colouring into buttercream for desired shade of pink.
  7. Assembly: Use a serrated knife to cut both cakes in half horizontally. Set one layer on a serving platter. Spread with 1⁄4 cup jam, then 1⁄2 cup buttercream. Top with second cake layer. Spread with 1⁄4 cup jam, then lemon curd. Top with third cake layer. Spread with remaining 1⁄4 cup jam, then 1⁄2 cup buttercream. Top with final layer, then spread a thin layer of buttercream over entire cake. Refrigerate cake until buttercream is firm, about 15 min. Pipe frosting in desired patterns with remaining icing. Add raspberries and dragées.

Kitchen tip

To decorate cake like photo, make second batch of icing. Divide icing into 3 bowls. Stir enough pink food colouring into 2 bowls to create lighter and darker shades of pink. Fill a piping bag, fitted with a large open star tip, with darker pink icing. Pipe a shell border around edges of cake. Fill another piping bag, fitted with a large basket tip, with white icing. Pipe large Xs on side of cake. Fill another piping bag, fitted with a small open star tip, with light pink icing. Pipe shells and rosettes on sides of cake.

Kitchen note

Make cake 1 day ahead, but decorate just a few hours before serving. To keep cake moist for longer, heat 1/3 cup each granulated sugar and water with zest of 1 lemon in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Let cool, then stir in 1/4 cup lemon juice. Use a pastry brush to moisten each layer as you assemble cake, before adding jam and icing.

Buttercream Icing recipe

Get our Buttercream Icing recipe here.