A lemon cake recipe that makes muffins, quick bread, or a bundt cake. A sweet dessert idea that uses basic pantry ingredients & lemon zest. Poppy seeds are optional!
I know you may be confused by the “lemon cake” title of this post after you’ve seen the above picture of lemon muffins…but up today is an easy, versatile recipe that can be used for a bundt cake, muffins, mini muffins, or quick bread.
One of my favorite sayings is “simple is best.” That is especially true with this basic lemon cake recipe. There are no unusual ingredients and you should have everything right in your pantry, except maybe the lemons.
As always when I use citrus in a recipe, the best part is the actual zesting. The lemon zest and juice add such a bright and fresh taste to this batter, that the time it takes is definitely worth it.
Lemon Cake Recipe Tips
- If you make muffins, resist the urge to fill the vessels too full. If you put too much batter in the vessels, the muffins overflow and the end result is a not-very-pretty flat muffin. One generous scoop works perfectly.
- Don’t over bake. Remember that baking times are always just a guideline, and that every oven is different.
- Remove the muffins from the pan quickly, because they will continue to bake if you leave them in the pan to cool.
- This lemon cake recipe makes a hefty amount of batter. If you want smaller batches of muffins or quick bread, cut the recipe in half.
- The poppy seeds are completely optional, but they do add a nice texture and pair beautifully with the lemon zest. Feel free to add more poppy seeds than this lemon cake recipe calls for, as it is a relatively small amount.
- The glaze is a very light topping, but if you wanted to leave it off, just a dusting of powdered sugar would be delicious.
- Lemon Mini Muffins: Bake in a mini muffin pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Makes 48 mini muffins.
- Lemon Bundt Cake: Bake in a prepared bundt pan at 350 degrees F for 45 – 55 minutes or until knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
- Lemon Quick Bread: Bake at 350 degrees F in small loaf pans for 25 – 30 minutes. Watch closely at the end so bread does not get too brown. My small loaf pans measure 5.5 inches x 3 inches x 2.25 inches.
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My favorite baking pans:
For a semi-homemade version of lemon cake, click here: Lemon 7 Up Bundt Cake.