Lemon Poppyseed Cake. A tender layer cake recipe brightened with lemon juice, lemon zest and poppy seeds, frosted with a tangy sweet lemon cream cheese frosting.

The weather here has been up, down and everywhere in between. Just when it feels like the heavy cast of winter is lifting, it comes back with gusto. But the occasional warm day brings sunshine, a break to the grey monotony, and a refreshing reminder… that spring is coming!

This Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is everything you want in a spring dessert. Fresh lemon awakens the senses while the soft yellow hue builds naturally from a hefty dose of lemon zest.  The influx of poppy seeds not only gives the cake layers a beautiful speckled appearance, but a slightly nutty flavor that only poppy seeds can deliver. A few extra seeds sprinkled on top creates a quick and easy crescent backdrop for our edible flowers. While I chose to brighten the muted yellows with vibrant mini sun daisies, the color tones of this cake could easily sway towards pastels suited for Easter. As is, it would look beautiful next to a large vase of yellow tulips.

And then comes the cream cheese frosting. Oh my gosh, it’s good.  This is my favorite lemon cream cheese buttercream from my lemon blueberry cake, but with a few tweaks. I changed up the ratio of cream cheese to butter to allow this frosting to have a bit more body than the lemon blueberry cake. While this reduces the tang a tad because there’s less cream cheese, the overall taste is still delicious and the resulting frosting is a little stiffer and easier to decorate with. Still, by no means is this a “decorator’s frosting”– it’s not overly sweet nor is it a good candidate intricate piping work. For best results, be sure to use a block-style cream cheese, like Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Any cream cheese that comes in a tub will be too soft and you’ll have more of a glaze than a frosting. If you prefer a tangier lemon frosting, revert back to this cream cheese frosting recipe instead.

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