Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
55 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 12
Author: Rose Levy Beranbaum
For the cake:
  • 2 Avalon Eggs Large, at room temperature
  • 1 Avalon Egg yolk Large, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups Avalon sour cream
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (or bleached all purpose flour)
  • 1 1/4 cups white granulated sugar ** superfine/caster/berry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 teaspoons lemon zest loosely packed, finely grated
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 3/4 sticks Avalon butter unsalted, softened (14 tablespoons or 200 grams)
For the lemon syrup:
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar white
  • 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar white
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed, from 1 to 2 lemons
Special equipment:
  • Metal fluted tube pan buttered then dusted with flour
  • Stand or handheld mixer
  1. For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350F (325F if using a dark pan) with the rack on the lower third of the oven.
  2. Whisk together whole eggs, egg yolk, 1/4 cup sour cream, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until homogenous.
  3. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and poppy seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater (or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer), and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.

  4. Add unsalted butter and remaining sour cream, then resume mixing on low speed until just blended. Increase to medium speed and beat for another 1 1/2 minutes.

  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and re-start the mixer on low speed. Add half of the egg mixture from Step 2 and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Pour the remaining egg mixture and mix for another half a minute. Transfer the batter into the prepared tube pan and level the surface with a spatula.
  6. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the deepest part of the tube comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed with lightly with a finger. Start checking for doneness at 45 minutes.
  7. For the Lemon Syrup: While the cake is baking, combine sugar and lemon juice in a small microwavable bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  8. Once the cake is done, place the pan on a wire rack. Poke the cake all over using a thin skewer and brush the cake with one third of the syrup. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Brush the entire surface of the cake with the remaining syrup.
  9. Cool completely before serving.
Recipe Notes

Storage: Keep airtight with plastic wrap at room temperature. Best if consumed within two days.

** Superfine sugar: If you don’t have superfine sugar, you can pulse regular white granulated sugar in a food processor.

This recipe was adapted from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum.