Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Poppyseed Cake

lemon poppyseed cut cake blog

You know those cloudy, dreary, sometimes wet days that come with springtime? The ones that leave you wanting to snuggle on the couch with a blanket all day?

We’ve been having a few of those here lately. I’m thankful – we desperately need the rain – but it doesn’t mean that I don’t wish for sunshine as well. But when the sunshine won’t come from outside, we have to make it ourselves. And what better way than to make something with lemon?

I had a gorgeous large Meyer lemon in my refrigerator, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to become something great. Apparently, it was destined for cake. Not a fancy, extravagant cake, however. This lemon wasn’t destined for a birthday or a holiday. Instead, it was destined for something humble. You can make this cake anytime it feels dreary out and you’d like to brighten someone’s day. It’s an “everyday” cake – the type my grandmother often bake when we would come visit, so we had a special treat to enjoy after lunch. It’s not too sweet, and there’s no fancy frosting or layers. But there is a light lemon flavor, the pop of the poppyseeds, and a tender, moist crumb. It’s also great with an afternoon tea, or even for breakfast.

In my mind, it’s a happy-making cake. And on any spring day, dreary or otherwise, who couldn’t use a little happy?


Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Poppyseed Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free)

2/3 c sweet white rice flour (I like Mochiko)

2/3 + 2 T c superfine brown rice flour (I like Authentic Foods)

2/3 c tapioca starch

1 T baking powder

1/4 t kosher salt

1 1/2 t unflavored gelatin (I like Great Lakes)

2/3 c milk (dairy or non-dairy variety of your choice)

1/2 c olive oil (any variety)

1 t vanilla extract

3 eggs, room temperature

1 c + 2 T granulated sugar

1 T Meyer lemon zest (from one large or two smaller Meyer lemons)

1/3 c Meyer lemon juice (from one large or two smaller Meyer lemons)

1 1/2 T poppy seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9-inch round cake pan and dust with brown rice flour. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, and gelatin.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, olive oil, vanilla, eggs, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until well-blended and a bit frothy.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until smooth. Add the poppy seeds and whisk again.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Rap the pan against the counter once or twice to prevent bubbles in the cake. Place on center rack in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it.

Remove and let cool on a wire rack. Can serve slightly warm.

Makes one 9-inch cake.


  1. Laurel says

    My, my, my this looks absolutely delicious. I love that you use gelatin rather than gums too because I’m always having to guess at replacements. This may be the very first thing I bake once I’m allowed to move again. Alternatively, Waxahachie really isn’t that far to drive and you can bring me one when you go to Scarborough Faire one weekend. :-)

    • altawrites says

      Laurel – After some tweaking, I’ve found that gelatin seems to work BETTER than the gums. Also less tummy issues for those who are sensitive to gums. Allowed to move – what did you do?

      And it’s been a long time (18+ years!) since I’ve been to Scarborough Faire!

      • Laurel says

        Oh I didn’t do much. Fell twisted messed up several ribs and now have intercostal sprain (so they say) which is the muscles around your ribs. You’re supposed to rest and ice them, the only problem being that you use them every time you breathe, or reach, or turn, or… you get the picture. My kitchen is considering a divorce because of my absence. On the bright side it has forced me to do that grain challenge since I’m not in there baking. :-)
        Not been to Scarborough Faire in how many years? Oh well, I’ve lived across the street for 12 and only went once when I received free tickets. When I lived in Dallas I went a lot. Go figure.

        • Laurel says

          No, I’m not replying to myself. Gelatin sounds brilliant especially since you don’t have to bloom it first. I’ve been adding ground flax and/or chia to my dry ingredients for several years now and never have a problem. Of course I don’t do the SENSIBLE thing and like measure and stuff. hahaha

          • altawrites says

            Sorry about your injury! Hope you mend soon.

            And I’ve tried ground chia or flax too, but I much prefer the gelatin, especially in desserts.

  2. says

    Wooohoooooo! Here it is! Just as you promised, here is the recipe I’ve been waiting for ever since your “teaser” last week. I can’t WAIT to make this. Even better, EAT this! Thanks!

    • altawrites says

      Tessa – after a long rainy weekend, it did turn sunny! We do need the rain though, so it’s a mixed bag. :)

  3. Sally says

    Looks divine. Have you ever subbed agar powder for the gelatin? Not a vegan, but I can source “humane” eggs; not so much with gelatin.

    • altawrites says

      Sally – I never have. You could substitute a smaller amount of xanthan gum or guar gum (1/4-1/2 teaspoon). Can you order Great Lakes gelatin where you are? It’s a grass-fed source. It’s easy to get here in the states, but outside of the US I understand it’s really pricey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *