Lemon, Poppy Seed, and Olive Oil Cake


  • Unsalted butter, soft, for the pan
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • Zest of 5 lemons, preferably organic
  • 6 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup limoncello


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Generously butter a Bundt pan (we used a 10-cup capacity). Add a scoop of flour and tap around the pan to distribute, then shake out any excess.
  2. Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a bowl. Pinch together with your fingertips until the sugar starts to blush yellow and is super fragrant. (This releases the oils and amps up the flavor.) Add the flour, poppy seeds, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk until smooth. In another bowl, combine the olive oil, milk, eggs, lemon juice, and limoncello. Whisk until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour, until a thin serrated knife inserted in the middle comes out clean and the top is bouncy to the touch.
  4. Wait until the pan is cool enough to pick up without burning yourself, then flip onto a plate or cake stand. Let cool completely—at least a few hours—before glazing or powdered sugaring.


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