Orange Poppy Seed Pound Cake Loaf with Icing

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Jump to RecipeA few slices cut out from a orange poppy seed cake.

I think we have all had the classic lemon poppy seed cake. This orange poppyseed cake recipe is a spin on that traditional pound cake with some updated flavors. Using oranges instead of lemon gives the cake a sweeter taste and texture. I love how the orange flavor blends with the poppyseeds and fluffiness of the cake.

What type of oranges to use?

You can use any type of oranges you have. I have made this with naval oranges and with cara cara oranges and they both turned out great. I have not tried it with blood oranges but that should work as well.

The size of the oranges can vary quite a bit so that is why I added in a tablespoon measurement for the juice and zest. Typically, if you buy 2 regular sized oranges you should be good to make this recipe!

What type of pan to use?

This recipe calls for a classic 9x5” loaf pan similar to these loaf pans. It is nice to have a pan with non-stick coating but regardless make sure to line your pan before using. This helps get the loaf out much easier.

An orange poppyseed loaf on a wire rack.

Tips for Making the Best Poppy Seed Cake

  • Keep wet ingredients at room temperature. For the butter, eggs, and yogurt try to get them to room temperature before mixing. This will help everything mix together well and cook evenly in the oven.
  • Cover with foil if needed. Towards the end of the bake you may notice the top getting a little too brown but the center is not cooked. This load bakes for awhile so if you notice this, place some foil over your loaf so the inside keeps baking but the crust doesn’t brown too much more.
  • Line with parchment paper. Before adding your batter to the pan, line it with parchment paper. I like to add a little oil or butter to the bottom and sides of the pan to help the paper stick. Also, if it only covers the long edges, make sure the short edges are greased as well.
  • Add extra orange flavor. If you want the orange flavor to be stronger there are a few things you could do. You can add an extra tablespoon of orange juice. You could also top the loaf with some extra orange zest or even some candied orange peels.
  • Let the cake cool all the way before adding the icing. If your cake is too hot when you add the icing it will just melt right off. You ideally want the cake to be cooled all the way. Then with the orange cake sitting on a cooling rack, pour over your delicious glaze to coat the cake nicely. Then let it sit for a few minutes so the glaze can harden on to the cake.

How to Store the Cake

Once your poppy seed cake has cooled, store in an airtight container or freezer bag. It will store well at room temperature for about 2-3 days and in the fridge for about 4-6 days. The cake will slowly start to dry out the longer it sits, so enjoying it fresh is always the best.

Orange Poppy Seed Pound Cake Loaf with Icing

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  • 1 + 1/2 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature*
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp orange zest (about 2 oranges)
  • 2 tbsp orange juice (about 1 orange)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) plain greek yogurt, room temperature*
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream or whole milk
  • orange zest, for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9x5” loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together all of your dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda).
  3. In a separate bowl or a stand mixer beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Then add in the eggs, orange zest, juice, vanilla and mix together. Finally, add in the yogurt and mix until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix until it just comes together, then mix in the poppy seeds. Try not to over mix the dough, you want to mix it until everything is just incorporated and you no longer see any flour streaks.
  5. Add the cake batter to your prepped loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and cooked all the way through. You can do the toothpick test to check if it cooked throughout. To do this, just poke it with a toothpick as far as you can and if it comes out clean you are good to go. If it has a lot of batter sticking to it it needs a little bit longer.
  6. While the cake is baking, make your glaze. Whisk together all the glaze ingredients in a bowl and set aside until ready to use.
  7. Let your cake cool completely, then pour over your glaze. I like to do this by placing the cake on a wire rack with some parchment paper underneath. Then when you pour over the glaze the excess glaze can flow off of the cake easily. You can then top it with orange zest or candied oranges if desired.


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