Breakfast and Brunch, Cakes, Pies & Tarts, Dessert

Summer Fruit Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

Nicoletta June 13, 2018

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Summer Fruit Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake, a delightful cake with a citrus flavor, juicy summer fruit tucked in the batter, and crunchy, lively, poppy seeds. A “breakfast” cake, or a “no-fuss” dessert, that kids and grown-ups will love.

Song of the day: “Good Old Days” – Macklemore Feat. Kesha.

Summer Berry Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

The first time I served my parents a lemon poppy seed cake I was in Rome at their place, two years ago and my mother asked me if I was sure poppy seeds were edible before putting a piece in her mouth. I reassured her that they were and that in Canada poppy seeds were widely used in cakes paired with citrus fruit.



She didn’t have any problems with the other main ingredients in the cake: Amalfi lemons and Greek yogurt, maybe just a little concern about the butter, she would have rather I used vegetable oil. Her only issue was about the poppy seeds; she had never had them and was dubious. The smell was enticing, though, so she trusted me and went for a taste. The poppy seeds crunched lively in her mouth delivering their unmistakable nutty and fruity aroma and paired with the moistness of the cake and the fragrance of the lemon created a harmony on her palate and she was in love. Later on during the day, my aunt and uncle stopped by for a visit, and I was glad I had baked something for them to try. It is not unfrequent for Italian families to have unexpected visitors, friends or family, so, in the “good old days”, the houses were kept clean and in order -most of the times- and there was always a baked good to offer, just in case. Needless to say, my aunt and uncle had never heard that you could eat poppy seeds, but they tried the cake and liked the newly discovered flavor.

Summer berry Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

Fast forward to last week, I found a version of this cake on Baker’s Royale cookbook that I borrowed from the Edmonton Public Library. The cake was called “Smashed Berry Lemon Poppy Seed Cake” and got my attention among many other more dazzling sweets. But you know, by now, that rustic simplicity has my preference, plus, I thought right away of using up some frozen sour cherries and Saskatoon berries in our freezer from last summer’s bountiful harvest.

This Summer Fruit Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake started developing in my mind as soon as I went through the ingredients:

  • replacing some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour;
  • choosing, for sugar, turbinado sugar and maple syrup and cutting the quantity;
  • replacing buttermilk (that I hardly have) with Greek yogurt (that I always have);
  • using up some of my frozen Summer fruit (sour cherries and Saskatoons);
  • baking the cake in one of my cute bundt cake pans.

Summer berry Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

Quite easy to make, this Summer Fruit  Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake, requires no fancy gadgets: just two bowls, one for the dry ingredients one for the wet, a couple whisks, and a small saucepan where to cook and “smash” the fruit. I truly loved that step of adding a “fruit compote” to the batter, half in the middle, and a half on top. If you desire, you can swirl it, I forgot, but truly it was delicious anyway.

Summer berry Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake Summer berry Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

Look at those colors! I am already in love and cannot wait to place it in the oven and see the end result. If you’re wondering, of course, I tasted the fruit compote and licked clean the spoon. It was bright like a sunshiny day!

Summer berry Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

Here it is, my Summer Fruit Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake! You can see the fruit bursting out from the top, I wonder how it will be when I cut into it. But wait, Naomi suggests letting it cool in the pan at least 30 minutes before inverting it. And I diligently did so.

Summer fruit lemon poppy seed bundt cake

Cutting into this bundt cake I was like a kid in a candy store. Couldn’t wait to see how that summer fruit mapped itself out inside. I loved the texture that happened on the surface of the cake, very pebbly, and the deep color, which could be from the turbinado sugar and whole wheat flour. For me, these types of cakes are a hand to mouth affair, and that I did do.

The crust was like a hard toffee, at first quite a bit of texture, but then it just melts and a wonderful caramel flavor floats on your tongue. And just when you think you’ve reached the highest notes of this cake, in comes the plump summer fruit as they unleash their juices to mingle with the citrusy moistness of the interior. Then, out of nowhere, these little itty biddy crunches and that my friends, are the poppy seeds.

Check in your freezer if you have any fruit from last summer’s harvest. If you do, get the kids, grease and flour that bundt pan and have fun in the kitchen baking this Summer Fruit Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake!

P.s. Loreto tells me that when he was a child he would love to grease and flour the pan, which is great, because now when he’s around, he’s my official pan prepper, and I can see his inner child come out.

Song of the day: “Good Old Days” – Macklemore Feat. Kesha.

Summer Berry Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

Summer Fruit Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Cakes
  • Method: Baking


Summer Fruit Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake, a delightful cake with a citrus flavor, juicy summer fruit tucked in the batter, and crunchy, lively, poppy seeds. A “breakfast” cake, or a “no-fuss” dessert, that kids and grown-ups will love.

Adapted from Naomi Robinson – Baker’s Royale – 75 Twists on all your Favorite Sweets.


For the fruit filling:

  • 1/2 cup (8085 g) fresh or frozen sour cherries
  • 1/2 cup (8085 g) fresh or frozen Saskatoon berries
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

For the cake:

  • 2 cups unbleached, organic all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar or cane sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil (I used organic canola oil)
  • 1/2 cup plain organic Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 3 large eggs, organic, free range
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds


For the berry filling:

  1. In a medium saucepan over low/medium heat, combine the frozen (or fresh) berries, maple syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and cornstarch. Cook, smashing the berries, until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Lightly oil and flour a bundt cake pan.

For the cake:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, beat together the oil, yogurt, lemon zest and juice, and eggs, until well combined.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir, until just combined.
  4. Fold in poppy seeds.
  5. Pour half of the batter into the prepared bundt pan and layer with half of the berry filling.
  6. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the cake turns golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 30 to minutes before inverting the pan to release the cake.


I used frozen sour cherries and Saskatoon berries from last summer’s harvest. You can use whatever berry you like or have, fresh or frozen.

I replaced 1/2 cup from the total 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.

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Summer Berry Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

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  • Avatar
    Reply Marisa's Italian Kitchen June 13, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    I love a good Bundt and this one featuring summer fruits and poppy seeds is just perfect for our summer barbecues or even potlucks. Simply lovely!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 14, 2018 at 7:25 am

      Aren’t bundt cakes so pretty? 😉 Thanks, Marisa! Agree, nice for barbecues or potluck!

  • Avatar
    Reply Samina - The Cupcake Confession June 15, 2018 at 2:35 am

    This is such a decadent looking cake! Loving the lush juicy fruits in the cake! What a lovely summer delight!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 15, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Thank you! It does taste like a summer delight 😉 .

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