Lemon Poppyseed Crumb Cake

This lemon poppyseed crumb cake is soft, sweet and super citrusy. Most importantly, it’s topped with SO much buttery, crunchy crumb topping. Citrus season is here!

3 pieces of crumb cake on a white rectangular plate

Wow guys, I really needed this. The past couple weeks have been a bit unpredictable and stressful, which has caused me to fall out of my usual baking routine. By now I’ve picked myself up am finally getting back into the groove of things. I decided to dive back in with a doozy…lemon poppyseed crumb cake. Talk about a stress-relieving, easy to pick at, comforting treat.

piece of crumb cake on a white table

I’ve been craving a dessert that’s not wholly dependent on chocolate, caramel, and other super-rich ingredients. I wanted the star ingredient to be fresh and light. My favorite thing about spring and summer baking is being able to go Trader Joe’s and pick up some yummy fresh berries, peaches or plums bake with (wow, I really cannot wait). Winter is little more tricky. But hope is not lost…because it’s CITRUS season!

piece of crumb cake on a round white plate with a fork

Let’s face it, everyone agrees that the best part of any coffee cake is the crumb topping. That’s the star and everything else comes second. For this recipe, I decided to go all-out and make it a half-and-half situation. There is practically as much topping as there is cake batter. Don’t worry, this is not a mistake.

2 stacked pieces of crumb cake on a white round plate

Tips for the Best Lemon-Poppyseed Crumb Cake

  1. Zest in everything! This may seem obvious, but lemon is the focal point of this gorgeous cake. To get the most out of this flavor, I’ve added zest to both the crumb topping and the cake batter. You’ll thank me later.
  2. Sour cream, obviously. Adding sour cream instead of milk to the cake makes it super tender and moist. Feel free to use full-fat greek yogurt as a substitute!
  3. Thick, chunky crumbs. If you want your topping to be chunky and have giant crumb pieces, there’s a simple way to achieve this. While putting the crumbs on top of the cake batter, use your hands to squeeze the mixture together into thicker chunks.
overhead photo of 12 square pieces of crumb cake on a white table

Lemon Poppyseed Crumb Cake

This lemon poppyseed crumb cake is soft, sweet and super citrusy. Most importantly, it's topped with SO much buttery, crunchy crumb topping. Citrus season is here!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot crumb cake, coffee cake, lemon poppyseed
Servings: 12 pieces



  • ½ cup butter melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp zest
  • cup flour


  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • ½ salt
  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • cup sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp zest divided
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and non-stick cooking spray.

Make the crumb topping:

  • In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla and lemon zest. Once combined, stir in the flour until a thick crumb mixture forms. Set aside.

Make the cake:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for about 1 minute after each addition. Then mix in the vanilla, sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest and poppy seeds.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Do not over-mix the batter.
  • Pour into the pan use a spatula to spread it evenly. Top with the crumb mixture, using your hands to press the mixture into chunks. Lightly press the topping on top of the batter.
  • Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.

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