elote (mexican street corn) fritters with lime crema huckleberry cheesecake ice cream coconut shrimp spruce tip syrup and the muir cocktail


copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2017 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent


little dog

Recipe: lemon poppy seed cake

Driving from Nederland to Crested Butte last Sunday, we made a quick stop at Copper Mountain to let the puppy out for a potty break. As I recorded the time of her pee on my phone, I noticed the date – July 12. Ten years ago on July 12th, we arrived in the mountains of Colorado and moved into our very first home. It is, without a doubt, one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.


colorado, you are a part of me

hiking the lush banks of clinton reservoir

neva gets a swim

yet another stunning sunset in crested butte

wildflowers showing off their stuff



Sorting through my photo files, I found my earliest pictures of Neva when she was 6 weeks old. She has changed so much in these past weeks. We don’t notice it because we are with her every day, but friends who see her once a week or every 2 weeks do comment on her growth. She’s still a puppy, but she now resembles a little dog rather than the soft, chubby, clumsy, wee pup we brought home in May. Do I miss that bundle of sharp toothy cuteness? Maybe a little, but we are really loving the dog that Neva is becoming.

introducing neva to stand up paddle boarding

getting used to being on the water

much easier to paddle without a puppy running up and down the board



In addition to her SUP adventures, Neva continues her hiking training. Ultimately, we want to be able to hike, backpack, and trail run with her – but we can’t start running Neva until she has stopped growing (at about a year old) because it can damage her development. So hiking it is! We’ve been careful to increase the distance and elevation gain of her hikes gradually, and she’s doing great. She’ll be a strong little girl come winter (our thoughts are always on winter).

hiking up steep and rocky trails like a boss

at 12,200 feet – her highest elevation to date

obligatory selfie with puppy kisses



As Neva makes her way toward doghood, my forays into the kitchen have increased. I’ve even been able to bake a couple of times, although I’m not sure when I’ll get back to shooting recipes. All of the recipes you have seen here since the puppy arrived were shot BEFORE the puppy arrived, including today’s recipe for this bright lemon poppy seed cake. It’s great for breakfast, brunch, tea, or dessert. Do keep in mind that consuming poppy seeds can result in a false positive for heroine use (in case you have to take a drug test).

lemons, vanilla extract, sugar, flour, coconut oil, sour cream, eggs, baking soda, salt, butter, poppy seeds

zest and juice the lemons

prepped ingredients



I love bundt cakes. I really do. You mix the batter, pour it into the pan, bake, and you’re essentially done. They are easy to dress up, but can look great right out of the pan. A bundt cake doesn’t judge you, it just makes you feel better. Who can resist the tender, moist crumb of a lemony cake with crunchy poppy seeds?

mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together

cream the butter, sugar, and coconut oil

add the egg yolks

beat the eggs in one at a time



The cake calls for vegetable oil or coconut oil. I used coconut oil because I had a bunch in my pantry and I wanted to see how well it performs in baked goods. So far, I’ve had good results for the few times I’ve used it. Also, the cake is probably fine without the extra two egg yolks, but I added them for additional richness and also to enhance the yellow color.

add lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract

beat in the flour mixture

then mix the sour cream into the batter

fold in the poppy seeds



The batter is a little thick, so you’ll need to smooth the top of it once it is in the pan. When the cake is done baking and cooling, you can quickly whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice to make the lemon glaze. If you don’t want it to be lemony, sub milk or water for the lemon juice.

pour the batter into the pan

smooth the top

bake until golden and let cool

for the lemon icing: lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar

whisk the lemon juice and powdered sugar together



I feel that a half cup of poppy seeds is just right for this cake. I don’t want my poppy seed cake to be black like the depths of the cosmos, nor do I want to bite into a slice wondering where the poppy seeds are. If the density of the seeds looks to be too high or too low for your taste, then adjust the amount accordingly. It’s best to glaze the cake when it is fully cooled or else the icing will run off and pool at the base of the cake rather than on it. A little lemon zest adds a nice touch.

glazed and zested

cross section of the cake



This cake is so good, it would be fantastic naked or just dusted with powdered sugar. But if you like that hit of lemony sweet, then go for the icing. I can’t help but think of potlucks when I see bundt cakes – this would be a perfect addition to any summer (or winter!) potluck. It’s satisfying without being too heavy and has a clean finish thanks to the lemon accents. Just make sure to let the people you care about know if they have a poppy seed stuck in their teeth. It’s the right thing to do.

a slice of lemon poppy seed deliciousness

who can resist a bite?



Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
[print recipe]
a mashup of this recipe and this recipe

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda (3/4 tsp at 8500 ft.)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil (I used coconut oil – 150g)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 egg yolks
4 eggs
3 tbsps lemon zest
3 tbsps fresh lemon juice
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream (full fat, please)
1/2 cup poppy seeds

lemon icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsps lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together until blended. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, coconut oil (if using), and sugar together. If using vegetable oil, beat that into the creamed butter and sugar. Beat the egg yolks into the butter mixture. Beat the eggs in, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture to the batter and blend until smooth. Beat in the sour cream. Fold in the poppy seeds. Pour the batter into your prepared bundt pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes (50 for me). Remove from oven and let cool completely. Meanwhile, whisk the powdered sugar and lemon juice together to make the icing. Invert the cake onto your serving plate and drizzle with lemon icing. Serves 12-16.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

sour cream lemon pound cake lemon mousseline torte lemon heaven cake orange pound cake

12 nibbles at “little dog”

  1. Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) says:

    i don’t care how many times i see or eat it, but lemon poppy seed cake will always be welcome in my mouth. love that there’s actually a noticeable amount of lemon and poppy seed in the cake- if you’re going to set off a drug test, might as well do it with a bang (kidding!).

  2. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    Your cake is so pretty! I love a good lemon + poppy seed cake. It’s such a perfect flavour!

  3. Kate says:

    I wish all dog owners were as responsible, conscientious, and caring as you and Jeremy.

  4. Andrew | Kitchenthology says:

    I’ll be the first to admit that the poppyseed muffins from Costco were (scratch that, still are) my guilty, guilty pleasure. This looks amazing in my book.

  5. Jenny Hartin says:

    Love everything about this post!

  6. Pey-Lih says:

    That little dog is SO CUTE! I could not stop laughing about being drug tested for heroin if you eat poppy seeds. Yes, that may be true, but I think that’s funny you mentioned this. LOL! I love the pictures of you three together – it’s very sweet! I will make my heroin cake this weekend for my bible study group.

  7. Joyce says:

    The beauty and lushness of the green colors in the landscape reminds me of our trip to Ireland. I used to think that was the best green I had ever seen……until now! When I view what you are seeing and photographing, I am thankful for good eye sight to view such wonders. Every picture you take is worthy of being on the walls of our homes. You have such a wonderful gift and thanks for sharing it with us who appreciate it so much! And yes, for sharing Neva with us too! :)

  8. Melanie says:

    I, too, love the dog-owners that you and Jeremy are. Can’t ask for better care and love of a dog. So heartwarming and lovely to see. That poppyseed cake looks scrumptious!!

  9. Rocky says:

    That cake looks perfect.. And i wish i have one bite of that now.. but for that i have to make it with the help of a lovely recipe along with beautiful presentation in photographs.

  10. Gina Moore says:

    Ahhhh I love lemon poppy so much!! I just wanted to tell you how thankful I am to read your blog now that you have a new puppy. We are getting a yellow lab puppy in a couple of months and even though I’m so excited, I have anxiety about it. I feel like you are so real with your posts and I love all the pictures!!

  11. Suzanne says:

    I substituted blueberries – because it’s summer and organic blueberries were on sale at the market – for the poppy seeds, & my family loved it.

  12. jenyu says:

    Heather – that is awesome :) I love your attitude!

    Katrina – thanks!

    Kate – you’re so kind xo

    Andrew – I love you for admitting this! xo

    Jenny – love you right back, lady!

    Pey-Lih – that’s a great name for it – heroin cake ;)

    Joyce – you’re so welcome xo

    Melanie – thank you, my dear!

    Rocky – :)

    Gina – oh my, I hope you’ll email me a picture of your puppy!! I’m sure you’ll be great with the pup, but just remember to be patient :) Congratulations!

    Suzanne – great!

leave a reply