The absolute zest: Lemon blueberry poppy seed bundt cake recipe

lemon blueberry poppy seed cake
Sarah Harris/Senior Staff

I have fond summer memories of going to visit my aunt and uncle in Lake Tahoe as a kid. Besides searching for the best hiking trails and working on 1,000-piece puzzles, we always spent time in the kitchen together. Well, my actual adult family would cook, and I would sneak around as the unofficial taste tester. My aunt always baked this bundt cake for us, and because I loved it so much, she gave my mom the recipe. 

In true Leo fashion, I decided to bake this cake for my own birthday this year. While this bundt cake is quite the departure from the traditional birthday cake, it is sure to please all who manage to snag a slice!


  • 1 package white cake mix
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 large eggs
  • 7 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2⁄3 cup water
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Butter and flour (for greasing)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  • Electric mixer
  • Regular-sized bundt cake pan


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
  2. With the electric mixer, beat the cake mix, mayonnaise, poppy seeds, lemon zest and eggs. Add 5 tablespoons of lemon juice and the water. Start on low speed until combined.
  3. Mix on medium speed until the batter is smooth, about 1-2 minutes. 
  4. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter. 
  5. Grease the bundt pan with butter and sprinkle with flour.
  6. Pour batter into the bundt pan. 
  7. Bake for 38 minutes. 
  8. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan. Cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack. 
  9. Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to make the glaze. Add lemon zest if desired. 
  10. Pour the glaze over the cake, making sure to coat it evenly. 

This cake serves 12, but because we’re still sheltering in place, there’s more for you to enjoy! Even if you haven’t mastered baking during quarantine, I’m sure you’ll return to this recipe again and again.  

Sarah Harris is the editor in chief and president. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sharris_dc.