Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Poppyseed Cake

The best of all worlds! Taking advantage of the wonderfully seasonal Meyer lemon, this cake highlights its flavor and beauty. The upside down style is tempting and gorgeous. And the flavor of Meyer lemon, half-way between a lemon and an orange, pairs so well with traditional poppy seeds in this lovely cake.

Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Poppyseed Cake

  • Servings: 1+
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Beyond their lovely and unique flavor, Meyer lemons have thinner skins than traditional lemons, which makes this recipe easy work because you don’t have to separately candy the slices of citrus before baking the cake. If it is not Meyer lemon season and you want to substitute another type of citrus, see my note at the end of the recipe for adjustments. If oat milk is not for you, any non-dairy (or regular dairy) milk will do!


  • 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Meyer lemons, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Meyer lemons – zest and juice, separately
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oat milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds


Butter 9×2” round cake pan. Cover the bottom with a round of parchment paper and put a strip of parchment paper as a collar around the inside edges.

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Dissolve sugar in water in a saucepan over medium heat. Add butter and mix until it foams. Pour into cake pan. Thinly slice up to 3 Meyer lemons and arrange as many as needed to attractively cover the bottom of the cake pan.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, cream butter and sugar together until soft. Add eggs to butter-sugar mixture one egg at a time until each one fully incorporated. Quickly mix through Meyer lemon zest.

Alternatively mix in dry ingredients, Meyer lemon juice, and oat milk into butter-sugar-egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Fold through poppy seeds by hand to avoid over mixing.

Pour batter over fruit in cake pan. Carefully smooth batter around with an offset spatula – be careful not to lift the spatula, which will pull up the batter and mess up the pattern of the fruit underneath.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool for no more than 10 minutes and then turn out onto cake plate.

A note about using other types of citrus fruit in this recipe – as Meyer lemons have such a thin skin, adjustments will be required to use another type of citrus. Other choices like lemon or orange – even grapefruit – will taste great! You just need to switch the approach for the topping. Instead of using 5 tablespoons of butter and 3/4 sugar, you will have to candy the citrus peels, as follows: bring 2 cups of water and 3/4 cup of sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan until sugar dissolves. Turn down to a simmer and gently add sliced citrus. Simmer on low for 20 or 30 minutes, until the liquid is reduced and syrupy. Carefully lift slices of citrus out of saucepan and arrange attractively in the prepared cake pan lined with parchment paper. Stir 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter through 2/3 cup of the syrup and evenly drizzle over the fruit. Then continue with the recipe as above. You can reserve the remaining syrup to make the finished cake extra shiny and it is also delish over your favorite non-dairy ice cream!

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