This Tangerine Poppy Seed Cake is love at first bite.  It’s moist and citrusy, and the poppy seeds give it this amazing light crunchy texture.  Then there’s the glaze, it’s sweet and tangy.  And best of all, this cake actually tastes like fresh tangerine.

Not only is this cake wonderfully delicious, but it’s educational. I learned so many things while making it.

I learned that orange extract is fabulous.  It really does taste like fresh orange and it gave my cake that little extra citrus ooomph.  It’s now a staple of my spice cabinet, and I liked it so much that I went out and bought lemon extract, too.

I learned that poppy seeds actually have a flavor.  I thought they were just pretty and crunchy, but when you get enough of them together they have a kind of peppery scent and subtle taste.  Scalding them in the milk first helps release some of that flavor by breaking down their outer casings.

I learned that non-stick bundt pans, like milk, mascara, and those jeans from college, have a life span.  Don’t wait for the inevitable to happen, replace yours while you still can.

The cake release gods weren’t listening to my prayers.

I learned that a good glaze can hide a multitude of sins.  (So can careful cropping)

And I also learned that something can look like a train wreck, and still taste divine.

(adapted from Junglefrog Cooking)

Tangerine Poppy Seed Cake


  • 13 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 16 Tbsp (two sticks) room temp butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • the seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • zest of 1 tangerine
  • 5 Tbsp tangerine juice
  • 1/4 tsp orange extract
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • juice of 1 tangerine
  • a few drops orange extract
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds


  1. set oven to 350F
  2. Spray and flour a bundt pan (or a tube pan with a removable bottom)
  3. Heat the poppy seed in the milk in a saucepan until almost boiling. Add the buttermilk, juice, zest and vanilla beans and set aside to cool. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between.
  4. Mix the flours, baking powder, soda and salt together in a separate bowl.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the wet. Beat just until blended with each addition.
  6. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes and then carefully turn it out onto a rack.
  7. To make the glaze, add just enough of the tangerine juice to the sugar to make a fairly thick glaze. Add the poppy seeds and extract and stir well.
  8. When the cake is cool, go to town with the glaze.


  • I do plan to make this tangerine poppy seed cake again soon and I will probably make it in my angel food cake tube pan with the removable bottom.  Even with a new bundt pan, I’m wondering if the moistness of the cake isn’t a good match for the intricate design of the bundt, with all the nooks and crannies for the cake to get stuck in.
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23 Responses to Tangerine Poppy Seed Cake

  1. Nancy Long says:

    I actually broke down and bought some Baker’s Joy not long ago and have found it to be wonderful. Works much better than just reg. greasing & flour or the reg. spray

  2. Teresa says:

    Hi, I think we share the same taste I made the same cake (different recipe) today, with the same bundt pan and I have the same measuring spoons Loved the fact… I was looking for other recipe diferent than mine because it did not turn out as I wanted and found urs and that we have the same taste ;) Love From Portugal

  3. grace says:

    your tangerine slice is pretty–that’s a great shot! lovely cake, sue. henceforth, lemon poppy seed cake means nothing to me. :)

  4. Mary says:

    This sounds way beyond delicious. Beautiful pictures too. I’m grinning, because I was sitting here thinking how lovely your photos were with perfect lighting and everything else and then you confessed the cake was less than perfect. Love it.

  5. Barbara says:

    Now this is a fabulous recipe, Sue. I’ve never used orange extract…sounds like a flavor booster. Lots of poppy seeds and love the idea of scalding them to release their flavor.

  6. Priyanka says:

    Thats an amazing dish. It sounds wonderful and the photos looks beautiful and tempting

  7. This looks delicious Sue. I have several bundt tins, so will be trying this very soon. Thank you.

  8. Mary says:

    Sue, this really sounds wonderful and I love the glaze you are using here. Your recipe is unique and I know I’d love a slice of this cake. Have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

  9. Your posts make me want to put on my apron and bake…
    and I am so trying not to eat all these wonderful things.
    You are very very persuasive……

  10. yummychunklet—thanks for reminding me, I just found her site the other day and was blown away by all the cakes. I have to say the bundt cake is one of my faves. I wish this one looked a little better, but maybe that’s the excuse I need to make another one!

  11. A Bigger Closet—I almost mentioned that, I thought of it too!

  12. This looks (and reads) delicious. For some reason poppy seed always reminds me of the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine fails the opium test after eating poppy seed muffins. ;)

  13. “those jeans from college” – I know just what you mean!!!!!!

    Delicious looking cake, beautifully photographed.

  14. Victoria says:

    LOOKS amazing. After my poppyseed cake last weekend I am so into them! They are great!!! Your cake pan makes me soooo jealous :)

  15. Janice says:

    This looks delcious. Love the frosting/icing/sauce running down it.

  16. I hope you submit this yummy cake to The Food Librarian’s bundt cake celebration!

  17. Anonymous says:

    i learned i can never get enough of your pics…

  18. Rose says:

    This seems to be another yummy recipe. I will have to try it too.

  19. Ha! You had me bobbing my head up and down the whole time…been there, done that with the pan, the cropping, the icing, the careful placement in photographs. Well, I never would have been the wiser- it’s gorgeous! I can almost taste the brightness of the cake and I love those poppyseeds. So, so beautiful!

  20. Lizzy says:

    What a gorgeous pan…sorry it didn’t release. I’m having the same trouble with my mini-bundt pan…and it’s not that old…so frustrating! But with your artful cropping, you’d never know. This is one yummy looking cake…the crumb is perfect!

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