Tangerine Poppy Seed Pound Cake is bursting with citrus flavor and crunchy poppy seeds ~ and just when you thought winter had nothing fresh to offer!

Fresh Tangerine Poppy Seed Cake ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Tangerines are in season, keep an eye out for these juiciest of citrus fruits!

Most of us think about eating seasonally in terms of veggies and savory dishes…but I like to give desserts equal opportunity, and I’m making the most of sweet tangerines today with this simple but irresistible pound cake.

Tangerine Poppy Seed Pound Cake with a to-die-for fresh citrus flavor ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Winter can be cold, winter can be dreary, and winter can be long.  But winter has an ace up its sleeve ~ citrus fruit!  Just when everything fresh and green seems to be months away, citrus fruit arrives in our supermarkets (and on our backyard trees here in California) to brighten our spirits and lend it’s incredible flavor to everything from Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing, to Blood Orange and Jicama Salad, and Tangy Lime Bars.  Have you tried my Grapefruit Mayonnaise?  It’s heaven, and Lemon Buttercream Frosting is just about the best thing I’ve ever eaten.

Juicy Tangerine Poppy Seed Pound Cake made with fresh tangerines and crunchy poppy seeds ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Of all the citrus fruits, tangerine has the most pronounced flavor,

which makes it a great candidate for flavoring baked goods like this cake.  The combination of the juice and the zest in this pound cake really makes the essence of ‘tangerine’ shine through.  So, while you could use regular oranges in the recipe, I highly recommend trying the tangerines first, they make it quite special.

Juicy Tangerine Poppy Seed Pound Cake ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

After my photo shoot this cake sat out, uncovered, overnight.  The next morning I sliced off a piece and it was still moist and the citrus flavor seemed even stronger.    If you’re a citrus fan like me, you need this cake in your life, trust me.

Fresh Tangerine Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Tangerine Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Tangerine Poppy Seed Pound Cake


  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • zest of 1 tangerine
  • 3 Tbsp fresh tangerine juice
  • 1/4 tsp orange extract or oil (you can also use vanilla)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • fresh tangerine juice
  • tangerine zest


  1. Set oven to 350F Lightly spray and line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper with long ends overhanging so you can easily remove the cake after baking.
  2. Mix the buttermilk, poppy seeds, tangerine zest, juice, and extract and set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer, or by hand, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time and blend together well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry.
  6. Turn the batter into the lined loaf pan and spread out evenly. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter on it. If the cake seems to be browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil for the second half of the baking time.
  7. Let the cake cool completely before glazing.
  8. To make the glaze, whisk the sugar with enough fresh tangerine juice to make a spreadable consistency. Garnish with more tangerine zest.


  • While I highly recommend tangerine for this recipe, you can use other citrus like grapefruit, navel orange, or lemon.  Just substitute other citrus in equal amounts.
  • While not essential, I love to use natural citrus extracts or oils to pump up the flavor when I bake with citrus fruit.  Look for all-natural products, and avoid artificial flavorings.  Amazon has a large selection, and I particularly love Nielsen-Massey brand. 
  • For a nondairy substitute for buttermilk, try coconut milk mixed with one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar per cup.

Tangerine Poppy Seed Pound Cake is bursting with citrus flavor and crunchy poppy seeds ~ just when you thought winter had nothing fresh to offer! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com


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Tangerine Poppy Seed Pound Cake is bursting with juicy citrus flavor and crunchy poppy seeds ~ just when you thought winter had nothing fresh to offer! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

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20 Responses to Tangerine Poppy Seed Pound Cake

  1. Simone says:

    Hi Sue, this cake looks amazing. i wanted to bake this but im not sure about finding the almond flour. Is there something else i could use instead?

    • Sue says:

      Hey Simone ~ you can just leave it out and substitute more regular flour if you want, or you can make your own by grinding almonds in a food processor. Almond flour, or almond meal, is really commonly available in stores now, so you might try asking about it first! ~ good luck!

  2. Susan says:

    What a great idea to switch out the lemons for tangerines. I love poppy seed cakes!!

  3. Leia says:

    I made this cake and absolutely love it. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. Beautiful cake, pinning this one.

  5. Just gorgeous, Sue! A bright burst of citrus sounds fantastic!

  6. The tangerines are finally tasting AMAZING again! Summer and Winter is the best for orange flavours for sure :) This pound cake looks amazing Sue! x

  7. Love the flavors of this pound cake Sue! So fresh and such a nice surprise during the winter months!

  8. France says:

    Wondering if Satsuma’s could be used in place of Tangerines?

  9. Kimberly L. says:

    Looks so yummy, cant wait to try and make this, hopefully this weekend.

  10. cheri says:

    Hi Sue, you have the best cakes, love this combo. Our grapefruit and lemons are almost ripe here.

  11. Cathy says:

    This sounds so delicious. I made a lemon pound cake from one of your recipes a long time ago, and everyone loved it. Now I’ve gone gluten free, so would a basic gluten free flour work in this? I have almond flour and everything else, except orange extract, so I guess vanilla it will be, and hopefully the gluten free flour will work.

  12. A classic combo! I haven’t had a pound cake in a while…should bake one soon! Thanks for sharing, Sue.

  13. Schmaka laka! That’s what my mom always said when something looked REALLY good!

  14. I love all your beautiful citrus cakes – and think you need to write that pound cake cookbook now! I bet this lovely flavor is a real winner – and it’s going on my must-make list for sure!

  15. Love citrus season! And love poppy seed cake, too. Why have I never paired them? Dunno, but I will. :-) Good stuff — thanks.

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