Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Buttercream ~ snack time just got a whole lot more interesting with this unique combination of bananas, poppy seeds, and lemon ~ you can whip up this easy one bowl cake in no time.

Bake up this banana poppy seed cake when a good friend’s coming over for coffee, or there’s a last minute potluck at the office, or maybe you’ve been so good about eating super healthy for a couple of weeks now that you could use a treat.  Whatever the excuse, I think you’ll be glad you gave it a shot.  If you’re going to share it, be sure to have copies of the recipe ready to go, you’re gonna get asked.

This is a classic dense and moist banana cake with the footprint of a blondie ~ kicked up a notch or two with lots of crunchy poppy seeds and a tangy lemon frosting.  Why should lemon and almond get all the fun when it comes to poppy seeds?

I don’t know why I haven’t thought to combine all these elements together before, they make for a cake that’s unusual but familiar at the same time.

I’m generous with this particular frosting, which has a similar tangy quality to a cream cheese frosting, but it’s even easier to whip up.  You might know it from my BLUEBERRY ZUCCHINI CAKE WITH LEMON BUTTERCREAM.  It’s butter-heavy, and because of that I think it tastes best chilled, so I keep my cake in the refrigerator until I’m ready to eat.

No need to haul out the heavy equipment for this banana snack cake ~ just a whisk and a bowl will do fine.

It’s no secret that I love poppy seeds ~ I use them all the time, in everything from LEMON POPPY SEED PANCAKES to CHICKEN SALAD WITH POPPY SEED MAYONNAISE.  They just add that special touch to so many foods.  I buy them in bulk, which means I always have some on hand to add to my recipes.

Ingredient spotlight: BULK POPPY SEEDS


If your local store doesn’t carry them, you can find poppy seeds in bulk, online, HERE. To store extra poppy seeds, put them in an airtight container in the refrigerator (6 mos) or freeze them, (1 year).

*The View from Great Island is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program ~ Your cost is the same, but I earn a small commission from Amazon which helps keep tvfgi in the kitchen!

Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Yield: serves 9-12

Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Buttercream


  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2-3 ripe bananas, mashed (to make about 3/4 cup mashed)
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    lemon buttercream
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
  • the tiniest drop of yellow food coloring (optional)


  1. Set oven to 350F Lightly spray a 9x9 square baking pan. I like to line it with parchment paper so I can lift the cake out after baking for easy frosting and cutting.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar, and sour cream together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, mashed banana, poppy seeds, and vanilla.
  3. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together and add to the wet ingredients. Mix until just blended.
  4. Turn the batter out into the pan and smooth out evenly. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the top is just turning golden and the middle is set. A toothpick inserted in the center should be free of wet batter.
  5. Let cool on a rack completely before frosting.
  6. Make the frosting by beating the butter and sugar together with the lemon juice and food coloring, if using. Add a touch more juice if the frosting is too thick, or a little more sugar if too thin.
  7. I like to store the cake in the refrigerator, and it will keep for up to a week.

Make it your own ~

  • Add the zest of the lemon to the frosting if you like.
  • Substitute chopped walnuts for the poppy seeds.
  • Substitute cream cheese for the butter in the frosting.


Don’t forget to pin this Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Buttercream ~ an easy snack cake made with bananas and poppy seeds, generoulsy topped with a lemon frosting ~ you can whip up this easy one bowl cake in no time. #cake #blondies #snackcake #bananacake #poppyseeds #poppyseedcake #lemonfrosting #lemoncake #coffeecake #dessert #easybananacake #baking #onebowlcake


  • Reply
    March 15, 2018 at 4:03 am

    Absolutely amazing. I now have to gift the rest of it so I won’t eat anymore. I did use zest in the frosting. It was perfect.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Can I use prepared poppy seeds in a tin or do you use dry ?
    Looks so good

    • Reply
      March 10, 2018 at 7:17 pm

      I used dry, Lou, but I wonder if you might be able to use the prepared seeds in place of the dry mixed with the cream. I don’t imagine it would taste quite as good, because the canned stuff has mostly added sugar.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Do you know how to change the recipe to be gluten free? Sounds wonderful, but I don’t eat regular flour. Would love to make this for a family get together.

    • Reply
      March 5, 2018 at 5:21 pm

      I’m not an expert on gluten free baking Marianne, but I do know that a good gf baking mix like Bob’s Red Mill’s can often be substituted for the flour, on a one to one basis, in lots of recipes so that’s worth a try. I don’t think the texture of this dense cake would suffer too much without the gluten. And I always go for the easiest solution before I get too complicated with substitutions.

  • Reply
    Lori Weisberg
    March 3, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Hi Sue, You had me at poppyseed and lemon! So I made this yesterday, very good, thanks for the great recipe! Enjoying a piece right now!!

    • Reply
      March 3, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Thanks so much for the quick feedback Lori :)

  • Reply
    Vicki Bensinger
    March 3, 2018 at 4:29 am

    Such a beautiful cake and definitely tempting for breakfast. I mean it does have bananas in it! Love the icing too.!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2018 at 3:01 am

    This might be the most perfect flavor combination I have ever seen. I’m in love!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    March 1, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    This is such a dreamy snack cake and I *love* the buttercream!

  • Reply
    March 1, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    This flavor combination is seriously inspired!

  • Reply
    Pamela Ferrante
    March 1, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Does the dry ingredients need sifted? This cake looks so good I am dying for a piece. I am going to make this over the weekend. I can’t use the poppy seeds, because my husband does not like them. I will make one with the seeds for my mom & me she loves them. Thanks for listening. Hope you and your family have a wonderful weekend.

    • Reply
      March 1, 2018 at 9:58 am

      No Pam, you don’t need to sift them, but I do whisk them together to blend them.

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    March 1, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Snack time definitely got more interesting Sue! I love the combo of flavors here! On my baking list!

  • Reply
    Melissa Griffiths
    February 28, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Oooh I love poppyseed cake! The banana lemon combo sounds interesting!

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    February 28, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Sue this really is a perfect cake. I also love poppy seeds and bananas. Lemon I’m still working on! But for something out of the ordinary…well you’ve created it right here!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 8:34 am

    What a great combination of flavours! And I love that crunch you get from poppy seeds! Looks delicious, and that frosting on top- just heavenly!

  • Reply
    John / Kitchen Riffs
    February 28, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Poppy seeds and lemon? Say no more — love those two flavors together. The bananas are a bonus. :-)

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 8:02 am

    Wishing I had a piece of this cake right now with my coffee. YUM!

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 8:12 am

      You caught me, I’ve got a cold slice straight from the fridge sitting next to my coffee cup!

  • Reply
    Lisa | Garlic + Zest
    February 28, 2018 at 8:00 am

    This cake looks so moist and rich I want to shove a (LARGE) piece into my mouth. And that frosting looks so creamy and luscious. I’m making this one, Sue.

  • Reply
    Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche
    February 28, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Omg that frosting looks so luscious! I love how thick you’ve spread it ;D

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 7:54 am

      It’s all about the frosting to cake ratio ;)

  • Reply
    Claire | Sprinkles and Sprouts
    February 28, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Oh this looks so moist and delish!!! Especially that icing. I want to take bite!!!
    I also love the suggestion for swapping the poppy seeds for walnuts!! I think that would go down so well with my kids for afternoon tea!

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 7:29 am

      This is a perfect tea cake, thanks Claire.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    February 28, 2018 at 4:53 am

    Loving the lemon buttercream here! And the banana cake looks perfect. Craving :)

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 6:59 am

      A little lemon buttercream never hurts ;)

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    February 28, 2018 at 4:50 am

    This lovely cake sure would be good with my coffee this morning! What a terrific flavor combination and that buttercream looks dreamy! Sharing and pinning :)

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    February 28, 2018 at 3:57 am

    Hmmm, would it be legal to have this for breakfast? It looks so good I want it now! And certainly easy enough to make before anyone else is awake! Pinning and sharing!

    • Reply
      February 28, 2018 at 6:51 am

      Of course I was going to mention that I’ve already had it for breakfast…twice. But I thought that might be inappropriate ;)

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    February 28, 2018 at 3:26 am

    I do love adding poppy into the banana cake batter. Your version with lemon buttercream looks fabulous, Sue.

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