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Close up shot of a slice of orange poppy seed cake.
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4.80 from 5 votes

Orange Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

Soft, moist, and loaded with citrus, this quick Orange Poppy Seed Cake is made in a bundt pan or loaf pan, brushed with orange syrup, and topped with icing. It has a nice open crumb texture and is just the right amount of sweet!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Rest Time1 hour
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16
Calories: 392kcal


  • Standard Bundt Pan or 9 x 5 inch loaf pan
  • Food processor or blender
  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer
  • Microplane or zester
  • Pastry or basting brush



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 360g
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup orange zest About 1.5 full oranges
  • cups granulated sugar 350g
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • cups vegetable oil 160g
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
  • 1⅓ cups full-fat sour cream 300g
  • cup orange juice freshly squeezed (160g)
  • ¼ cup poppy seeds 36g

Orange Syrup

  • ¼ cup orange juice freshly squeezed (60ml)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar 50g
  • ¼ cup water 60ml

Orange Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar 240g
  • ¼ cup orange juice freshly squeezed (60ml)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest


  • Preheat oven to 350℉/180℃. Grease and flour a bundt pan, tapping out any excess flour.
  • Peel 1½ large oranges (with a vegetable peeler) and add it to a food processor or blender with the sugar. Pulse until the peels are completely broken down and the sugar turns orange.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt until combined and set aside.
  • Transfer the sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and add the eggs, oil, and vanilla extract and beat on medium low until combined.
  • Alternating dry and wet ingredients with the mixer on low, add in half of the flour mixture, all of the sour cream, then the rest of flour mixture just until it comes together. Add in the orange juice and poppy seeds and mix until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few moist crumbs. Transfer the cake to a wire rack for 15 minutes to cool.
  • While the cake is baking, prepare the simple syrup by bringing all the sugar, orange juice, and water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • If making Bundt Cake, turn out the cake onto a serving platter and brush the simple syrup all over the top (previously the bottom). If making a loaf cake, don't turn out the loaf, simply brush it on top.
  • Once the loaf is completely cool, make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, orange zest, and orange juice in a bowl and mix with a whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze on top of the cake, then sprinkle with more orange zest.


Store the cake covered at room temperature for three days.
This freezes extremely well. Wrap the full cake or slices tightly in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and place in a sealed bag or container. When ready to eat, remove from freezer, unwrap, bring to room temperature, then add the glaze.
If you don't have a food processor or blender to combine the zest and sugar for the cake, simply zest the oranges and combine the sugar and zest with your fingertips until the sugar turns orange.
Loaf Cake Instructions:
  • Half the recipe
  • Add a parchment paper sling to the loaf pan for easy removal
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with no wet batter
  • Add the orange syrup while it's in the pan, but remove the cake to add the glaze


Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 117mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 223IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 2mg