lemon poppy seed tea bread – sunshine in a loaf

by Michelle

Lemon Poppy Seed Tea Bread catapults me back to my grandmother’s kitchen sans the poppy seeds. Nanny would never have had anything as exotic as Blue Dutch Poppy Seeds in her pantry but the aroma currently in my kitchen is the same. She would whip up a lemon tea bread in no time flat to serve to her girlfriends at ‘club’. I assume that’s where the synonym ‘quick bread’ comes from.

Tea Breads or quick breads are simply little cakes baked in small bread tins. The main difference between tea bread and cake is their ingredients. Tea breads are typically made with flour, sugar, eggs, milk, and baking powder or baking soda. They can also contain additional ingredients like fruits, nuts, or spices. In contrast, cakes are typically made with the same basic ingredients as tea breads, but they usually contain a higher volume of sugar and butter or oil.

Another difference between tea bread and cake is their texture. Tea breads are typically denser and more crumbly than cakes. This is because they contain less fat and sugar, which results in a less tender texture. On the other hand, cakes are typically lighter and more tender due to the higher fat and sugar content. They also tend to be more moist and tender.

My Lemon Poppy Seed Tea Bread recipe is more like cake. The crumb is moist and tender. The poppy seeds add just the right amount of crunch. The recipe makes one perfect little tea bread. You can see from my photos how delicate this tea bread is. It ripped a bit when I was removing it from the bread pan. be sure to grease your pan well before adding the tea bread batter.

The flavour is a perfect balance of sweet and tart: what I imagine sunshine to taste like.

Thanks for reading.

Lemon Poppy Seed Tea Bread

Rating: 4.0/5
( 2 voted )
Serves: 8 Prep Time: Cooking Time: Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons blue poppy seeds
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup white granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Grease and line with parchment an 4x8 loaf pan.
  3. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Whisk buttermilk, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.
  5. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer.
  6. Using the paddle attachment, cream together until fluffy - about 3 minutes.
  7. Add eggs, one at a time - scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.
  8. Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk mixtures with the stand mixer on medium.
  9. Turn the mixer off to scrape down the bowl between additions.
  10. Add lemon zest and poppy seeds and combine well.
  11. Pour batter into loaf pan and place in oven.
  12. Bake for 55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  13. Allow tea bread to sit on wire rack for 10 minutes in the pan.
  14. Remove from loaf pan and place on parchment paper lined cooling rack.
  15. Mix the last 1/4 cup lemon juice with 1/2 cup white granulated sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  16. Carefully spoon the lemon/sugar mixture over the top of the lemon poppy seed tea bread
  17. Allow bread to cool completely before slicing. I sprinkled Sanding Sugar on top of the lemon/sugar solution for extra crunch.


THE LOVE: Use fresh lemon juice. The fake stuff won't cut it!