A deceptively healthy lemon poppy seed loaf cake made with whole grain flour, Greek yogurt, and extra virgin olive oil!

Whole Grain Olive Oil Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf with Meyer Lemon Glaze

Ok, so I have a little bit of a confession today. I looked in the recipe archives and discovered that it has been nearly two years since I shared a loaf or quick bread recipe with you. No, just no.

Quick breads, loafs, and loaf cakes were my favorite baked good to make when I was growing up. I don’t know whether it was because they were easy to make or simply satisfying to create, but whenever I was stressed out in high school, I would promptly head into the kitchen and stress-bake loaves. By the way, this apple oatmeal breakfast bread was a repeat favorite.

The act of pulling out containers of flour, sifting ingredients, and losing myself in a cookbook recipe was the perfect amount of distraction from whatever (probably not quite as dire as it seemed) situation I was facing.

Whole Grain Olive Oil Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

There’s nothing that a therapeutic stress-bake session won’t fix. If any of those baked goods involve Meyer lemons, which peak at this time of year, the more the merrier.

So, today I’m taking a break from recipe development, giving someone else the reins, and sharing a beautiful olive oil poppy seed loaf from the Sweet and Tart cookbook that arrived on my doorstep months ago. The cookbook, written by Carla Snyder, immediately caught my attention – and admiration and love – because it is all about citrus.

Literally, 70 recipes which put citrus front and center.

Sweet and Tart Cookbook

If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you know that my citrus obsession is real.

I went through gallons of grapefruit juice as a kid, put lemon and lime juice in practically everything, and combine orange with chocolate whenever possible. I have lemons and limes on hand at all times. Citrus fruits are flavor powerhouses for all savory and sweet foods, and you won’t find me without them.

So, this cookbook was made for me. It is a gorgeously designed cookbook with food photography that makes you lose yourself in the pages. Stunning, clean, and accessible.

Every single recipe has caught my attention, but I instantly gravitated towards the olive oil poppy seed loaf with lemon glaze. The best part? It’s actually pretty healthy! 

Whole Grain Olive Oil Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf with Meyer Lemon Glaze

It is 100% whole grain, and uses Greek yogurt and extra virgin olive oil! The original recipe called for unbleached all-purpose flour and I decided to sub in whole wheat pastry flour to make it more nutritious. Because why not?

Whole wheat pastry flour is made from soft white wheat (not to be confused with regular whole wheat flour, which is made with hard red wheat), so it has a much lower gluten percentage than traditional whole wheat flour. It is my favorite alternative to all-purpose flour in baked goods, because it yields tender cakes – while still adding the same nutritional benefits.

It worked beautifully, because this lemon cake was still tender as can be. It would definitely be fluffier and more traditional with all-purpose flour (feel free to use it!), but I would never have known this loaf cake was 100% whole grain if I hadn’t made and baked it myself.

Once the loaf cake has finished baking, you pierce the top of the still-warm loaf with a wooden skewer (I used wooden kebab stick) and pour the lemon glaze over the top. Love, love, love.

Whole Grain Olive Oil Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf with Meyer Lemon Glaze

To make it more seasonal, I swapped in my favorite Meyer lemons for regular lemons.

love using Meyer lemons at this time of year, because they are a bit sweeter and so much juicier than traditional lemons – thanks to their extra thin rinds.

With that being said, this loaf would be great with every citrus fruit you can imagine – Cara Cara oranges, lime, blood orange, or grapefruit would be just as good!

Whole Grain Olive Oil Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf with Meyer Lemon Glaze

Whole Grain Olive Oil Poppy Seed Loaf with Meyer Lemon Glaze

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A deceptively healthy lemon poppy seed cake made with whole wheat pastry flour, Greek yogurt, and extra virgin olive oil! To finish, this loaf cake is drizzled with a sweet Meyer lemon glaze.


Olive Oil-Poppy Seed Loaf Cake:

  • cups (180 g) whole wheat pastry flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 cup (225 g) whole-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • ½ cup (120 mL) high-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Meyer Lemon Glaze:

  • ¾ cup (90 g) powdered sugar sifted
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh Meyer Lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) heavy cream
  • Meyer lemon zest for decorating


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) with a rack in the center position. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper - allowing it to overhang the sides for easy lifting.
  • Whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment (or alternatively, using a hand-held mixer), beat the granulated sugar, Meyer lemon zest, Meyer lemon juice, and yogurt on medium speed until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the olive oil and beat until creamy. Turn the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, mixing until just absorbed. Scrape down the bottom of the bowl with a spatula once or twice as needed to ensure the ingreidents are mixed properly. Add the poppy seeds and mix until distributed evenly.
  • Transfer the batter into the lined loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 to 7 minutes, then lift from the pan using the parchment paper sling. Set upright on a rack while you prepare the glaze.
  • Prepare the Glaze: Combine the sifted powdered sugar, Meyer lemon juice, adn cream in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
  • Set the loaf on the rack over a lined baking sheet to catch any glaze drips. Poke holes in the top of the cake with a wooden skewer and pour half of the glaze over the top of the warm cake. Once the cake has cooled completely, pour the remaining glaze over the top and let it set slightly. Garnish the top with Meyer lemon zest. Wrap leftovers well and store at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.

Tips for Success:

  • Feel free to use regular lemons or any other winter citrus. Oranges, Cara Cara oranges, or blood oranges would also work really well as flavor variations for this loaf!
  • The original recipe called for unbleached all-purpose flour and this loaf will work perfectly with it too, or you could use 50% all-purpose flour and 50% whole wheat pastry flour.
Barely adapted and published with permission from the Sweet and Tart cookbook by Carla Synder (Chronicle Books, 2015).
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 336kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 190mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 26g