THIS MUFFIN CHANGED MY LIFE. A pretty big statement for a baked good, but it is true. As I sit here and type this now, the gravity of it is really starting to set in.

Rewind to my first semester in college 12 years ago at CSU Sacramento. As I began the venture known as ‘higher education’ I walked the paths of that college campus with the weight of a lifetime of expectations on my shoulders. This was what I was “supposed” to be doing with my life now, but no matter how much I tried to convince myself, I just could not shake the emptiness I felt every day I stepped foot onto that campus.

I worked hard at fulfilling this college obligation, acing all of my classes, all the while knowing that my life’s purpose would be found elsewhere. Although those college days tolled an overwhelming dread on my soul, there was one little discovery that made every day I spent there ab-so-lute-ly worth it, the lemon poppy seed muffin.

The first time I tried a lemon poppy seed muffin was at the behest of my then boyfriend.  He insisted that it was the best muffin- but I had always been an almond poppy seed muffin fan so I was reluctant to believe he could be right. I finally took him at his word one day, bought a lemon poppy seed muffin and walked out to a nearby bench to eat it in the glow of the early morning sun. I un-wrapped the muffin, ate the bottom first, as I always did, and then came to the top, the best for last. Oh, what a joy to my soul it was!  The brightness of the lemon contrasted with the golden crisp outer crust that was kissed with just a bit of glaze…this muffin had just become my solace.

From that moment forward, every day I was on campus was started with this muffin.  What little money I had in my savings was slowly whittled away over the course of my college attendance as I invested it into my lemon poppy seed muffin solace.  CSU Sacramento and I only lasted 2 semesters however, as I finally broke free from the expectations that would have held me back from the true purpose of my life. There was one major regret I had about leaving college though…the lemon poppy seed muffins.  This muffin meant so much to me, but life was calling me in a new direction, and that meant I would have to leave my dear muffin behind.

Fast forward a bit, and I had married my soul mate, who at the knowledge of my longing for one of these muffins was willing to drive all the way to that college just for a lemon poppy seed muffin reunion. That is how down my hubby was. A little quick thinking and instead we made some phone calls to find out what bakery supplied the muffins to the college, surprisingly we found out the bakery was about 20 minutes from our house, so we made the trip, and were re-united with lemon poppy seed muffins bliss.

So at this point in the story you’re probably thinking it is all good now that we found the bakery responsible for the best muffin ever and we just lived happily ever after. Well, you thought wrong…that bakery eventually ended up changing ownership and like that, my dear muffin was gone, again.

The void was back. In order to fill it this time though, we would have to take matters into our own hands, and I was determined to find a recipe that could bring back the muffin in our very own kitchen. As I searched the internet for a lemon poppy seed solution I stumbled upon a recipe that stood out from all of the rest. It was not the ingredients or even the photos that caught my attention, it was the story behind the muffin that drew me in, I felt like I had just met someone else that had an understanding of how important this muffin was, like life altering important.  The person behind this story was Joy Wilson, officially known as, Joy the Baker.

Joy was the first food blogger I ‘met’, virtually of course, and it was this chance meeting that eventually led me to where I am today, typing this blog post. All these years later, after all of the blog following, there came a day when I realized that blogging was my destiny: to share a place with whoever comes across this virtual space and express all that I have learned about life, health, and of course food.

With all of that said, here we are. What started as a simple muffin that pulled me through a difficult time in my life has now brought me back full circle to what is now brought to completion.

So now begins the journey of ful-filled…I hope you will join me & eat some lemon poppy seed muffins…who knows? It just may change your life too:)


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 10 muffins


  • 125 g (14 tbsp) unsalted butter- room temperature
  • 175 g (1 cup) sugar (we use sucanat)
  • zest of 2-3 large lemons- about 8-12 g or 2-3tbsp (we use 3 large lemons)
  • 30 g (1.5 tbsp) honey
  • 30 g (3 tbsp) neutral cooking oil (we use avocado oil)
  • 3 large eggs- about 155 g
  • 2 g (1/4 tsp) fine grain salt
  • 10 g (1 tbsp) vanilla extract
  • 125 g (1/2 cup) sour cream (or substitute with yogurt)
  • 310 g (2 1/4 cup) gluten free pastry flour (see recipe & note below)
  • 10 g (1 tbsp) baking powder
  • 3 g (1/2 tsp) baking soda
  • 22 g (3 tbsp) poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (we use maple sugar)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 182 g superfine white rice flour
  • 47 g potato starch
  • 31 g tapioca starch
  • 31 g non fat dry milk powder
  • 19 g arrowroot starch


  • Preheat oven to 425F / 220C
  • Line a 12 muffin tin with 10 paper baking cups (fill the 2 empty ones 1/2 way with water)
  • In a bowl, add pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & poppy seeds & whisk until well combined.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter on low until lump free
  • Add sugar & lemon zest, mix until smooth
  • Add honey & avocado oil, mix until well combined
  • Add one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition
  • Add vanilla & sour cream, and mix until well combined
  • Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until well combined & portion evenly to fill 10 muffin cups.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and place muffins on a cooling rack.
  • While muffins cool, mix powdered sugar & lemon juice until well combined & smooth.
  • Brush glaze onto muffins with a pastry brush.
  • Once glaze is set (it will be dry to the touch) your muffins are ready for enjoyment :)


regular all purpose flour can be substituted by using 291 g (2 1/3 cup) flour & 19 g (2 tbsp) arrowroot starch

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Andi Nicole May 2, 2015, 7:25 am

    I am so excited to follow your journey through this blog! Those muffins look absulutely amazing. I will let you know once I try the myself. Question: does the water in the empty muffin space what makes the muffins moist? Is that the reasoning behind it?

    • bella May 19, 2015, 4:28 pm

      Thank you so much for your support Andi :)
      The water in the empty spaces of the muffin tins helps create steam in the oven while they bake- which does make the muffins moist as well as helps them rise nice and high!
      Let me know how they turn out for you if you ever try to bake them in your kitchen ;)

  • Kendra May 2, 2015, 9:12 pm

    Oh yum! The site looks beautiful! Congrats!

    • bella May 19, 2015, 4:30 pm

      Hello Kendra!
      Thank you so much for stopping by the blog for a visit! It was great to meet you and your husband at the instameet & I hope to spend time with you guys again in the future :)
      thank you again-
      bella <3

  • Eleni May 2, 2015, 9:54 pm

    Bela: Your photos, recipes, story all so beautiful. I will be trying your recipes. Your photos show the beauty of God’s wonderful foods. Thank you.

    • bella May 19, 2015, 4:33 pm

      Thank you so much for your support Eleni!
      We appreciate you very much <3 I hope you enjoy what you find here on the blog :)
      thank you again-
      bella <3

  • Jane W July 8, 2015, 12:23 pm

    Nice to see gluten-free! Yummy Thanks

    • bella July 9, 2015, 11:15 pm

      Thank you so much Jane :) I hope you enjoy them if you bake some!
      take care,
      <3 bella

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