Lemon And Poppy Seed Cake

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Lemon And Poppy Seed CakeDelia Smith calls this recipe “the definitive Lemon Drizzle cake”.  A lot of lemons are used – and there’s almost as much drizzle as cake, so it’s very lemony and syrupy.  You can either make this in a round or oblong cake tin.  It’s really whatever you prefer to use.  The cake will last for about a week at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It also freezes well. It’s best to allow the cake to rest for at least one day before serving as it’s very moist when it first comes out of the oven.  This cake is good to prepare a couple of days before and take with you on a picnic when the weather feels warmer.

Lemon And Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon, Poppy Seeds & Eggs

Lemon And Poppy Seed Cake

Poppy Seeds Added to Cake Mixture

I didn’t really know very much about poppy seeds so I did some research and found that they come from the the opium poppy and have been harvested by various civilisations for thousands of years. The seed is mentioned in ancient medical texts. For instance, poppy seeds have long been used as a folk remedy to aid sleeping, promote fertility or wealth. They’re even supposed to provide magical powers of invisibility!  I don’t think this happened when I ate a slice of this cake – perhaps you need to ingest quite a lot of the seeds before any of the remedies work!

Lemon And Poppy Seed Cake

Icing Sugar, Lemon Zest, Lemons

Lemon And Poppy Seed Cake

Topping Poured over Cake whilst still in its tin

I love the look of poppy seeds – so black and so many of them!  I feel I want to plant them rather than bake with them but once you add them to the creamy lemony mixture, they make the cake look ‘poppy’ and fun. Some people may not like the flavour of the seeds, so they can be omitted but its worth using these seeds occasionally for a different looking lemon cake.

Lemon And Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon And Poppy Seed Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 175g spreadable butter
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • grated zest of 2 large lemons
  • juice of one lemon
  • 40g poppy seeds
  • For the syrup
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 100g golden icing sugar, sifted
  • 50g golden granulated sugar
  • To finish:
  • 1 rounded teaspoon golden granulated sugar mixed with 1 rounded teaspoon poppy seeds
  1. Grease and line a 20cm loose-based round cake tin
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream or beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Gradually add the eggs one at a time then add the lemon zest and juice and beat well until we'll incorporated.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixing bowl and fold into the mixture until all flour is well mixed in.
  4. Finally fold in the poppy seeds.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the tin, levelling it with the back of the spoon.
  6. Bake at gas mark 3 near the centre of the oven for 40 minutes or until the centre feels springy.
  7. When the cake is ready, remove the tin from the oven to a board, then straight away
  8. mix together the syrup ingredients. If you feel you want a thicker syrup which is thicker and whiter just add more icing sugar.
  9. Next stab the cake all over with a skewer and spoon the syrup evenly over the hot cake
  10. Sprinkle with the sugar and poppy seed mixture over the top.
  11. The cake needs to cool in its tin before it can be removed and stored in an airtight container.
This is equally good made without the poppy seeds if you prefer.


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7 comments on “Lemon And Poppy Seed Cake

  1. eva

    baked 2 of these today & they failed, I am fair cook, 30 yrs experiance in baking cakes and theres no-thing wrong with my oven,
    I would say to much moisture, It needs less juice, little less butter and a tad more flour as it sank in the middle and then fell apart when I removed from tin.
    Tasted lovely though, I did’nt mind eating broken cake but the other was for my sister. so our family ended up eating both


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