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Lemon and poppy seed cake

A moist, tangy cake that is perfect with your afternoon cup of tea.


  • 85 g unsalted butter at room temperature

  • 245 g caster sugar grated zest of 1½ unwaxed lemons

  • 15 g poppy seeds. plus extra to decorate

  • 165 ml whole milk

  • 235 g plain flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 3 egg whites

lemon syrup

  • freshly squeezed juice and zest of

  • 1 lemon

  • 50 g caster sugar

lemon glaze

  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

  • 250 g icing sugar, sifted

  • a 24 - cm ring mould greased and dusted with flour


Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3 .

lemons Put the butter sugar, lemon zest and poppy seeds in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated (don't worry if the mixture looks slightly split) Slowly add the milk and continue to beat until incorporated (don't worry if the mixture looks slightly split) In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 additions scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition Beal thoroughly until all the ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a handheld electric whisk until stiff peaks form.

Using a metal spoon, fold the whisked egg whites into the cake mixture until well mixed but do not overmix. Pour into the prepared ring mould and smooth over with a palette knife Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched .

For the lemon syrup:

While the cake is baking, put the lemon juice and zest, sugar and 100 ml water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over low heat Raise the heat and boil until it has reduced by half or until it has a thin syrup consistency When the hot cake comes out of the oven, pour the syrup all over the top Leave to cool slightly in the mould before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely

For the lemon glaze:

Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar in a bowl until smooth. It should be thick but pourable-add a little water or more sugar to thin or thicken as necessary When the cake is cold put it on a cake stand, pour the glaze over it and decorate with poppy seeds.


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