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Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake

September 6, 2010

I’m writing this before I’ve even started to make this cake,  but I know I’ll be baking this. I don’t even like poppy seeds, I have an aversion to anything with even the vaguest aniseed hint: fennel, poppy seeds… etc.., I accidentally brought harissa with aniseed in the other day, and was horrified when I realised I had ‘spoiled’ a whole batch of homemade humous by stiring a teaspoon of it in. Who puts aniseed in harissa? I’m sure that’s not the traditional Turkish way.

However, I have a bag of poppy seeds in the cupboard, left over from making mohnstollen last christmas, they’ve even moved house with me, its time, its time to use them in something. Lemon and poppy seed is the classic combination, so lemon and poppy seed it is (or will be, in this case).

The recipe is from The Times website, it seems that Google will still bring up hits from their archives, so the firewall doesn’t quite cover everything. I wanted to make the recipe in my Hummingbird bakery book, but it calls for egg whites only, and I’m not going to have the time to use the yolks in anything.


So, this cake has been made, wrapped up in greasproof paper, foil and string and carried across the Atlantic. My poppy seeds were, unsurprisingly, stale, so the cake taste of lemon with the crunch of poppy seeds but little flavour. It still looked and tasted fabulous, and the method of this recipe is one to keep, it produced a cake with a perfect crust, which was light and fluffy on the inside.

I hope it was well enjoyed, I tried a tiny corner, then left it behind as I continued on my travels.


Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake

from The Times

100ml milk
3tbsp poppy seeds
150g butter
150g caster sugar
½tsp vanilla bean paste
3 eggs separated
150g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
zest of  2 lemons



150g caster sugar

Juice of 1 1/2  lemons


Oven temp: 180 C

Heat the milk until boiling, add the poppy seeds and leave to cool.

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time.

Fold in flour baking powder and salt. Stir in lemon zest, milk and poppy seeds.

Whisk the eggs whites until they form soft peaks, then fold into the mixture.

Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin, and bake for 30-40 mins.

For icing, stir lemon and sugar together, pour onto the cake immediately when it comes out of the oven, and leave in the tin to cool.

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