Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

One Of The Greats

Afternoon tea, cake sales, summer fetes, the local coffee shop, all of these places have at least one thing in common, you’re guaranteed to find some form of lemon drizzle/poppyseed cake on offer.


No self-respecting baker would be without such a baking classic in their repertoire (owning 15+ loaf tins, I have baked many varieties & versions of lemon loaf of  in each).


The perfect partner to a cup of tea. That brief incomparable moment of respite that can only be induced by the custom of tea & cake. Lemon loaves have an air of nostalgia about them, many have baked them for others (not alwasys), many have closely guarded family recipes, everyone who owns a cookbook has a recipe for one somewhere. There’s something about this sweet, citrus filled cake that makes it a true crowd pleaser.


My version of this classic citrus cake is the resulting attempt at using up leftover ingredients (a sunday ritual in my kitchen). It’s beautifully crumbed, fresh & zesty, with the added nuttiness & distinguished texture of poppy seeds. It’s wonderful aroma in the oven makes this a very satisfying loaf to make that all will enjoy.



(makes one 2lb loaf)


  • 225g butter
  • 190g caster sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp poppy seeds (toasted)*
  • zest x3 lemons
  • 4 eggs

*to toast the poppy seeds, spread them out onto a lipped baking tray & place into the preheated oven for 10 minutes, allow to cool fully before using

For the syrup:

  • Juice of x2 lemons
  • 50g caster sugar

For the topping:

  • Juice of x1 lemon
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds


  • Grease & line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment
  • In a large bowl cream together the butter, cream & caster sugar
  • Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time & thoroughly combine
  • Combine the lemon zest, flour, baking powder & add to the mixture
  • Stir through the toasted poppy seeds
  • Pour the mixture into the loaf tin & bake at 180°C for 1 hour, until it turns a golden brown colour & a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean when removed
  • Whilst the cake is baking, make the syrup by placing the lemon juice & sugar into a small saucepan set over a low heat
  • Once all of the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat until the mixture begins to bubble & thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat immediately
  • Once baked, remove the cake from the oven & use a skewer to make holes throughout it
  • Carefully spoon the syrup mixture over the cake whilst still warm
  • Allow the cake to cool in its tin for 10 minutes before removing & allowing to cool fully on a cooling rack
  • Once cooled, make the icing by combining the lemon juice & icing sugar, adding enough or more of each to make a pourable consistency
  • Drizzle the icing over the cake before sprinkling over the remaining poppy seeds



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