Lemon and Poppyseed Cake

Baking is my happy place. It genuinely brings me joy, peace, and 'me' time.

Some mums like to bake with their children, but if I'm being completely honest it doesn't really give me that 'zen' feeling! Watching three boys spill, drip, drop and pour all over my kitchen is lovely... but it must be contained.

Below is my recipe for Lemon Poppyseed Cake, a simple afternoon treat for the (mostly) adults. So, sorry kids, not this time!

Makes 12-16


a 24cm ring mould greased and dusted with flour
85g unsalted butter at room temperature
24g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 1/2 unwaxed lemons
15g poppyseeds plus extra to decorate
165ml whole milk
235g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 egg whites

Lemon Syrup
freshly squeezed juice and zest of 1 lemon
50g caster sugar

Lemon Glaze
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
250g icing sugar, sifted


Preheat over to 170°C (325°F)

Put the butter, sugar, lemon zest and poppyseeds in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until all ingredients are well incorporated. Slowly add the milk and continue to beat until incorporated. Son't worry if the mixture looks slightly split.

In a seperate blow, 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 spatular after each addition. Beat thoroughly until all the ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy.

In a seperate bowl, whisk the off 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 30mins, 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 100ml water in a 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, place it on the cake stand, pour the glaze over it and decorate with poppyseeds.