Lemon and poppy seed cake

Lemon and poppy seed cake

By
From
How I cook
Makes
6–8 slices
Photographer
Jason Lowe

This is a good cake to have up your sleeve, perfect for any time of day – I once ate it for breakfast. Soft and creamy in feel, the poppy seeds provide a slight crunch for a pleasing contrast in texture.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus a little melted butter to grease
275g plain white flour, plus extra to dust
175g caster sugar
3 unwaxed lemons, finely grated zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
35g poppy seeds
21/2 teaspoons baking powder
230ml whole milk
4 organic free-range large egg whites

Icing

Quantity Ingredient
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
300g icing sugar

To finish

Quantity Ingredient
1-2 lemons, finely pared zest

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a loaf tin, approximately 20 x 11cm, with baking parchment, brush the parchment and sides of the tin lightly with melted butter, then dust with a little flour.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together, using a hand-held electric mixer, until pale and smooth. Add the lemon zest, vanilla extract and poppy seeds, and sift the flour and baking powder together over the mixture. Stir once or twice, then pour in the milk and stir briefly again – you should have a smooth, homogenised batter.
  3. Whisk the egg whites in a clean, separate bowl until soft peaks form. Fold a third into the cake mixture, using a large metal spoon, then carefully fold in the rest.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1¼ hours, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
  5. To make the icing, warm the lemon juice in a small saucepan, add the icing sugar and stir until smooth. Pour the icing over the cake, spread to cover the top and allow it to drizzle down the sides. Scatter the lemon zest over the surface, to cover generously.
  6. Leave the cake to stand for about 15 minutes before cutting, to allow the icing to set.
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