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Poppyseed and Lemon Cake

Light, simple to make and filled with the delicious taste of zingy lemon, this cake is the perfect tea-time treat.

From the book


This light creamed sponge is so good it only needs a simple dusting of icing sugar before serving, and it gets better the longer it is kept. For the best results the butter should be soft – not oily or runny – so remove it from the fridge a couple of hours before starting. If you forget you can soften the butter in the microwave for 8-10 seconds, but don’t let it start to melt.

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225g unsalted butter, softened
finely grated zest of 1 medium unwaxed lemon
225g caster sugar
4 medium free-range eggs, at room temperature
100g ground almonds
100g self-raising flour
2 tbsp poppyseeds
icing sugar, for dusting

Essential kit

You will need a 20.5cm springclip tin, greased and base-lined.
You will need an an electric mixer.


You will need 1 x 20.5cm spring-clip tin, greased and base-lined.

Heat your oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ gas mark 4. Put the soft butter into a large mixing bowl, add the lemon zest and beat with an electric mixer for a minute until creamy. (If you’re using a hand-held mixer, set the bowl on a damp cloth so it doesn’t wobble.)

Gradually beat in the sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the sugar has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl then beat for a further 2-3 minutes until the mixture looks paler in colour and lighter in texture.

Put the eggs in a small bowl and beat with a fork, just to mix. Gradually add to the sugar mixture (roughly a tablespoonful at a time), beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time. To prevent the mixture from curdling add a tablespoon of ground almonds with each of the last 2 additions of beaten egg.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl once again, then sift the rest of the ground almonds and the flour over the egg mixture. Carefully and thoroughly fold them in using a large metal spoon. When you can no longer see any streaks of flour add the poppyseeds and gently fold in.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared tine and spread evenly. Place in the heated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and the top springs back when gently pressed in the centre.

Set the tin on a wire rack. Carefully run a round-bladed knife around the sponge to loosen it from the tin, then unclip the side and leave to cool. Once cold remove the sponge from the tin and dust with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.

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