This beautiful old-fashioned lemon poppyseed cake is a favourite of ours for afternoon tea. It is a simple all-in-one recipe that is very easy to make and utterly delicious.
We played with various different recipes, but in the end decided that we like this old-fashioned plain cake. The flavour is delicate and gently lemony. It brings to mind comforting afternoon teas with my grandma.
Although the cake is plain, it is definitely not dry. It has a lemon glaze that soaks into the cake, rather like a lemon drizzle cake. If you prefer, you can use the lemon frosting that we use on our Lemon Layer Cake. This frosting makes the cake more decadent in appearance.
In some recipes, people are more heavy with the glaze, using three times the amount we use. However, I find that the lemon just becomes overwhelming. I like this more subtle flavour with the occasional bursts of lemon. Beautiful.
Poppy seeds are lovely in baking. They have a delicate flavour that goes
particularly well with lemon. Soaking the seeds first brings out the
flavour more. If you don't soak them, they taste fine, but they are more
crunchy and somehow less an integral part of the cake.
Poppy seeds are rich in various minerals including calcium and magnesium. They also contain high levels of vitamin B. So apart from being absolutely delicious, I always feel as though I am eating something approaching good for me. :-)
Time: 2 1/2 hours including baking
For the cake:
1/4 cup (60ml) milk
1/4 cup (40g) poppyseeds
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 (270g) cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 cup (225g) butter, softened
3/4 cup (170g) caster (fine) sugar
2 large eggs
For the glaze:
2 1/2 tablespoons (40g) fine sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon poppyseed cake is delicious for a simple afternoon tea just on its own with a nice black tea like Earl Grey or English Breakfast.
If you serve it as part of a full spread, try serving it with cucumber sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches and egg mayonnaise sandwiches. English tea scones would work well and it's divine to serve toasted pikelets alongside this spread. Serve with any black tea, or if you prefer herb tea, fresh mint works really well.