Sunday baking: Easy orange and poppy seed cake

2 Jun

Cape Town is wet and cold and everyone’s high on hot chocolate, so what better time to whip up a cake? This orange and poppy seed cake is not overly sweet, so it goes really well with a sweet hot drink, like rooibos tea. The original recipe is by David Herbert (a master chef by the way), I changed it slightly by adding cream cheese icing (which I didn’t actually do myself but I highly recommend adding icing as it needs that extra bit of richness to round it off). I don’t usually share recipes or anything other than design and art, but… need to taste this cake – it’s absolutely heavenly.

batter1 batter 354


oh! sneaked (snuck?) in my welcome felt place mat in the background there… it’s all about subliminal marketing.



…and yes that’s also my artichoke napkin curling around the plate.



½ cup poppy seeds

¾ cup milk

juice from ½ lemon

250g butter (softened)

1 cup muscovado sugar

grated zest of 1 orange

1 tsp orange essence

4 eggs

2 cups cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (banking soda)

pinch of salt

{soak the poppy seeds in the milk and lemon juice for 1-2 hours. Preheat the oven to 180˚C or 350˚F. Grease a 25 cm cake tin. Beat the butter, muscovado sugar, orange essence and orange zest with an electric mixer until fluffy and pale. Beat the eggs in one at a time, alternating with a little flour, until combined. Sift together the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt  then fold into the mixture. Gentle stir in the poppy seed mixture until smooth and combined (try not to eat the batter at this stage – it is delicious and you shouldn’t eat raw batter!).

Spoon the batter into the cake tin and bake for 55- 60min or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 5min, turn upside down onto a large plate or cake stand and brush with HOT orange syrup – see below. Leave to cool completely before spreading cream cheese icing on top}


Juice of 3 oranges

½ cup castor sugar

{combine the juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then gently simmer for 5 min}

Cream cheese icing (frosting):

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 125g (¾ cup) icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

{Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and lemon zest in a bowl until smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until well combined. Stir in the lemon juice}.

One Response to “Sunday baking: Easy orange and poppy seed cake”


  1. Orange Poppy Seed Cake - Can't Stay Out Of The Kitchen - July 16, 2013

    […] Sunday baking: Easy orange and poppy seed cake […]


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