I recently spent time at my parents’ house and thought I’d make a traditional lemon and poppy seed cake. It turns out that poppy seeds in rural Shropshire are treated like the Magna Carta, rare and incredibly difficult to get hold of. My family came up with multiple theories to explain the lack of the little black seed and we settled on the farfetched explanation that it must be because of heroin smuggling. I’m still not convinced on that one…
Eventually, I found a health food shop which sold the caviar of the cake world. I’m pleased to say it was well worth the effort and tasted great with a cuppa.
- 50g poppy seeds
- 185ml warm milk
- 220g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 300g self-raising flour
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 lemon, rind grated, juiced
For the Icing
- 200g full fat cream cheese
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 lemon, zested
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and line a loaf tin.
- Combine the poppy seeds and milk in a bowl and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Combine the caster sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs. Fold in the flour gradually, alternate with the poppy seed and milk mix. Finally stir in lemon rind (if you like your cakes really lemony then add the zest of another lemon). Pour into the tin and bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
- To make the icing beat the cream cheese in a bowl. Sift in the icing sugar. Add half of the zest and beat well until smooth. Spread onto the cooled cake and top with the remaining zest.
Directions for use:Why not serve with Homemade Ginger Beer and get really into the zesty spirit?!