Here’s a lovely little Lemon and Poppyseed Cake recipe, based on a pound cake by the venerable Rose Levy Beranbaum. A deep lemon flavour is achieved by using lemon zest in the batter itself, then poking lots of holes in the cake and drenching it with fresh lemon syrup. Ideally, the cake is soaked in the syrup overnight for the greatest flavour.


Serves 8-10         Difficulty: Easy


·      Medium loaf tin (21 x 11 x 6cm; 8.3 x 4.3 x 2.4 in)

·      Electric mixer / stand mixer

·      Spatula

·      Small saucepan

·      Small bowl

·      Oven thermometer

·      Kitchen timer

·      Kitchen scales

·      Wire rack

·      Pastry brush



·      185g (6.5 oz) Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature

·      45ml (1.6 fl oz) Whole Milk, at room temperature

·      3 large Eggs, lightly beaten

·      1 ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract

·      100g (3.4 oz) Plain Flour

·      50g (1.8 oz) Cornflour

·      150g (5.3 oz) Caster Sugar

·      ¼ teaspoon Baking Powder

·      1/3 teaspoon Salt

·       Zest of ½ a Lemon

·      30g (1 oz) Poppy Seeds


·      75g (2.7 oz) Caster Sugar

·      ¼ cup fresh Lemon Juice approximately (1-2 fresh squeezed lemons)


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 fan-forced; 350 F). Grease the loaf tin with non-stick spray.
  • In a small bowl stir together the milk, eggs and vanilla.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer add the plain flour, cornflour, caster sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and poppy seeds.
  • On low speed, beat in the softened butter. Pour in half of the egg mixture. Increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  • On medium speed pour in half of the remaining egg mixture. Beat for 20 seconds. Add the remainder and beat for another 20 seconds.
  • Check oven has reached the correct temperature. Set kitchen timer for 50 minutes. Scrape the cake batter into the greased loaf tin and smooth the top with the spatula.
  • Place cake tin on the middle rack of the oven. The cake is done when the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If not ready, add another 5 minutes to the timer and repeat process until done.
  • Remove cake from the oven. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes in the pan then place it right side up on a cooling rack.
  • While the cake is still hot prepare the lemon syrup. In a small saucepan add the caster sugar and lemon juice. Stir on medium heat until the sugar has fully dissolved.
  • Use a skewer to poke many deep holes in the warm cake. Brush all of the warm lemon syrup over the top, sides, and base of the cake. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap to seal in the syrup. Store the cake in an airtight container for 24 hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum



  • If you can’t possibly wait 24 hours for the syrup to soak in that’s fine. The syrup won’t have made it deeper through the cake, but it will still taste great
  • Store cake at room temperature in an airtight container
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