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Lemon and poppy seed cake for two

There’s evidence showing that the Hul Gil or “joy plant” was first cultivated in lower Mesopotamia around 3,400 B.C.

Its use as a recreational and medicinal substance apparently was well known in ancient Egypt where it was used amongst other things as a mild sedative for teething toddlers.

Poppies, its resin, seeds and by-products were part of the many products sold across the vast silk road.

Poppies seeds.png

But poppy seeds have been an essential ingredient for many breads, cakes and pastries in eastern Europe cuisine.

Although I have not yet found the moment when poppy seeds became popular in British baking, I wonder if it happened after Victorian times as Opium Dens seemed to have gained poppies quite an obscure reputation.

This rather innocent iced cake is a scaled down-low fat treat for two. I constantly adjust recipes to make just enough for two as we have a sweet tooth but don’t want to have the same dessert for a whole week.

This cake is moist, zingy and fresh, you can make a single cake, bake in muffin tins or scale up as it really a nice treat to finish a meal or as an afternoon pick-me-up.

To make a small cake you will need:

  • 100g white flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1/5 tbsp poppy seeds
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the icing

  • The juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 cup icing sugar



Preheat the oven at 180C

lemon and poppy seed batter

Use the all in one method and in a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the cake using a whisker until they’re perfectly combined.

Grease and dust a small baking dish of the shape of your choice, just make sure it’s small enough to get a good rise and “big” enough for the batter to fit.

Make sure to place the dish at the middle of the rack and at the central level to make sure it cooks evenly.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until its ready, it could take less time.

Let it cool completely.

lemon and poppy seed cake

Make the icing by mixing the lemon juice and icing sugar, it should be a rather thick icing to form a nice crust on the cake.

Unmould and decorate.

It’s best to leave it at room temperature until eating.


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