Lemon and poppy seed cake

The Mail on Sunday - You - - Food Ottolenghi Sweet -

This light lemon cake is the one co - au­thor He­len says she’d take with her to a desert is­land. It’s much sim­pler than many of her favourites, but it’s the cake she re­turns to again and again. There’s some­thing re­as­sur­ing about it – as tra­di­tional and com­fort­ing as the cake you might have in a Na­tional Trust café.


75g un­salted but­ter, cubed, plus ex­tra for greas­ing 3 large eggs 225g caster sugar 120ml dou­ble cream 10g poppy seeds finely grated zest of 3 lemons (1 tbsp) 170g plain flour 1¼ tsp bak­ing pow­der ¼ tsp salt


100g ic­ing sugar, sifted 2 tbsp lemon juice

You can make this in a reg­u­lar 900g loaf tin, as we do here, or, if you have them, nine mini-loaf tins (9cm x 6cm x 4cm) also work well. Pre­heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease the loaf tin and line with bak­ing parch­ment, then set aside.

Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an elec­tric mixer and whisk on a medium-high speed for about 2 min­utes, un­til pale and frothy. Add the cream and con­tinue to whisk for about 2 min­utes, un­til the mix­ture has com­bined, thick­ened a lit­tle and turned pale.

In the mean­time, melt the but­ter in a small saucepan over a low heat, add the poppy seeds and lemon zest and set aside.

Sift the flour, bak­ing pow­der and salt to­gether in a bowl, then use a rub­ber spat­ula to fold this into the egg mix­ture be­fore fold­ing through the but­ter, poppy seeds and zest.

Spoon the mix­ture into the cake tin so that it rises three-quar­ters of the way up the sides. Place the tin on a bak­ing tray and cook for 50 min­utes or un­til a skewer in­serted in the cen­tre of the cake comes out clean. If you are mak­ing mini loaves, re­duce the time to 25 min­utes.

Make the glaze by whisk­ing the ic­ing sugar with the lemon juice in a bowl. Pour this over the top of the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven, spread­ing it over the top so that it sinks in and cre­ates a nice glaze. Set aside to cool for 30 min­utes be­fore re­mov­ing from the tin. Leave to come to room tem­per­a­ture be­fore serv­ing. This will keep for 3 days in an air­tight con­tainer.

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