Lemon and poppy seed cake
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.
MAKES 1 X 900G LOAF OR 9 MINIS
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.