Sticky lemon and poppy seed cake

The Observer Food Monthly - - CONTENTS - Dan Lepard

This is one of those cakes you dream you’ll find in a cor­ner sand­wich bar but never (OK, rarely) do. Lemon zest goes into the cake, and a syrup of juice and sugar soaks the cake after­wards.

For the cake

caster sugar 225g un­salted but­ter 125g, soft­ened sun­flower oil 100ml lemons finely grated zest of 3 eggs 4 medium hot wa­ter 50ml plain flour 250g bak­ing pow­der 2 tsp fine oat­meal 75g, or rolled oats finely ground poppy seeds 30g

For the syrup

caster sugar 150g, plus ex­tra lemon juice 100ml


Line a deep 20cm square cake tin with non-stick bak­ing pa­per. Beat the sugar with the but­ter, oil and lemon zest un­til pale and fluffy then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Whisk the hot wa­ter into the mix­ture till smooth. Sift the flour and bak­ing pow­der 2 or 3 times, then toss the oat­meal and poppy seeds in with the flour (if you’re us­ing rolled oats, whizz them in a blender un­til finely ground) and beat this through the cake mix­ture.

Pour the bat­ter into the tin and bake at 180C/gas mark 4 for 40-50 min­utes or un­til a skewer in­serted comes out with just a few tiny moist crumbs stuck to it.

While the cake is still warm, make the lemon syrup by heat­ing the sugar with the lemon juice un­til dis­solved. Poke a skewer deep into the cake dozens of times, then spoon all of the syrup over it. Al­low to cool then dredge it with ex­tra caster sugar be­fore slic­ing.

Sticky lemon and poppy seed cake

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