I made this cake without the aid of Penelope, my mixer. I use her to do everything because it’s just so effective! Today, however, she stayed at my house while I visited Norman and mum. Faced with the prospect of no mixer and an urge to make a delicious cake, I decided to simply hand mix the ingredients.
I thought that I would begrudge it, but I really enjoyed it. I found that I paid so much more attention to what was going into the batter, and noticed the effect that certain ingredients had when they were added.
One of the things that I adore about this cake is the pooling of the icing. It reminds me of the kind of icing that my mother used to make when I was younger. It’s sweet and pure white and has subtle orange flavour throughout. Making it, I was slightly shocked by how vividly I remember eating icing very similar to this one as I sat, watching my mother put the final touches on her cake.
Lemon and poppy seed cake
- 220g butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 medium lemons, juiced
- 2 ½ cups plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarb
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- Zest of one orange
- 3-4 tbsp milk
- 2 cups icing sugar
Grease a 22cm ring tin and cut out a circle of baking paper that will fit over the base of a pan. Cut a hole in the middle of it so that it will fit nicely on the base of the tin. Preheat the oven the 180°C.
Cream together your butter and sugar. Add in your lemon juice and mix well (2 medium lemons should give you about half a cup of juice.)
Finally, spoon your poppy seeds into the mixture and mix until evenly distributed.
Pour the batter into your prepared tin and pop it into the oven for 60-70 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few crumbs on it. You don’t want it to come out completely clean, because the cake is supposed to be a little bit moist.
Set the cake aside to cool completely before icing.
The top of your cake will probably have cracked, but that’s okay. This cracking is perfect for the icing – it will pool in these crevices and seep into the cake.
This was the kind of icing that I adored before I discovered buttercream, it’s part glaze, part icing, it floats somewhere in the middle. It’s the perfect consistency; runny enough to ice the cake with very little effort on your part, but it’s also thick enough to hide all manner of sins.
This cake is like a little ray of sunshine to combat the chill in the air at the moment. While Norman thinks this is great heater weather, I think it’s prime time to get baking to shoo away the cold!