Lemon and poppy seed loaf

Put Purim's poppy seeds into this zesty bake


Photo: Inbal Bar-Oz

  • place PRE 10 minutes
  • place COOK 40 minutes (approx)
  • place SERVES 6 - 8
  • printicon

A classic combo of poppy seeds and lemon make this zingy bake with its double wammy of lemon syrup and icing. Prefer it less zesty? Skip the syrup and just use the icing.


  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C regular. Line a 2lb loaf tin with a liner or grease and flour the tin.

  • Mix the self-raising flour, sugar, salt, lemon zest and poppy seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. In a separate small bowl or jug mix the milk, eggs and vanilla extract.

  • Add the butter and half the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl. Mix at medium speed for 30 seconds. Stop mixing and add the remaining wet ingredients. Mix for 15 seconds.

  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50-55 mins until a cake tester or toothpick comes out dry.

  • About 45 minutes into the baking time, prepare the lemon syrup by heating the lemon juice, 2 tbsp water and icing sugar in a small pan. Stir, bring to a gentle boil and simmer for about 5 minutes until syrupy.

  • Place the cake (in the tin) onto a wire rack and leave to cool for 5 minutes, then pour the lemon syrup all over the cake and brush over the top. Wait for the syrup to set – about 10-15 minutes – then remove it from the tin and continue to cool on the rack. Once fully cooled remove the baking parchment and transfer the loaf to a plate.

  • Prepare the icing by mixing the lemon juice, icing sugar and milk in a small bowl. It should be quite thick but liquid enough to pipe. Add a few more drops of lemon or milk if too thick.

  • Transfer the icing to a piping bag and cut a small hole at the end. Drizzle the icing over the cake. It dries quite fast so only make the icing once the cake is cool and on the serving plate.

  • Serve at room temperature. Keeps well for 3-4 days in an air-tight container.

    Instagram: Silvia_Nacamulli

First published in the JC March 2022


150g self-raising flour
150g caster sugar
¼ tsp salt
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp poppy seeds
50ml full fat milk
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
180g unsalted butter, softened
Lemon syrup:
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp icing sugar
Lemon icing:
1 tsp lemon juice
50g icing sugar sieved
1 - 1 ½ tsp milk

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