It’s winter and the sun is out; we have bags of oranges, lemons and mandarins given to us by family members (both sides) and it’s a long weekend (thanks, Queen Elizabeth II)! Time to make me some cake. And with all this citrus I figured an orange cake was on the cards.

I had made a poppy seed cake a while ago but was disappointed with the result. So I was curious to see what difference the addition of orange would make. And with poppy seeds already in the pantry, along with almond meal and fresh oranges, the only purchase necessary was cream cheese for the icing.

Apart from the excuse to eat cream cheese frosting, what thrills me about this recipe is that there is no beating required (aside from the icing). Just melt and mix. Now, that’s my kind of cake!


The only potential downside of this method might be a slightly heavier crumb. But this didn’t stop Mum, Dad and Alex going back for seconds when we met for coffee this afternoon! Nor me after dinner tonight! I think it’s the crunch of poppy seeds,  the lemon-creamy frosting, the flavour of butter and the scent of orange that all combines to keep you coming back for more!

Orange Poppy Seed Cake

Prep time: 30 min +
Total cooking time: 1 hour
Serves 8 – 10 


185g (6 ½ oz/1 ½ cups) self-raising flour
35g (1 ¼ oz/1/3 cup) ground almonds
40g (1 ½ oz/1/4 cup) poppy seeds
185g (6 ½ oz) unsalted butter
145g (5 ½ oz/2/3 cup) caster sugar (superfine) sugar
80g (2 ¾ oz/1/4 cup) apricot jam or marmalade
2-3 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
80ml (2 ½ fl oz/1/3 cup) orange juice
3 eggs, lightly beaten 


Cream cheese icing (frosting)
100g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, softened
100g (3 ½ oz) cream cheese, softened
125g (4 ½ oz/1 cup) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon lemon juice or natural vanilla extract 


1     Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Lightly grease a deep 20cm (8 in) round cake tin and line with baking paper.
2     Sift the flour into a bowl and add the almonds and poppy seeds. Make a well in the centre.
3     Place the butter, sugar, jam, orange zest and juice in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until the mixture is smooth. Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until smooth. Add the egg and whisk.
4     Pour into the tin and bake for 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
5     To make the icing, beat the butter and cream cheese using electric beaters until smooth. Add the icing sugar and lemon juice or vanilla extract and beat until thick. Spread the icing over the cake. Decorate with orange zest, if desired.

0 thoughts on “Orange Poppy Seed Cake”

  1. Hi Ali, I am making this cake today, as part of a 6 tiered cake for our church’s 6th birthday! I am covering the cream cheese layer in fondant icing and then decorating … :/ I hope it works! x

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