Lemon Poppy Cake

Good day my fellow inmates, I hope this lockdown is treating you well. Personally, I am thriving and blessed, I have a roof over my head, a comfy bed and food in my belly. In fact, I have so much food in my belly, your girl has gained weight, probably my heaviest but that just means your girl is throwing it down in the kitchen (and not exercising, hey shut up don’t judge me). 

Ok, forget that, what is a bitch baking today? Lemon Poppy Cake!!!! This here cake is a heavy hitter in my arsenal that I have not made in a crazy long time, but now it is back. Sidenote: should I change my blog name to “what is a bitch baking today”? I feel like this is a vibe. Ok, let’s get into todays bake and I’ll babble on later.

Cake glass

What’s that cake do?

Dat Cake

3 cups (350g) cake flour

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/4 cup (45g) Poppy Seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup full cream milk

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 zested medium lemon

1 teaspoon lemon extract (or zest of two additional lemons)

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 cup (250g) margarine 

2 cups white sugar

3 large eggs

Dat Syrup

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Dat `glaze

1 cup icing sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Cake and wine

Whats “Pop-pin”

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and set the rack in the middle. Grease a bundt pan and dust entire pan with sugar.
  • In a small bowl, mix milk, vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon zest set aside for 5 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together flour, poppy seeds, salt and bicarbonate of soda.
  • In a large bowl, beat margarine and sugar together until pale and fluffy 
  • Beat eggs one at a time into margarine until fully incorporated.
  • Mix in 1/3 of flour and followed by 1/2 milk mixture, alternate once fully incorporated. 
  • Spoon the batter into a prepared pan and gently bang the pan against a counter top to remove air bubbles and smooth out the top of the cake.
  • Bake in the centre of the middle rack for 65 – 75 minutes until the top is golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.  
  • Allow the cake to cool completely on a rack before removing from the bundt pan.


  • In a small pan over medium heat make the syrup by bringing water and sugar to a boil, remove from heat and mix in lemon juice.
  • While the syrup is still warm, liberally brush syrup over cake and allow to absorb.


  • Sift icing sugar into a small bowl, gradually adding lemon juice to your preference of thickness of glaze. 
  • Allow glaze to harden prior to slicing cake to serve.

Cake close up

How you like them lemons

Ok, before we get into it, I need to admit, I don’t like cakes. Sometimes even the ones I make. Listen, I don’t even know how to clearly articulate my beef because there are so many just annoying things about cakes.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for cake, its just not an everyday vibe for me and I guess thats why I don’t make them often.

Lockdown has surprisingly afforded me an opportunity to rethink my view on cakes and give them another chance. The stores running out of bread flour, staying with my sister who has scant baking supplies or equipment, and curiosity has led me to explore simple variations to both common and new experiments.

Many moons ago, lemon poppy was one of those cakes I loved making. It tastes of sunshine and is a cake that refuses to be ignored. It has a simple but beautiful aesthetic when made in a bundt pan, and one of the benefits of a bundt is that it’s beautiful on its own, and craves little adornment. A simple glaze and some creative thinking leads you to a cake which is both visually appealing, and easy on the palate. 

Sister #2 had her birthday during lockdown and a basic bitch like me wanted to make it special and fun and amazing… that went out the window quick. Not only are we not permitted to travel nor buy non-essential items; a hoe was also broke as a joke. Listen, I cant fix all of these things, but I sure can make a girl a lemon poppy cake for her birthday. 

Making this cake was super affordable and easy to make, using many of the common items found in the fridge or from a quick run to the grocery store. Yes, I am aware that poppy seeds aren’t readily available in some stores, it was my sisters birthday ok so a lil summ’n summ’n is permitted. Also, I already had a big ol’ bag of seeds in my cupboard. Ain’t got no poppy seeds? Skip that. 

Another thing that may not be readily available is lemon essence. I have seen it in many stores, but I must admit, it’s not absolutely everywhere which is easily overcome by using the zest of three lemons. This is the easiest way to make the cake in fact, I only used the essence because a while back I made my own and wanted to see how it would taste. Verdict, I’m happy. 

Flavour was an absolute winner. It is simple and fresh and the simple glaze allowed the cake an opportunity to show off. Not all cakes are meant to be coated in icing, but if you are that guy, you could substitute the glaze for mascarpone frosting. 

The lemon syrup enabled the cake to stay extremely moist, it’s not a deal breaker but it does extend your cakes shelf life after it has been cut. Not only does it keep your cake moist, it adds an additional layer of lemony flavour. 

Summary of this cake, my mother ate it (she’s not a fan of sweet things), my sisters enjoyed it, my nephew had more than his fair share of slices and my brother-in-law devoured it. All-in-all, I the cake hater, love it and will add it to my favourite cake arsenal and have more fun making it. 

Aite boo, go get to baking. 

P.S. I really have no idea what I am doing when it comes to food photography, so apologies for the utter lack of photos, it was an absolute shit show.