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Orange and Poppy Seed Cake

Category: food

This delicious orange and poppy seed cake is easy to make and best enjoyed with friends and family over a cuppa. Packed with citrus flavour, topped with creamy icing, and complete with crunchy poppy seeds, you’ll be craving them for days after your first bite! 


1. For the sponge: Place the oranges in a saucepan. Cover with water, bring to the boil, and then reduce to a steady simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the oranges and set aside to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) | 350F | gas 4. Grease and line the base of a 20 cm | 8" square cake tin with greaseproof paper.

3. Once the oranges have cooled, cut in half and discard the seeds. Cut the orange into pieces and place in a food processor. Blend on high until paste-like.

4. Combine the ground almonds, flour, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs with the salt in a separate mixing bowl, beating until foamy.

5. Gradually beat the sugar into the eggs until fully incorporated, 2-3 minutes. Fold in the flour mixture in three parts. Stir in the orange paste and the oil to make an even batter. Fold in the poppy seeds before spooning the batter into the prepared tin.

6. Bake for about 45-55 minutes until golden and dry to the touch on top; a cake tester should come out clean from its centre when ready. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

7. For the candied orange: Pare the zest from the oranges with a vegetable peeler. Cut into thin pieces and blanch in a saucepan of boiling water for 20 seconds. Drain and refresh in iced water.

8. Combine the sugar with 250 ml water in a heavy-based saucepan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes.

9. Drain the orange zest and add it to the syrup, simmering for 5 minutes. Cover and set off the heat until ready to serve.

10. For the buttercream: Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until pale and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the icing sugar in three separate additions until the buttercream is thick and even.

11. Add the orange juice, orange flower water, and orange zest, beating again to incorporate. Turn out the sponge and spread the buttercream on top. If desired, run the tines of a fork across the buttercream to create a shallow groove pattern.

12. Cut into squares and top with the candied orange zest before serving.
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  • Serves: 9
  • Time needed: 2 hours, 25 minutes
  • Difficulty Medium


  • 2 small oranges
  • 175 g | 1 1/2 cups ground almonds
  • 140 g | 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 350 g | 1 1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 150 ml sunflower oil
  • 80 g | 1/2 cup black poppy seeds
  • 150 g | 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 oranges
  • 200 g | 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 300 g | 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange flower water
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange zest

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