Lemon and poppy seed cake – Ottolenghi & Helen Goh.


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Serves: Serves 8 - 10

As we say « when life gives you lemon make lemonade », but not for today, I present you the most delicious, fluffy, moist and fragrant lemon and poppy seed cake ever. So you know what to do, if you have lemon forget about the lemonade and make this amazing cake.

The recipe of this lemon and poppy seed cake is from « Sweet » Ottolenghi and Helen Goh book.

All details and tricks to get the most beautiful dome like a professional pastry chef are in the recipe bellow.

you can also try this delicious « lemon and olive oil cake » from the french chef Christophe Bacquié.

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Lemon and poppy seed cake - Ottolenghi & Helen Goh.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 05 minutes
  • Serves: Serves 8 - 10

Ingredients :

For the batter :

  • 3 large eggs
  • 225 g caster sugar , I used 150g of sugar (50g caster sugar and 100g light brown caster sugar)
  • 120 ml double cream
  • 75 g unsalted butter , plus extra for greasing.
  • 10 g poppy seeds
  • 3 lemons , finely grated to get 1 Tbsp
  • 170 g plain flour
  • 1-1/4 tsp baking powder , ( 5g).
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the glaze :

  • 100 g icing sugar , sifted
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

Method :

  • 1)

    Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan.

  • 2)

    In a bowl put the caster sugar (both sugars in my case) and zest two yellow lemons using a microplane directly in the bowl while avoiding the zest of the white part of the lemon which will add bitterness. Then rub the zest of the lemons and the sugar with your fingers to release all the lemon scent and flavor your sugar, you will see it smells so good. It’s a technique that I learned when I made chef Christophe Bacquié’s lemon and olive oil cake, and it really makes the difference.

    Leave to rest for around thirty minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

  • 3)

    Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once melted, remove from the heat and add the zest of a lemon (grate it directly into the pan, of course avoiding the white part which brings bitterness) as well as the poppy seeds. Set aside.

  • 4)

    Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on medium – high speed for about 2 minutes, until pale and frothy.

    Add the cream and continue to whisk for another 2 minutes, until the mixture has combined, thickened a little and turned pale.


  • 5)

    Sift the flour, baking powder and the salt together into a bowl, then use a rubber spatula to fold this into the egg mixture before folding through the butter, poppy seeds and zest.

  • 6)

    Spoon the mixture into a buttered cake tin lined with baking paper. Before putting your cake in the oven and to have that magnificent bump, in principle I fill a piping bag or just a paper cone with soft butter and I draw a line along the entire length of the cake. (Like here for Christophe Bacquié’s lemon and olive oil cake.)

    But today I tried a new technique from Pierre Hermé shared on Instagram (during Covid days), oil a pastry horn and draw a line on the cake like the butter technique. (It’s not finished, a second step will come during baking to have the most beautiful bump ever).

    Place the tin on a baking tray and cook in an oven preheated to 160°C Fan, and after 30 minutes of cooking, remove your cake from the oven. At this time, the cake has already set on the sides and a little on the top, using the same oiled horn make a good incision following and insisting on the line that you have previously drawn before putting your cake in the oven . Cover with baking paper then aluminum foil and return the cake to the oven to finish cooking for about 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes clean.

  • 7)

    Meanwhile make the glaze by whisking the icing sugar with the lemon juice in a bowl.

  • 8)

    Pour this over the top of the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven, spreading it over the top so that it sinks in and creates a nice glaze.

    Set aside to cool for 30 minutes before removing from the tin. Leave to come to from temperature before serving.


  • 9)

    You can make a thicker lemon icing to decorate your cake, you can also grate a lemon on top.

  • 10)

    Enjoy !!


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