Martha Collison’s Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake

This recipe is by Great British Bake Off Winner, Martha Collison on behalf of Waitrose.

A Lemon and Poppy Seed cake with a slice taken out, sitting next to a cup of tea.

If you love lemon, then this fresh cake will be a sure winner for you. This easy bake delivers slightly more than a standard lemon drizzle cake. The lemon curd and mascarpone filling give an extra kick and make it slightly indulgent, yet still fresh. It’s a great afternoon tea cake or can even act as a dessert.

The recipe gives really thick, light and fluffy sponge layers, the poppy seeds offer a slight crunch and the filling is refreshing. The fact that this cakes uses mascarpone cheese means that it doesn’t keep fresh for too long. It needs to be kept in the fridge and eaten within three days, which is never a problem in our house!


225g (8oz) softened butter

225g (8oz) self-raising flour

225g (8oz) caster sugar

1 teaspoon of baking powder

4 large eggs

2 tablespoon poppy seeds

2 lemons, zested

2 tablespoons milk

For the filling

100ml double cream

150g (5oz) mascarpone cheese

50g (2oz) icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

Juice of half a lemon

3 tablespoons lemon curd

  1.  Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and grease and line two 20cm sandwich cake tins with baking parchment.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together using a handheld or electric whisk, until they become light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.
  3.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and poppy seeds. Slowly add these dry ingredients into the butter, sugar and egg mixture a few tablespoons at a time, and continue to mix until a smooth batter forms. Add the lemon zest and milk, and mix again.
  4. Divide the mixture between the two sandwich tins and smooth over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and well risen. Insert a knife in the centre of the cake, which should come out clean if the cake is baked. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tins before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. For the filling beat together the mascarpone, double cream, lemon juice and icing sugar until smooth. Spread the mascarpone on to the flat side of the bottom sponge layer, then spread the lemon curd on top, place the other layer on top and dust with icing sugar to serve.

Keep in the fridge for up to five days.

If you decide to give this recipe a go, please share a picture of your Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake via my social media pages or contact me.

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