Lemon, Lime and Poppy Seed Cake with Books


Cooking has taken a serious nosedive around this casa of late. It’s always the same after returning from a trip. The reality of cleaning, cooking, planting garlic, raking Autumn leaves, making compost, pruning, just to name a few tasks on the never ending list, makes me want to run away. Combine this cooking reluctance with Melbourne’s cold weather, a house full of bronchitis, a dodgy shoulder, and a very inviting wood fire and a stack of novels, and there you have it: ‘let them eat cake’, she said.


This little cake was fast to make, didn’t involve too much mess for someone else to clean up, and goes very well with cups of tea, books and lethargy.


  • 125 g butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200 g self-raising flour
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of poppy seeds
  • 100 ml plain yoghurt

the syrup

  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar

the method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and line a 30 cm loaf tin with baking paper, then butter again.

Place the butter and zest in  a mixing bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and creamy. Add the sugar gradually and beat well after each addition. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well. Fold in the flour, poppy seeds and yoghurt, alternating between wet and dry. Spoon into the prepared tin. Bake in a preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Leave for 5 minutes then turn onto a wire rack.

To make the syrup, place the juices and sugar in a pan, simmer gently and stir continually until the sugar dissolves. Make holes in the cake with a skewer and pour the hot syrup over the hot cake, aiming at the holes and centre.

The cake will last for three days, but ours didn’t.

Adapted from The New Cranks Recipe Book, Nadine Abensur 1996.

A larger lime syrup cake recipe can be found here:  https://almostitalian.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/easy-lime-syrup-cake/

Novels read with cake:

  • A Thousand Spendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini, 2007. Kindle edition. Thanks Rachael P for the recommendation.
  • Barracuda, Christos Tsiolkas, 2013. Allen and Unwin.  A must read before the TV series is released.


22 thoughts on “Lemon, Lime and Poppy Seed Cake with Books”

  1. This looks lovely and has already been printed for sampling sometime in between trips this winter. I always find the preparation and catchup at both ends of a trip tedious, let alone with bronchitis, which we also had last month after returning, and a dodgy shoulder! Just do your best which might be cozy up with a book and eat cake. xx


    1. Ardys, we seem to always be on the same wavelength. I should go down to the fron gate and paint a big black X to warn folk of the plagued inhabitants.
      I rarely eat cake but it went down well as there wasn’t much else to eat. Now Mr T, who is one week ahead of me with the plague, is learning how to cook. Thanks Ardys. Books take the mind of all that coughing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Take care and get well soon. The virus we had was nasty and took four weeks to fully recover from. xx (little black x’s, not indicating plague 😉)


  2. I think the recycled air in planes spreads bugs like wildfire. Hope wyou’re feeling better soon. Lemon juice, honey and a good slug of whisky, administered frequently will fix you. What was Barracuda like? I wasn’t a fan of The Slap so have steered clear. Lovely cake, my new oven is up and running, I need to have a cake trial…..

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have a few limes hanging from my tree too and wondering what to do with them as I’m not mad on the taste of them, but now I shall make your cake. Glad you got back alright for NZ. Mum made some scones 2 days ago – had a sudden urge to make them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Citrus and poppy seed… never disappoints but we overindulged in lovely old fashioned slices I bought at the local markets last weekend so we’re abstaining for a while. No illnesses here -thankfully- but a post cleaning dodgy shoulder and lethargy. The G.O. continues to beaver away preparing the van but I’ve shifted my office to the verandah during sunshine hours and am organising the invisible backend details in a leisurely fashion. We’re eating to clean out the freezer or the G.O. is barbequing. But I will make a travelling fruitcake in due course. Thanks for the book ideas. I read A Thousand Splendid Suns some years ago but have noted Barracuda.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to have a big fridge clean out I bet before heading off again. That Nana Van was a great investment. I bet your weather is still mild up there- sunshine hours on the verandah, how lovely.


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