Vanilla Poppy Seed Cake with Orange Frosting

March 23rd, 2009

And then there was cake…. as my Mum’s Birthday meal continues…


This is one of the first cakes I learnt to make and one of my (very many) favourites. It has no fake orange flavour that you will generally taste, and I very much detest, in many of bought orange and poppy seed cakes. Instead this cake has a lovely vanilla and poppy seed cake with a subtle orange flavour in the icing.

I tend to often forget about the soaking of the poppy seeds, although once they’re in the bowl soaking in milk, there’s plenty of time to get the rest of the ingredients together. Once the poppy seeds are finished soaking, it’s just a case of adding everything else, mixing then baking – very easy!

Poppy Seed Cake
(Not sure of original source of recipe – Sorry)

1/3 cup poppy seeds
¾ cup milk
185g butter
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 cup castor sugar
3 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour

Combine poppy seeds and milk in a medium bowl, soak for 1 hour.

Soaking poppyseeds

Soaking poppyseeds

Grease one large bundt tin or a ring tin. Preheat oven to 180°C. Add butter, essence, sugar, eggs, sifted flour to poppy seed mixture. Beat on low speed with electric mixer until combined, then beat mixture on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until mixture has lightened in colour.

Mix all ingredients together and beat until mixture lightens in colour

Mix all ingredients together and beat until mixture lightens in colour

Pour into prepared pan. Bake oven for about 40 – 50 minutes. Stand 5 minuted before turning on to wire rack to cool.

Cake is golden on top and coming away from the edges of the tin

Cake is golden on top and coming away from the edges of the tin

Leave to cake to cool

Leave to cake to cool

Orange Frosting

60g butter
1½ cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice

Beat butter in a small bowl with mixer until light and creamy. Gradually add sifted icing sugar and orange juice, beat until frosting is spreadable. Decorate with orange rind, if desired.

Orange frosting on the cooled cake - ready to eat!

Orange frosting on the cooled cake - ready to eat!




  1. Interesting idea Anita about soaking the poppyseeds. I’ve never done that before, I’ve just used them straight in a recipe. Does it change the cake very much? It looks great and I agree real Orange juice is better than the flavouring 🙂

  2. Barbara says:

    I’m sure you Mum was very pleased to have such a beautiful, delicious cake made for her!

  3. I’d certainly forget to soak the seeds. The sound of the subtle icing sounds good.

  4. Anita says:

    Thanks for the comments 🙂

    Lorraine – I think the soaking is just to soften the seeds a little, I’m not sure whether it makes much difference to the flavour.

    Barbara – Thanks, My mum certainly did enjoy her cake (and the rest of her birthday dinner).

    Arwen – The subtle icing is lovely and not too overpowering like some of the ones at the shops.

  5. I just love poppyseed cake. This looks amazing, especially with the orange frosting. What a lovely birthday cake for your mom!

  6. Y says:

    Beautiful cake! I love poppyseed cake too.

  7. Liliana says:

    This cake looks amazing! It must taste so delicious with the orange frosting. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  8. Trisha says:

    mmmm one of my favourite tea cakes to make! i always make orange & poppyseed cake and it’s great with tea! 🙂

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