Recipe: Lemon Poppy Seed Honey Cake

It’s time for another recipe! First, the recipe. Then, me blathering onward about my occasionally questionable culinary capabilities and the memories this particular feast holds for me.

  • The Ingredients
    • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
    • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • 6 eggs, divided
    • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 1 cup butter, soft and room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons dark honey
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Topping:
    • 1/2 cup boiling water
    • tablespoon teaspoon lemon juice
    • 1 cup dark brown honey

Note: Use a well-greased Bundt pan for this.

  • The Way of Preparing
    1. Oven to 350°F/moderate heat/177°C/Gas mark 4
    2. Scald the whole milk in a small pot and remove from the heat. Add in the poppy seeds and lemon zest and stir well. Once it has cooled, add the extracts. Let come to room temperature
    3. In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks, brown sugar, and butter until light and creamy.
    4. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar together until stiff peaks form.
    5. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
    6. Fold the egg yolks and flour into the whites carefully.
    7. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    8. Before the cake is done, mix together the boiling water, honey, and lemon zest.
    9. Remove the finished cake from the oven but do NOT turn it out of the Bundt pan. Drizzle the honey lemon water over the cake while both are still warm, carefully, and let it soak in for at least an hour.
    10. Once the cake is completely cool and all the liquid is absorbed, invert the cake out onto a serving plate.
    11. Enjoy!
  • Notes
    • How to make better
      • Make it orange! Substitute orange extract and orange zest. Or lime! Or make it a citrus explosion and use all three! Just…not grapefruit. It doesn’t translate well.
    • Storage: store covered or pre-slice and freeze for up to three months. Makes really good french toast.


This one is a hybrid of a Granny Comic recipe and one of mine. She actually omitted the poppy seeds entirely once, on accident, and it was fabulous. She also had a habit of using a bit of apricot preserves in her honey soak, but I’ve often omitted it in favor of just the honey.

Also, when it comes to the honey, the darker the better! It’ll have a stronger flavor.

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