Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake with Zesty Lime Icing

It’s Friday, and I think we all deserve a piece of cake going into the weekend, wouldn’t you agree? This lemon poppy-seed cake is another of Jonty’s tasty creations. He has completely mastered the sponge cake, so now he can start to play around with the flavours a bit more.

Lemon and poppy-seed is a classic combination, but we were looking for the perfect union of sweet and tart, with an emphasis on the tart. While we have a bit of a sweet tooth (Jonty is the ring-leader), we don’t like sickly-sweet desserts. A really tart lemon / lime flavour with a dollop of something sweet, is almost perfection to me (maybe that’s why I love our lemon meringue pie so much)! It may have taken a few tries to balance the sweet-tart, but once again, we found something we think is spot-on!

As with all sponge cake recipes, there is an equal ratio of butter, eggs, flour and sugar, making it a really easy recipe to remember and to scale. The add-ins are there when you want to change things up a bit. In this case, we added poppy seeds and lemon juice.

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Eaten at room temperature or straight from the fridge (where it turns into a wonderfully dense, almost fudgy cake), this is a perfect spring time treat to enjoy with a good cup of coffee.

It’s also a great reward after a hard day of climbing, or making a van floor, or hoisting a 100-pound awning onto the top of an 11-foot-high van! Really, I guess I’m trying to say that this is a great anytime cake 🙂

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Enjoy the weekend!

Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake with Zesty Lime Icing
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For the lemon poppy-seed cake:
  • 4 eggs + 1 egg yolk (200 g), at room temperature
  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced (plus zest of 2 lemons)
  • ¼ cup poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 5 g baking powder (2.5% weight of the flour)
For the zesty lime icing
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 - 2 tbsp fresh lime juice (~1 or 2 limes, depending on how juicy they are)
  • 1 lime, zested
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and line only the bottom of a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper, not the sides.
  2. In a small bowl, melt the butter and allow it to cool slightly. Add the lemon juice and zest.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and poppy seeds and set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt on high speed, until the mixture is pale and fluffy. While the mixer is running on high-speed, add the flour mixture, then the butter mixture. As soon as the last drop of butter has gone in, stop whisking immediately, or else the cake will over-whisk and deflate. If it needs a bit more mixing, use the folding method with a spatula.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake in the oven - 5 minutes at 400 F, then reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until the centre feels firm and a cake tester comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then remove the cake to cool completely on the rack.
  7. If you are making the icing, mix together the icing sugar, lime juice and lime zest. The mixture will be quite thick. Start with 1 tbsp lime juice and add in ½ tsp increments until you reach your desired consistency. Spread over the slightly-warm cake and allow to cool and harden.
The amount of icing in this recipe will give a thin layer across the cake. For a thicker layer, simply increase the amount of icing sugar and liquid.


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