Poppy Seed Cake (Lake Cake)

Poppy seed cake! I am so excited about this recipe, as it featured heavily in my upbringing. It was one of my mother’s signature recipes and was also famously referred to as “Lake Cake”, amongst some dear family friends. (This was because it was made most weekends for our visits to our lakeside cabin.) I cannot tell you how lovely this cake is. If you like poppy seed and lemon then I implore to you to try this. There is no lemon, but don’t let that deter you as you won’t miss it. You will love the dense, moist middle of this cake. In truth, I now look at lemon poppy seed cakes and think “What a waste of the poppy seeds”!!

This cake does come with the option of cream cheese icing – which is divine. However, I often serve it without, which I think makes it a lovely afternoon cake to have with a cup of tea or coffee. The soured cream helps keep it moist, and beaten egg whites make it light and it isn’t too sweet which makes it hard to have only the one slice!


  • 225g (1 cup) Butter
  • 250g (1 1/3 cup) Caster Sugar
  • 6 Eggs, separated
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 320g (2 cups) Plain Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 240g (1 cup) Soured Cream
  • 80g (1/2 cup) Poppy Seeds

Cream Cheese Icing (optional)

  • 225g (1 cup) Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 113g (1/2 cup) unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 225g (2 cups) Confectioner’s (Icing) Sugar, sifted

Two 20cm/8″ round tins, a 23cm/8″ ring (bundt) or a 23cm/9″ round tin.

Oven 180C / Fan 160C / 350F

Preheat oven and prepare tins (either butter and flour or lining with parchment).

Cream together the butter and sugar. Then add the vanilla, followed by the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add a few spoonfuls of this flour mixture to the butter mixture. Blend. Then add a little of the sour cream and mix well. Keep alternating, about three times for each, until both have been incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

Stir in the poppy seeds making sure they are well mixed through.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Then gently fold this into the poppy seed mixture. Pour into the prepared tin(s) and place in the oven.

2 round tins should take 20-25 mins, the ring and single round tin should take 50-55 mins. A cake skewer should come out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

If you are icing – Allow the butter and cream cheese to warm to room temperature. This is key to get them to mix well, and save yourself a lot of work! Use an electric beater to cream the two together until they are light and fluffy. Carefully add in the confectioners sugar a little at a time, until it is all incorporated. Then chill the icing for an hour before decorating the cake.

It is best to keep the cake refrigerated once it is iced. For optimum flavour, remove the cake an hour before serving.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. pkcacciola says:

    Yum! Looks divine!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. erin says:

    yes!!!! i’ve wanted this recipe for years!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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