Poppy seed cake with vanilla buttercream icing

This fabulously rich cake from Rachel Allen is best eaten with lashings of the vanilla buttercream
By Rachel Allen
Poppy seed cake with vanilla buttercream icing
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 150 g butter, at room temperature
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 75 g poppy seeds
  • 1 x quantity vanilla buttercream icing, see recipe included below

For the vanilla buttercream icing

  • 75 g butter, softened
  • 125 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Tips and Suggestions

This cake will keep for a few days but it can also be frozen un-iced.

Adapted from Rachel Allen, Bake (Collins)


1. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3. Butter the sides of a 20cm cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.

2. Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, beating well between each addition.

3. Sift in the flour and baking powder, add the poppy seeds and stir until well combined.

4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, making a slight hollow in the centre with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until it is cooked in the centre and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

5. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to stand for five minutes before carefully removing it from the tin and transferring it to a wire rack to cool.

For the buttercream icing

6. Using an electric whisk, beat the butter until pale and soft, beat in the icing sugar and vanilla extract.

7. When the cake is cool, split it in half using a long-bladed serrated knife. Place one layer of the cake on a serving plate and spread over two generous tablespoons of the vanilla buttercream, then place the other half of the cake on top. Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides with a palette knife or table knife. The cake can also be kept whole, with the icing spread over the top and sides.

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