Bitter orange & poppy seed cake

Bitter orange & poppy seed cake

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(17 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 1 hr


Cuts into 8 slices
This easy all-in-one cake is made with yogurt for a light texture.

Nutrition and extra info

  • Without sticky topping

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal422
  • fat21g
  • saturates12g
  • carbs54g
  • sugars35g
  • fibre1g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.8g
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  • 3 tbsp good-quality thick marmalade (we used Frank Cooper's Thick Cut Oxford marmalade)
  • 150g pot natural bio yogurt



    Yogurt is made by adding a number of types of harmless bacteria to milk, causing it to ferment.…

  • 3 egg



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 175g butter, softened



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • zest 1 orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 2 tsp poppy seed, toasted

For the sticky topping

  • juice ½ orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 5 tbsp marmalade


  1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter a deep, medium-sized loaf tin (about 20 x 10cm, measured from the top), then line the base with a rectangle of non-stick baking paper. Put the marmalade into a small pan, heat gently until melted (or use a microwaveproof jug or bowl, then cook on High for 30 secs). Beat in the yogurt, then let cool for a few mins.

  2. Put the remaining cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk until smooth. Quickly beat in the yogurt and marmalade mix, then pour into the prepared tin. It will be quite runny. Leave the mix mounded in the middle of the tin rather than levelling the top, to help it rise and crack in the middle.

  3. Bake for 1 hr-1 hr 10 mins until golden and well-risen; a skewer should come out clean. Take a look at the cake after 45 mins; if it has taken on a lot of colour, loosely cover with baking paper. Meanwhile, heat the orange juice and marmalade in a small pan over a gentle heat until the marmalade melts (or use the microwave as before). Set aside to cool, stirring now and again, until you have a thick, but still runny, glaze. When the cake is ready, cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn onto a rack. Spoon the topping over the cake while it’s just warm. The cake is best served the day it’s made, but will keep for up to 3 days tightly wrapped in an airtight container. Will freeze for up to 1 month, un-glazed.

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Comments (32)

hyegin's picture

Easy and delicious. I didn't bother to toast the poppy seeds. Can make it with or without the topping. This will be a regular I think.

kintburycook's picture

I use 0% fat yogurt, blue poppy seeds (as packed, not toasted), 100g butter, gluten-free self-raising flour (Doves) and 75g Flora Lighter Than Light, then baked this in a Neff Circotherm oven at 160 degrees C - it took 1 hour 20 minutes, but came out beautifully moist. I I used my own (rather runny) home-made Seville marmalade in the cake with the zest of an orange but think it still needed more orange flavour within the cake. I may add some orange extract next time. I didn't need to add the orange juice to top the cake because of it being a runny marmalade. A sprinkling of Demerara sugar on top wrapped it up nicely. My view is that this is a really good gluten-free cake that I will bake again.

Monty14's picture

Thanks for the tip about making as muffins. Really successful and froze brilliantly.

runnyeyes's picture

Excellent flavour and texture. In view of the comments I covered the top with foil at 50 minutes, and didn't take the cake out until 1 hour 15. ( 160 deg NO fan) Cooked perfectly, with no sinkage.
Made the topping with juice of half an orange, and just 2 tablespoons of marmalade...seemed just right. I did use 2 tablespoons of poppyseeds, not teaspoons. Really pleased with the result.

flintstone's picture

Am about to make this recipe, but having never used poppy seeds, would you toast them for a minute or so?! Thanks

bakingbecks's picture

I made this in a round 23inch Springform tin as a birthday cake. It came out very well. Thin slices served with tea as it is quite dense.
I would recommend it.

snowbunnyandorra's picture

Very nice moist and light cake, quick and easy to make. I would prefer the marmalade quantities to be in weight - is it a flat or heaped tablespoon, that's a big difference! I used heaped and I thought (as someone else commented) that there was far too much topping. Also, despite rising initially, the top of my cake flattened out, which could have been to do with too much marmalade in the mix?
I added far more poppy seeds than suggested, just because 2 teaspoons didn't look like much in the mixture, and I'm glad I did. I also reduced the sugar content by about 20g, just to make it less sweet. Overall, I would make again with a little less marmalade in the mix to see if that makes a difference to it staying risen.

juliebahrain's picture

An easy, tasty cake. However, I didn't measure my loaf tin and it must have been a bit small because some of the mixture spilt out onto the oven floor (a big enough blob to enable me to cut the burnt bit off and still have enough to taste before the main cake was cooked). My mixture was not " quite runny" when I put it into the tin. I love the idea of cooking this cake as muffins - must try :)

goffin's picture

Following on from the last comment - the cake was delicious

goffin's picture

I had problems cooking this cake. The middle didn't cook well so it needed much longer in the oven. Maybe it's my oven that's at fault?

josephina86's picture

What a moist, tangy, unusual cake... shame it fell apart when I tipped it out the tin! It was done all the way through, so maybe I just banged it too hard? Didn't mix it long enough? No idea, and as said it tastes delicious but it's sad and broken appearance is drawing ridicule from my friends!

vikcakestar's picture

This cake is YUMMY. I've made it as a loaf and as muffins (by reducing oven temp and cooking time). Everyone LOVES it and I've found adding even more marmalade makes it really moist. THANKS GOOD FOOD

jessicalauren's picture

really lovely cake, I made it last night - thanks :o)

tfl_hk's picture

I don't know what I did wrong but the cake sank. I followed the receipe, the only difference was that I used wooden spoon to mix instead of electric whisk. I tested with the skewer and it came off clean but when I tried to turn the cake out, it just crumbled to bits. Really disappointed.

jaxwise's picture

Re the comments about the fan disasters, Raymond Blanc mentioned recently that using the fan assisted option is too fierce for cakes, conventional is the best way to bake. I have not had a disaster since I stopped trying to use the fan. I hope this helps!

lowracatherine's picture

Gorgeous cake!

dorymel's picture

Fantastic easy recipe. Made this as a round cake for a dinner party. Subsituting the poppy seeds for walnuts and served it with an orange mascarpone cream and orange segments - went down a treat.

kingussie's picture

Have made this cake several times with home made marmalade. Friends all loved it at coffee mornings. The tangy marmalade makes it a good eat for the mornings. Friends took remainder home.

tansyjuno's picture

No, Mad'un, you're not the only one. I took the recipe down from a friend's magazine and didn't put the other oven temp only the fan one. I bet everyone else either converted properly or didn't use a fan oven - the fan temperature is wrong - Gas 3 is at least 150 not 140. What a waste of effort and ingredients, mine was just as you describe.

bluesnicket's picture

Great recipe! I have made it several times and even non-marmalade lovers like it. I haven't toasted the poppy seeds. It freezes well. As to why it sank, in my Mary Berry book she mentions that overdoing the marmalade can cause this problem.


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