Blue Poppy Seed and Lemon Syrup Cake

DessertServes 8

If your lockdown baking is now in full swing why not give this deliciously zesty lemon and poppy seed cake a try from the team at Jervaulx Abbey Tearooms. Taken from their book In Their Footsteps which features a collection of the award winning tearooms favourite recipes, this is a classic teatime treat and a real crowd pleaser! For more information and to buy online visit For the cake


For the cake:

12oz/340g margarine

12oz/340g caster sugar

5 eggs

12oz/340g self-raising flour

3 lemons, zested

2oz/57g blue poppy seeds


For the syrup:

3 lemons, juiced

6oz/170g caster sugar

3fl oz/85ml water


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°c/150°c fan and line a 9 inch/23cm tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Cream together the margarine and sugar, beating on a high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, two at a time, on a high power then reduce the speed and add a little flour in between the eggs. Slowly increase the speed again and repeat until all of the eggs and flour are mixed.
  3. Add the lemon zest and poppy seeds, beat for a couple of minutes to ensure it’s completely mixed and then pour into the tin.
  4. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
For the syrup
  1. While the cake is baking, make the syrup by adding the lemon juice, sugar and water to a pan and bringing to a steady boil until the syrup has reduced and become slightly thicker.
  2. Add the syrup to the cake while it’s still hot in the tin and leave to cool completely before removing.
  3. Variation – you can either leave this as a classic syrup cake or add icing and lemon curd. Slice the cake in half when it’s cool, add a layer of vanilla butter icing and a layer of lemon curd, then replace the top half of the cake and add another layer of vanilla icing to the top. Enjoy!