Mother’s Day lemon and poppyseed cake

Serving size: 8
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

6 large free-range eggs
400g butter – softened
400g golden caster sugar
400g self-raising flour
1 dessert spoon of poppy seeds
The grated zest of three lemons
The juice of 3 lemons

150g butter
75g icing sugar
1 tablespoon of milk
The zest of one lemon
The juice of one lemon
A little yellow food colouring

200g marscapone
200g full fat cream cheese
300ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar

Featured in:
March 2013

I have to declare, here and now that my mum’s lemon cake is the best in the world. There’s just something so wonderfully delicious about it that reminds me of being home. It could be that wonderfully zingy and sweet, intense lemony flavour; or perhaps it’s the incredible citrus and buttery aroma that fills her kitchen when she’s baking it. Whatever it is, a slice of it will take me back to my childhood and special teas with the family. So what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with a baked tribute?

This is actually not her recipe. I would never attempt to recreate that incredible work of gastronomic art – I have no such lofty ambitions. No, this is my version in honour of my mum. Let’s just hope she loves it as much as I love her!

You will need 3 x 20cm round cake tins. I’m making a simple 2 egg sponge for each cake tin using the ‘weigh the egg’ method, where you weigh your eggs in their shells and then use the same weight of butter, sugar and flour. This method also means you can make a regular double-layered sponge if you wish.

To make the sponge, place the butter and sugar in a very large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy (this can be done with a stand mixer or electric whisk, but I love the tactile nature of doing it all by hand).

Add two eggs and beat in until combined, then follow this with a third of the flour, again beating in until combined. Continue adding eggs and flour alternately until it’s all gone and you have a smooth batter. Add the lemon zest and the lemon juice and beat in again.

Divide between the three lined and greased cake tins and bake on 170C for 25–30 mins or until golden and risen. Take them out of the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before turning out to cool fully.

To make the lemon buttercream: In a large bowl beat the butter until soft, then add the icing sugar and beat together. Mix in the lemon juice and zest until combined. Add a drop or two of yellow colouring and mix in – I like it quite bright and daffodil inspired.

Place one sponge on your cake stand and spread a nice thick layer of buttercream evenly on the surface, place the second cake on top and repeat the process and then finally place the third cake on top. Leave a little of the buttercream aside to swirl into the cream cheese icing at the end.

To make the cream cheese icing simply combine all the ingredients and whisk until stiff but still spreadable. Spread evenly onto the cake tower, then take a small knife and swirl the yellow lemon buttercream into the white cream cheese for a pretty finished look.

Eat and of course, enjoy!

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