Lemon, Poppyseed and Elderflower Cake

This lemon poppyseed and elderflower cake is the most deliciously moist and tender cake. Light and zingy, packed with lemon and elderflower flavour with the nutty crunch of poppyseeds. This is the perfect Summer showstopper.

If you’re looking for the perfect Summer garden party dessert, look no further! This lemon elderflower and poppyseed cake has you covered. Filled with bright and breezy flavours you’re going to want to whip this one up as soon as possible.

I used Elderflower Cordial in the cake batter but for a little extra kick I brushed the warm sponges with extra cordial. It really makes all the difference in keeping the cake as moist as possible while bumping up that beautiful flavour profile.

When it comes to frosting your cake, you can go for any method you prefer. I always lean towards a semi naked frost, I just love how understated and elegant it is. A semi naked frost is basically a crumb layer, the first layer of frosting you add to a cake to catch any stray crumbs. This stops any little crumbies ruining the finished look of a fully frosted cake. If you want to do a fully frosted version of this cake, you can double the frosting recipe and make sure you refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes between each layer of frosting application. Or, if you don’t feel like you’re up to semi frosting a cake, you can simply fill between the layer and frost the top. It’ll be just as delicious and just as beautiful.


  • Unsalted Butter – Unsalted butter is exactly that, butter with no added salt. Using unsalted butter in your baking means you can always add a pinch of salt to bring out the flavours but you’re not in control of the content if you used salted butter. Always best to stick with unsalted.
  • Caster Sugar – Caster sugar is a finely ground granulated sugar which is often used in baking. The finer grains allow for quicker dissolving when creaming your sugars and fats. Normal granulated sugar will result in a grainy and off putting texture.
  • Eggs – Always large, always free range. Bring them up to room temperature before baking.
  • Self Raising Flour – Self Raising Flour is a flour with added leavening agent which gives your cake a bit of a rise.
  • Baking Powder – Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. The powder is activated when liquid is added, producing carbon dioxide and forming bubbles that cause the mixture to expand.
  • Lemon zest – Use unwaxed lemons for a better flavour.
  • Elderflower Cordial – I use Bottle Green brand of Elderflower Cordial but you can use any brand you choose, or use home made.
  • Vanilla Extract – Always use a pure vanilla extract which can be found inexpensively in most supermarkets, there’s nothing worse than vanilla essence. Yuck!
  • Poppy Seeds – These seeds from the poppy flower give a distinct nutty flavour and a delightful crunch to the cake.
  • Icing Sugar – Also called confectioners sugar. Icing sugar is a super, super fine sugar which dissolves quickly giving a light and fluffy texture.
  • Milk – Always try to use whole milk in baking, the extra fat adds moisture to the finished result.
  • Lemon Curd – A bright and zingy curd flavoured with lemons. Try to use the highest quality you can afford as the cheaper curds have a stiffer consistency which makes them difficult to spread between the layers of the cake.


  • As with the majority of my recipes this cake can be frozen with no problems. To freeze the un-iced cake layers, simply double wrap them in cling film and pop directly onto a shelf in your freezer. If you’d like to freeze the entire cake you can either place the cake into a large tupperwear box and pop that in your freezer or you can place the cake onto a shelf in your freezer for a few hours until frozen solid. Wrap the cake in a double layer of clingfilm and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • If freezing the fully iced cake, make sure to frost the cake on a cake board rather than directly onto a cake plate. This will make transporting the cake to and from the freezer so much easier.
  • Without freezing this cake will last up to 4 days if stored in an airtight container.


  • What kind of butter shall I use? – Always start with unsalted, room temperature butter. It’s much quicker and easier to cream with the sugar and will give a much better texture to the finished cake.
  • Can I use granulated sugar instead of caster? – No, caster sugar is a finely ground sugar so it dissolves quickly into the butter when creaming. Using granulated will result in an off-putting texture in the finished bake.
  • Can I use plain flour? – Yes, just add an extra teaspoon of baking powder to the flour.
  • Can I make these gluten free? – Yes, use Doves Farm Gluten Free Flour Blend for best results and a gluten free baking powder.
  • Can I use a baking spread in place of butter? – Yes, I often use Stork in baking and I think it’s fabulous.
  • Can I freeze this recipe? – Yes, wrap the cake layers in a double layer of cling film and freeze for up to 3 months. You can then either defrost the cake on the counter top for a few hours before continuing with decoration or you can frost the frozen cakes. I often do this as it’s easier to get a cleaner finish on a frozen cake than a fresh one.
  • I don’t like poppyseeds, can I skip them? – Of course, just leave them out completely.
  • Do I need any special equipment to make this cake? – The only thing I’d recommend purchasing to make this cake is a metal cake scraper. This makes frosting so much easier, whether going for a semi naked look like this or if you want to go with a full frosted affair.

More lemony desserts to try:

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Lemon, Poppyseed and Elderflower Cake

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5 from 6 reviews


Units Scale

For the Cake:

  • 350g unsalted butter, softened
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 350g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 45g poppy seeds
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 150ml elderflower cordial, divided

For the frosting:

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 450g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tbsp elderflower cordial
  • lemon curd
  • fresh flowers to decorate


For the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C and line 3 9″ cake tins with baking paper.  Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on a medium speed for 5 minutes until the butter is light and creamy. Sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside. Turn the mixer down to a low speed and crack the eggs in one at a time. Once the eggs are fully Incorporated add half of the flour and mix to combine, add 100ml of the elderflower cordial, the vanilla extract and the lemon zest followed by the remaining flour and mix again. Add the poppy seeds and mix until combined.
  2. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tins, smooth the tops with a spoon and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and the cake springs back when you touch it. Using a pastry brush, brush the warm cakes with the remaining elderflower cordial and allow to cool in the pans for 20 minutes before removing them and placing on a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the Frosting:

  1. To make the frosting first mix the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and soft. Add the icing sugar, vanilla and 2tbsp of the elderflower cordial. Turn the mixer on low and gradually increase the speed. Whip for 5 minutes, if the frosting looks too stiff add the rest of your elderflower cordial. You may find you need a little more, just go steady until you reach a nice spreading consistency.
  2. Place the first layer on a cake stand and spread a little of the frosting on top followed by a good splodge of lemon curd, top with the next cake and repeat. Pop your top layer on and spread the remaining frosting on top and around the edges of the cake. Using a spatular or a cake scraper, scrape off any excess frosting allowing the layers of the cake to show through. Top the cake with fresh flowers if desired, not necessary but very pretty!


The cake will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container.

The unfrosted cake is freezable for up to 3 months

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: British


  1. Emily
    July 6, 2022 / 1:39 am

    This cake was so deliciously moist and tender! We loved the lemon and elderflower flavor and the nutty crunch of poppyseed!

  2. July 6, 2022 / 1:51 pm

    Delightful! Everyone complimented me on the cake. It was so easy to make. A must try.

  3. July 7, 2022 / 12:49 am

    I love the lemon poppyseed cake. It looks amazing too. Everyone was asking the recipe.

  4. Oscar
    July 7, 2022 / 2:04 am

    A gorgeous looking cake, can’t wait to make this for an upcoming family summer picnic. The poppy seed, lemon and elderflower flavors sound like something I would very much enjoy. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. July 7, 2022 / 3:55 pm

    Thanks so much for an elderberry cake recipe. The flavors with the lemon are great. Nice moist cake too!

  6. July 21, 2022 / 12:42 pm

    WOW your cake looks stunning and yummy! And you are good at taking pictures as well!

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