Lemon and Poppy Seed Loaf

I love poppy seeds. I love them in bread, I love them in curries, but most of all I love them in cakes. It almost feels as though their addition lets you justly call cake ‘breakfast’, or a ‘healthy snack’. This lemon and poppy seed loaf does fit into both of those categories, though. It’s great for a light, refreshing coffee break, or an early morning wake-up call. It’s a one-pot, one-tin kinda recipe, and comes out juicy and sweet with just the right amount of savoury texture.


So how do you make this lovely thing? From bowl to belly in just over an hour, the recipe is as follows:

Lemon and Poppy Seed Loaf


  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup spelt flour (I used this to make the cake slightly healthier, as the gluten formation is different, so it’s not as stodgy. It does give the cake a slightly ‘nuttier’ taste, though so if preferred, simply use 2 cups plain flour)
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup almond milk (Or any dairy-free alternative, but I used almond because of its closer consistency to water. You don’t want a thick milk in this recipe, really).
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2-4 tablespoons of poppy seeds. (I only used 2 in the cake pictured. If you like more, add as many as you want!)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons of water


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or Gas Mark 4
  • Lightly grease loaf tin and set aside
  • On a hob (or in the microwave if you prefer), melt the coconut oil and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add the flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the almond milk and melted coconut oil.
  • Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the mix.
  • Mix all of this together well! (It’s up to you how you do this – electric whisk or fork, either would work. It doesn’t take too much effort to mix, no creaming etc. necessary.
  • Fold in the poppy seeds. (You may want to add 1-2 tablespoons first, and then fold them in and see how they look in the mix before adding any more. To start with it will look like the mix has been overloaded, but as you mix them, they disappear slightly! Strange little things.)
  • Pour the mix into the loaf tin.
  • Bake at 350F (Gas mark 4) for 1hr. (I set my timer for 40 mins initially, checked to see if the inside was cooked, and added an extra 15 minutes before a toothpick came out clear.)
  • Ultimately, the loaf is cooked when the edges are lightly golden brown, and a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool for at least 10 mins before turning out onto a cooling rack. If your tin is quite deep, leave for even longer. The longer you can leave it, the better! (Or the bottom will remain in the tin whilst the top comes out. Mistake number one for my first batch…)
  • Mix 1/2 cup icing sugar with water, one tablespoon at a time until you have the consistency of icing you want. Add the juice of the other half of the lemon and mix.
  • Drizzle over the cake.
  • Slice it up, put the kettle on, and enjoy with a cuppa while it’s still warm!

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