Just divine and so easy

At the moment this is my absolutely favourite cake. Only a little bit sweet, it has a sharp, citrusy tang and is rapturously good, writes Joan Bishop.

The poppy seeds add a delightful crunch and the lemon and lime syrup tenderises and helps keep the cake fresh for a few days longer. The fat and sugar content is reasonably low which is a big plus.

Sometimes, when browsing through cook books, I gasp when I read the amount of chocolate, butter, cream, condensed milk and sugary ingredients all combined in one recipe.

I find cakes like these tooth-achingly sweet and rather cloying. Not the cake I want to bake.

Making my lemon and lime syrup cake is a breeze - simply a matter of lightly beating a few ingredients together and then into the oven for 30 minutes.

Once cooked and cooled, a hot bubbling syrup, mouth- puckeringly tart, is trickled over the cake.

When limes are not in season I use bottled lime juice from the supermarket.

"Light" olive oil describes the flavour of the oil and has nothing to do with the calorie count. "Light" olive oil has a mild flavour.


Poppy seed and coconut cake with lemon and lime syrup

Makes 16 slices

220g self-raising flour

40g dessicated coconut

2 Tbsp poppy seeds

3 large eggs, size 7

150g caster sugar

zest of two lemons

¾cup plain unsweetened yoghurt

100ml of "light" olive oil


⅓ cup lime juice

⅓ cup lemon juice

50g sugar


Heat the oven to 180degC on bake.

Line the base with baking paper and lightly oil the sides of a 21cm ring tin.

In a large bowl combine the self-raising flour, dessicated coconut and the poppy seeds, stir to mix thoroughly and set aside.

Place the eggs and caster sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric beater until thick and creamy. Reduce the speed to low, add the lemon zest and gradually add the yoghurt and the oil, beat in gently until well combined.

Fold the dry ingredients into the beaten eggs, sugar and yoghurt mixture until just combined.

Spoon into the prepared tin and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

To make the syrup

Combine the juices and sugar in a small saucepan. Simmer, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved then bring to the boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes without stirring.

Make small holes all over the cake with a fine skewer and slowly drizzle the hot syrup all over the cold cake until all the syrup is absorbed. Cool.

Slide a knife between the sides of the tin and the cake to loosen it. To ensure the top surface of the cake is smooth and unblemished, place a piece of non-stick baking paper on a large flat plate and carefully invert the cake on to this.

Peel off the baking paper, turn the cake right side up and gently remove the non-stick paper.

This makes a divinely delicious pudding or serve as a luxurious treat with coffee.

Serve with thick plain yoghurt or whipped cream

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.



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