Martha Collison's lemon & poppy seed cake

This simple sandwich cake is quick to make and easy to assemble. The mascarpone filling is zingy and refreshing, the perfect partner for buttery cake

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes to 30 minutes
  • Total time: 45 minutes to 50 minutes 50 minutes

Serves: 12


225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Eggs
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 lemons, zested
2 tbsp milk

150g mascarpone cheese
100ml double cream
Juice of ½ lemon
50g icing sugar
3 tbsp lemon curd
Icing sugar, to dust


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4, and grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment.

2. Using a handheld electric whisk or a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until really light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.

3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and poppy seeds. Add these dry ingredients into the egg mixture a few tablespoons at a time, and continue to mix until a smooth batter forms. Add the lemon zest and milk, and mix again.

4. Divide the mixture between the two tins and use a spatula to smooth over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and well risen. A skewer, when inserted in the centre, should come out clean. Allow to cool briefly in the tins before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the filling, beat together the mascarpone, double cream, lemon juice and icing sugar until smooth and spreadable. Place the bottom cake onto a stand and spread with the mascarpone icing. Spoon over the lemon curd and sandwich with the top layer of cake. Dust the top with icing sugar and serve.