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  • Brittany Aldridge

Two Tier Lemon & Poppyseed Cake

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

This one is a crowd pleaser thats for sure! Beautifully moist cake, candied lemons and oranges, sour and sweet buttercream - what's not to like? It looks impressive, but it's actually deceptively simple to make! Please read ahead and let me know what you think!



  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour

  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable or coconut oil

  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 4 large eggs

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon rind/ zest

  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds


  • Prepare two cake pans with baking paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 155°C fan forced or 175°C / 350°F .

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

  • Add the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in colour, creamy and fluffy, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Combine the milk and lemon juice, then slowly add to the egg mixture and stir until well combined.

  • Add the remaining dry ingredients, lemon zest and poppyseeds and mix until just combined. Do not over mix the batter.

  • Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

  • Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.



  • 2 small lemons and 2 oranges

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 cup of water


  • Cut lemons and oranges into 5 cm thick rounds; and carefully remove the seeds.

  • Stir together sugar, lemon juice, and water in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

  • Add lemon slices, and simmer gently, keeping slices in a single layer and turning occasionally, 14 to 16 minutes or until slightly translucent and rinds are softened. Remove from heat. Place slices in a single layer on baking paper and baking tray using tongs. Cool completely (about 1 hour).

  • Cover and chill 2 hours to 2 days.

  • Remaining syrup can be reserved for other uses (for example in soda water, or on top of yoghurt and granola instead of honey.



  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

  • 4 – 5 cups (480-600g) icing sugar

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 2 large pinches of lemon zest, or to taste

  • salt, to taste (I use about a tsp, Maldon)


  • With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add the icing sugar, lemon zest, salt, the heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium speed for another minute or so.

  • Add up to 1/2 cup more icing sugar if buttercream is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if buttercream is too thick.


  • To put the cake together, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat, if needed.

  • Place the first cake on a serving plate or cake stand.

  • Spread about 1 cup of buttercream evenly on top of the cake.

  • Top the cake with the 2nd layer and ice the outside of the cake.

  • Finish off the cake as you like. I smoothed and swirled the butter cream on top with a offset spatula, then added the lemon and orange slices as well as some more lemon rind.


  • The cake can be made ahead, tightly wrapped in cling wrap and iced up to 3 days later. Once made, consume within a week.

  • Instead of a buttercream cream cheese also make a delicious topping!

  • Time saving options that are equally as impressive (or if you want to try your hand at building a decorating a cake without making the complete cake); lots of grocery stores have packet mix lemon and poppyseed cake available.

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