Three Citrus and Blue Poppy Seed Cake a la Marketman


Lemon poppy seed cake has always been one of my favorites. There is something about the slightly tart, rich buttery cake with the nutty crunch of poppy seeds that is so comforting together with a cup of tea. So when I spotted some blue poppy seeds in a street market in Paris early last Summer, I bought several packs and this is how I used one of the packs. Unfortunately, I don’t even recall what original lemon poppy seed recipe I used when I baked these several months ago, but there are many good ones on the net. But I publish this because of the slight variations I made to the recipe, with great results…


First, I used these blue-grey poppy seeds instead of the black ones. I am not sure if most folks can tell the difference if they were blindfolded, but I like the lightness and flavor of the blue ones.


The next change to the classic recipe that I tried was using three kinds of citrus fruits instead of just lemons. So I replaced the lemon juice with some orange juice, dayap juice and lemon juice. Next, I added the zest of all three. I think this gave the cake a more aromatic and slightly less tart flavor. But the complexity of the citrus component made this a very intriguing and unusual version.


I mixed the blue poppy seeds into the batter, making sure there were a LOT of poppy seeds spread out throughout the dough.


The cake was also drizzled generously with a mixture of the three citrus juices and confectioner’s sugar for a glaze that added sweetness and tartness at the same time.


The cakes were superb. And each slice was chock full of poppy seeds and the various citrus zests that were included in the batter.


So the next time you try a lemon poppy seed cake, try altering the types of citrus zest/juice that you use, and see if you find a combination that you like even better than the original. I will have to make these again soon so I can nail down a recipe and record it. In the meantime, enjoy the photos. :)

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23 Responses

  1. I love poppy seed cake too.I even bake them as cupcakes with cream cheese icing.But that’s a great idea MM!I’ve always used either lemon or orange. I’ll try the combination as you’ve suggested.Thanks MM!

  2. goes well with a cup of espresso…will you pass a drug test after you’ve eaten this, MM? ha ha just kidding

  3. marketfan–had to giggle. there was an episode in a Seinfeld TV show where the female lead, Elaine, tested positive for drugs in her urine..turns out she had a poppy seed bagel before the test..only a TV show, of course, but i read somewhere that if u eat enough of poppy seed anything, you may test positive. hmmm

  4. The best Lemon Poppyseed Cake recipe, in my opinion, is from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Cake Bible. I like the idea of lemon, dayap and orange flavours, though. Will remember this for the next time!

  5. I love lemon poppy seed cakes/muffins! I will eat ’em till I’m sick. lol. Not a big fan of the lemon frosting on them, though (or any frosting, for that matter).

  6. Talk about timing. I have long been wanting to make a poppy seed cake with the black poppy seeds i bought in a local store, but never had the time to do so. I will wait for your recipe MM!

  7. i love poppy seed bagel, but have not tried a poppy seed cake

    natie and MM…Mythbusters have proven you will test positive for opiates up to 48 hours after eating a poppy seed bagel and a poppy seed cake (and mind you the poppy seed cake they ate had less seeds than the one you had!)…so if you need to take a blood or urine test better skip some for a while :)

  8. i love anything with poppy seed — the usual cakes and muffins. i also put them in pancakes and crepes, which is just as good. but i go crazy over poppy seed strudel, which is the most common way of use for it in eastern europe (with such an abudance of poppy seeds, it’s part of their daily meal practically — in breads and for breakfast of course). in a strudel, the filling is pure poppy seed so it’s dark and rich and slightly moist — sometimes in variations like with some sour cherries mixed into it (great combination!) or sweetened peaches. a more “local” way of “cooking” with it is using it in pasta. instead of a sauce, a mixture of poppy seeds and sugar together with spaghetti makes for a (sweet) meal in itself. not exactly a favorite of mine, though.

  9. I’ve done poppy seed cake many times, but never tried it with citrus juice and zest – great idea, will try this next time, thanks MM! ;)
    Sometimes I also add a teaspoon of poppy seed oil to enhance the flavour of the cake. The oil is nice with salads and meats too.

  10. Love lemon poppyseed anything! I’m sure the citrus trifecta tastes even better. Only downside to this lusciousness is that you have to do a smile check after indulging. :-)

  11. Word of advise: If you will be taking a drug test, please don’t eat anything with poppy seeds in them because it will show in your test. Remember, poppy seeds come from the poppy plant…

  12. yum yum yum! poppy seed cake, my favorite and i hardly see any being sold anywhere. do you know anyone selling this in makati, MM?

  13. When I am in the mood for eating this cake, I only use my Wedgwood tea service, hahahaha. Oooops, baka may mambato ng fishpan!

  14. i’ve been making orange poppy seed cakes as the center of my christmas income for a couple of years already. :) i use a different glaze on mine though. it was my love for it and the disappearance of it from a popular coffee chain that made me bake it for my family at first :) but now, i thrive on making it.

    it was on mythbusters on discovery they found out that you actually have to eat a WHOLE LOAF of poppy seed cake (highly possible for some, i guess) to test positive for the drug test :) hahaha.

  15. i soooo love poppy seed cakes/muffins….i wanted so bad to make my own but it’s so hard to find poppy seeds here in Manila so I asked my mother-in-law to bring home as much as she can when she went to the U.S.A

  16. I love poppy seed cake/muffins/cupcakes too! I used to buy poppy seeds at that large grocery store in Greenhills (sorry, but for the life of me i cannot remember the name!)

    love the site Marketman!

  17. Hi MM! I’ve been wanting to make lemon poppy seed muffin however i cant find poppy seeds in the supermarkets. Can you tell me where in Manila i can buy Poppy seeds? Thanks!

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