Orange & Poppyseed Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

I know you’ve heard of lemon and poppyseed everything before, but have you heard of it’s lesser known sister, orange and poppyseed? This lesser known sister is actually more popular in Australia than lemon and poppyseed and you can even buy it in packet cake mix form. Of course, a packet cake mix is blasphemy in the food blogging world, so I’ll show you how to make it from scratch. Don’t worry, it’s super easy and you don’t even need an electric mixer.

Orange & Poppyseed Cake | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Orange & Poppyseed Cake | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

In my very first post last year, I was so excited to have bought a food processor. At the same time, I also bought a cheap handheld electric mixer which I thought would make life so much easier. Since I bought those two items, I think I’ve used each of them about four times, that’s how useful they’ve been. And it’s not because I’m not making recipes that don’t need them or because they don’t work properly. They work perfectly fine, I just really prefer to use a wooden spoon and a bowl most of the time. It’s just so much easier and less time-consuming. I’m already using a bowl to combine the mixture, so I literally have to grab a wooden spoon, get a good grip, and put my muscles to good use. Using the mixer involves going to another room, lugging it back, finding a spare power point to plug it in to, and don’t get me started on the washing up!

Orange & Poppyseed Cake | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Orange & Poppyseed Cake | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

A bowl and wooden spoon may take a little bit longer for the actual mixing, but saves me time in the long run. And if I’m not in any hurry, I normally just sit myself down in front of a good TV show and get a-mixing – old school style. Clearly, I’m a big supporter of the bowl and wooden spoon (not for smacking children of course) and I urge you to put away your mixers and give it a go. I also want to give those with limited kitchen resources hope that you can bake delicious treats with just a few essentials. Don’t give up on a recipe if it says to use a mixer; a bowl and spoon will normally work just as well.

Orange & Poppyseed Cake | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Orange & Poppyseed Cake | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

So, this cake! It is moist, with a great orange flavour from the zest and freshly squeezed juice and has an awesome poppyseed crunch. It’s topped with a smooth cream cheese icing which gives it that extra mmmm! It’s whipped up in no time, poured into a baking pan and left to it’s own devices until browned on top and cooked through. It’s great for morning tea, afternoon tea, dessert, any time of day that requires a sweet snack (and maybe even breakfast because it has fruit in it! Just kidding!).

Orange & Poppyseed Cake | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Orange & Poppyseed Cake | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

Orange & Poppyseed Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

  • Servings: 10-12 slices
  • Print

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes


½ cup milk
⅓ cup poppyseeds
2½ cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
180g butter, diced and at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
Zest of 2 oranges (about ½ cup)
½ cup fresh orange juice
⅓ cup cream cheese, at room temperature
30g butter, diced and at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup icing sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Line a 24cm round cake pan with baking paper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix milk and poppyseeds and set aside. In a large bowl, sift flour and baking powder and also set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, beat butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract with a wooden spoon (or an electric mixer), until light, fluffy and well-combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in milk and poppyseeds, orange zest and orange juice. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to fold sifted flour into batter until just combined.
  4. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. While cake is cooling, make cream cheese icing: Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and icing sugar in a small bowl until well combined. If mixture is too thick for spreading on cake, add 1 tsp of orange juice or boiling water. When cake has cooled completely, ice top and sides.

Recipe adapted from Taste.



  1. Yum!! This looks perfect! I love citrus flavours and cream cheese icing. Actually, I love cream cheese icing, period!

    1. Thanks Gab! Cream cheese icing just makes everything taste a million times better!

  2. Oh wow, I dream of cakes like this. Lemon and poppy seed is one of my absolute favourites… can’t imagine that orange and poppy seed would be far behind! Love this recipe and the gorgeous pics – thanks 🙂

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