Weekend Bakes

Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake

Perfect Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake due to Cake Release

This weekend included a few firsts for me – I decided to make my favourite Lemon & Poppy Seed cake and a Carrot cake – both from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I’ve never made their carrot cake before – if it’s not broke don’t fix it right?

I love to use my bundt tin but sometimes have issues with the cake sticking to the pan so I thought I would give Wilton’s Cake Release a go to bake the Lemon & Poppyseed cake. So my cake went in and out of the oven as usual but I had a surprise when I turned it out, as if by a MIRACLE the cake didn’t so much as have a loose crumb or any tin sticking!  I was totally shocked!  I haven’t heard of anyone using Cake Release before – is it a baking secret or have I just been greasing my tins wrong all this time? I TOTALLY RECOMMEND CAKE RELEASE if you are using unusual shaped baking pans. I was so surprised that I then proceeded to bake the carrot cake in the bundt tin too!

The Carrot cake recipe was really simple, I’m not sure why I haven’t tried this recipe before now!  There is a bit of preparation – I’m lucky enough to have a Magimix so no hand grating of any carrots for me.  I didn’t have any ginger and not everyone like walnuts so these were omitted from the recipe.  To decorate I smeared it with cream cheese frosting (I refrigerated it for a few hours so it was nice and firm).  The cake incredibly moist and the soft brown sugar in it gave it have a lovely toffee/fudgy taste. It disappeared pretty quickly so I think everyone liked it, hence lack of photo!  Try it for yourself:

Carrot Cake – The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

The book specifies using 3 8″ inch cake pans, base lined with greaseproof paper. Makes 10-12 slices.


300g soft light brown sugar

3 (medium) eggs

300g sunflower oil

300g plain flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus extra to decorate

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

300g (finely grated) carrots

100g shelled walnuts, chopped, plus extra, chopped and whole, to decorate

Cream Cheese Frosting


  • Preheat oven to 170C/ 325F/gas mark 3
  • Put the sugar, eggs and oil in a freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated (will be a toffee colour, may look split, mine didn’t).
  • Slowly add the flour, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla and continue to beat until well mixed, (will almost be a dough like texture, really thick mix).
  • Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts by hand (with a spoon/spatula) until they are all evenly dispersed.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth over (to ensure an even cake when baked).
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. (I defo did the ‘clean knife’ test.  My cake took quite a bit longer due to me using the bundt tin).
  • Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins (about 10 mins) before turning out into a wire rack to cool completely.
  • (I leave it about an hour or so before I even attempt the next step otherwise the result could be melted frosting!)  When the cakes are cold, put one quarter of the cream cheese frosting over it with a palette knife.  Place a second cake on top ans spread another quarter of the frosting over it.  Top with the last cake and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides.  Finish with walnuts and a light sprinkling of cinnamon.
I think that some ground all-spice or nutmeg would be a nice addition, maybe even some dried raisins/sultanas.  Let me know how you find this recipe!

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