Orange Poppyseed Syrup Cake with Vanilla

This recipe is from Donna Hay’s modern classics recipe book. Donna gives traditional recipes a modern twist and shows how great easy recipes can taste. The most important bit with this cake is the syrup, it turns the cake into something truly special.



  • 75 g poppyseeds
  • 180 ml milk
  • 200 g soft butter
  • finely grated zest from one large orange
  • 170 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • Inside of a vanilla pod
  • 270g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 125 ml freshly squeezed orange juice

For the syrup

  • 200 g sugar
  • 200 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • shredded zest from one large orange



  1. Preheat the oven at 160 °C. Mix milk and poppyseeds in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Place butter, sugar and rind in bowl of electric mixer and mix until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl, then beat in eggs one at a time.
  3. Add flour, orange juice, and milk poppyseed mixture and stir until just combined..
  4. Scrape into the pan and bake for around 40 minutes [if cake browns too quickly cover loosely with foil].When cake is ready leave in the tin.
  5. Meanwhile, make syrup: place all ingredients into small saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.Increase heat and boil for five minutes or until thick.Using a skewer make a few holes in cake then pour over the syrup. Serve warm or cold.