Gluten free lemon and poppy seed cakes with lemon curd

Gluten free lemon and poppy seeds cakes with lemon curd and a lemon icing
Gluten free lemon and poppy seeds cakes with lemon curd and a lemon icing

Out of all the lemon cakes that I have made so far for this blog, this has to be one of my favorite bakes.  I love the combination of the lemon and the poppy seeds and my inspiration for this bake came after I spent one of my lazy Saturdays in a well know coffee shop.

I have mentioned in a previous blog post that the one thing that still makes my heart sink is all the cakes that are on sale in the coffee shops. Standing in the que for your hot drink, your eyes are automatically drank to the mouthwatering cakes that are on display. I am now very much over the fact that I can’t par-take in a hot drink and a cake on a Saturday, but I still like to have a look at the selection that are on sale. The cake that grabbed my attention a couple of weeks ago was a skinny poppy seed and lemon breakfast muffin. How you make cakes skinny defeats me, but the combination of ingredients got me thinking.

I did not just want to re-create a gluten free version of the lemon and poppy seed cake that I was starting to drawl over in the shop, but I wanted to add my own little twist. When thinking about the twist I wanted to make to the cake I wanted to the person eating this cake to be surprised not only by the flavor but I wanted to give them an added extra. What makes these cake different is the lemon curd center. My taste testers seemed to really enjoy having the center and said that it added a little more sparkle to the cake, it was not just another sponge cake.

I seem to be a quite lucky when it comes to my baking experiments, but for this cake I was not so lucky. After the success of my pound cakes I was convinced that this cake would add to the list of successful pound cake bakes. But it was not meant to be. Of course I am going to blame it on the oven and not on my baking skills.

Not all of my bakes go right... here is the proof
Not all of my bakes go right… here is the proof

I don’t always let my readers see the experiments, but here are the pictures from the experiments  It’s safe to say that I have not given up and will succeed in making a pound cake version, but perhaps once I have a much more sophisticated oven.

If you like the sound of trying the cupcake version and are not put off my the disaster of the pound cake have lots of fun baking and I would appreciate any feedback.

This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.


200g Gluten free self raisning flour flour
200g baking margarine
200g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2 teaspoons for xantham gum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
1/2 jar lemon curd
1/3 cup of poppy seeds


The juice of 1 lemon
5 tablespoons icing sugar


1. Pre-heat your oven on gas mark 5 or 180 oC. In a electric mixer or using a hand held electric cream the margarine and sugar until pale in colour, light and slightly fluffy.

2. Then add the vanilla extract and xantham gum and whisk until mixed in. Once mixed in, add one egg at a time and whisk in, it might look like it’s curdling, but keep on mixing. Now add the zest and poppy seeds in and mix in.

3. Once all the eggs and flavourings are mixed in, mix in the flour. Add all the flour at once and mix on a high speed for no more than 1 minute – do not over mix. If all the flour is not mixed in with egg and butter, don’t use the mixer, finish it off by hand. If you over mix the flour I have found that it makes the cake too dense and you will not end up with a light and fluffy cake. The secret I think is not to over mix the flour.

4. Put 12 cupcakes cases into  a cupcake tray. Spoon enough mixture into the bottom of each cupcake case. Using a teaspoon, put a small amount of lemon curd in the center of the mixture in the cupcake case. Then put enough mixture on top of the lemon curd to cover.

5. Place the cupcakes into a preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes on gas mark 5 or 180 oC. The cake will be done when you prick it with a stick and there is no mixture on the stick. It should look golden brown and spring back at you. If you need to bake it for longer, do so, but keep checking it. Once baked, leave in the tin to cool slightly and then place on to a cooling rack.

6. Once the cakes are cooled you can make the lemon icing. In a bowl mix the lemon juice and icing sugar. Drizzle over the cakes and leave to harden – or if you are like me, temptation will get the better of you and waiting is just a pointless game!

Enjoy and happy gluten-free baking 🙂

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