Poppy Seed Lemon Chiffon Cake

This Israeli iconic cook book, cakes for every occasion (time), was one of Jonathan's very few possessions when I met him just days after his surprise 20th birthday party.  He sported a jewfro (as the kids call it) and a vintage powder blue jacket (I know, right?!), or maybe was it a whole suit?! Retrospectively it was really cool although back then I was intrigued and (quietly) questioned  his choice. In addition his closet carried a pair of each worn out jean shorts and worn out long jean, a Boston long cotton t-shirt and a killer tan he carried himself! With the exception of couple more shirts that was the sum of his earthly belongings.
Roaming around from class to class at Tel Aviv University, oblivious, or clueless to the multiple crushes girls had on him (guys, right?!) He was happy! He knew of this book through another girl he took to the prom back in the States. She made the chocolate brownies.  When he studied in Israel he purchased a copy. We still posses the book, and my favorite recipe out of it is a chiffon poppy lemon cake. A slice goes perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee at breakfast or brunch or high tea. I use fresh lemon juice instead of brandy and instead of a cup of poppy I use only 2.12 oz (60 grams) which is one spice jar.

Poppy Seed Lemon Chiffon Cake

2.12 oz (60 grams) poppy seeds
1/2 cup warm milk (or wine)

2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
Juice of one small lemon (or 2 tablespoons of brandy)
Zest of one small lemon
1 cup flour
1/2 cup self rising flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup canola oil

5 eggs whites
1/2 cup sugar

Glaze ingredients: (optional)
1 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
2 tablespoons plus lemon juice

Confectioners sugar for dusting

1. in a small bowl pour milk over poppy seeds and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl add 3/4 cups sugar, 5 egg yolks, juice and zest of lemon, vanilla and a pinch of salt.  Beat  for few minutes until mixture is fluffy.
3. Add 1/2 cup of oil to egg yolk mixture while continually beating.
4. Add both flours and mix until smooth, add poppy seed/milk mixture.
4. In a separate bowl beat egg white until they start getting volume, add sugar in few increments, while keep beating on high until it peaks.
5. Fold egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture in gentle folds with a rubber spatula until well combined.
6. Grease a round cake pan or a bundt pan, dust greased pan with some flour. turn pan upside down and tap excess flour out.
7. Pour batter into pan and bake in a pre heated oven for 50-60 minutes.  Insert a skewer to test for doneness.  Skewer should come out clean. Do not open oven mid-way or the batter will 'fall'.
8. Let completely cool in the pan.  Gently release at the edged with a knife.  On a serving plate turn the pan upside down and tap bottom of the pan.  the cake should release into serving plate easily.

Glaze Directions:
In a small bowl add confectioners sugar and lemon juice, mix.  Add more lemon juice for desired consistency for glazing.  Keep in mind it has to be pretty thick consistency otherwise the glaze will be absorbed by the cake like a sponge.

I usually just dust the cake with confectioners sugar, but the glaze is delicious and pretty.


  1. So pretty! I'm terrible at baking, but I'm more than tempted to make this...how do you think it would taste with the brandy?

  2. Thanks Angela! I tasted it w/brandy when others made it and it was pretty good. I peronally like the idea of pure poppy/lemon pairing. I know what you mean about baking...I am re-exploring it and next baking foccacia and veggie tart.

  3. That's a lovely looking cake... perfect to go with my morning cup of coffee.

  4. Thanks Bri. Isn't it? I've been making it for years. Love it for amorning bite and afternoon tea:).