This Orange and Poppy Seed Cake bursts with vibrant citrus notes, balanced by a moist, tender crumb, and ready in under an hour. Finished with a simple dusting of powdered sugar.
This orange and poppy seed cake brings together zesty orange and crunchy poppy seeds.
Like my lemon poppy seed loaf, the pairing of citrus and poppy seeds exude both flavor and finesse.
You’ll also find poppy seeds in my strawberry poppy seed muffins.
The use of Greek yogurt and olive oil creates a moist crumb, each bite is tender and satisfying. I love this combination in my eggless vanilla cake too.
Whether served as a comforting dessert or an accompaniment to tea or coffee, Orange Poppy Seed Cake proves to be versatile and endlessly appealing.
Baked in a loaf tin, you can cut beautiful rectangle slices that are perfectly portioned.
These slices serve up effortlessly, whether you’re displaying them on a decorative platter for guests or packing them for a portable snack.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- One bowl cake.
- Potent orange flavor.
- Beginner baker friendly.
- Soft and fluffy.
- Perfect tea time cake.
- Loaded with crunchy poppy seeds.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
A comprehensive recipe card featuring all the ingredients can be found at the end of this post.
- All-purpose flour: Also known as plain flour in Australia. Make sure to accurately measure your flour for the best results.
- Baking powder: Ensure this is not expired. It’s easy to test if your leavers are still active.
- Caster sugar: I use golden/raw caster sugar for depth of flavor. Can be substituted with granulated sugar, keep in mind the texture will be slightly different.
- Orange: Zest and juice will be used. You’ll need about 2-3 oranges, depending on their size.
- Poppy seeds: Find these at your local supermarket, health food store or online.
- Salt: Any fine salt will do.
- Eggs: Must be at room temperature and lightly beaten before adding.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil works best. Alternatively, use neutral-flavored vegetable oil as a substitute.
- Greek yogurt: Use plain Greek yogurt or plain Greek style yogurt.
- Vanilla extract: Substitute with one teaspoon of vanilla paste.
- Powdered sugar: Optional, to dust over your baked cake. Also known as icing or confectioners sugar.
Step By Step Instructions (with photos)
There is a full and detailed recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step one: Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF) fan-forced. Line a 9-inch x 5-inch (23cm x 13cm) rectangle loaf baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Step two: In a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, sugar, orange zest, poppy seeds and salt. Whisk until well combined.
Step three: Make a well in the center and pour in the orange juice, beaten eggs, olive oil, yogurt and vanilla.
Step four: Using a rubber spatula, mix and fold ingredients together until incorporated, about 30 seconds, do not over-mix, just until no streaks of flour remain.
Step five: Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.
Step six: Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
Step seven: Remove from oven and cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step eight: Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Cut into slices, serve and enjoy!
- Measure your baking ingredients accurately: Check out my helpful guide on how to measure basic ingredients.
- Use a non-stick baking tin: For a smooth-sided cake, grease the tin with butter, line the base with parchment paper, dust the sides with flour and tap out the excess.
- Do not over-mix the cake batter: It will result in a tough and dense textured cake after baking.
- How to check the cake is baked: Test the cake’s doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it’s clean or has a few crumbs, you’re good to go!
- A dusting of powdered sugar: Instead of a thick frosting, powdered sugar dusted of the baked cake is simple and sweet.
- Spread with butter: A thin or generous spread of butter on a slice makes each bite even more irresistible.
- Creamy goodness: A scoop of vanilla ice cream or a swirl of whipped cream makes everything better.
- Coffee or Tea: Enjoy your cake with a hot cup of your favorite tea or a cup of freshly brewed coffee or a latte.
Store: Once cooled, store your cake in an airtight container, at room temperature, for 3-4 days. Storing it in the refrigerator will dry the cake out.
How To Freeze Baked Cake
- Freeze the cake either in individual slices or as a whole cake.
- Wrap the whole cake/slices in one layer of plastic wrap and one layer of foil.
- Label the wrapped cake with the date of freezing for easy reference.
- Store the cake in the freezer for 2-3 months.
How To Thaw Frozen Cake
Once thawed, you can dust over the powdered sugar.
This gradual thawing process helps retain the cake’s moisture and texture.
- Remove the wrapped cake from the freezer.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator, keeping it completely wrapped.
- Let the cake thaw slowly for several hours or overnight.
Room Temperature Thawing:
This quick thawing method ensures the cake softens fast.
- Keep the cake wrapped in plastic wrap and tin foil.
- Let it sit at room temperature for a few hours until softened.
Partial Thawing for Slicing:
If you freeze the entire cake but want only one or a few slices, this process allows you to enjoy individual slices while keeping the rest fresh for later.
- Remove the cake from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Allow it to partially thaw until it softens enough to be easily sliced.
- Slice the desired portions.
- Refreeze any remaining cake portions you don’t plan to serve immediately.
If you enjoy this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️ star rating and a comment review below. I love to hear what you think and it’s much appreciated. Thank you! Your email address will not be published. Sam x
One Bowl Orange and Poppy Seed Cake
- 1 1/2 cups (225g) all-purpose flour, scoop & leveled
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup golden caster sugar
- 3 Tbsp finely zested orange zest, about 2-3 large oranges
- 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, about 2-3 large oranges
- 2 large eggs, beaten, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF) fan-forced. Line a 9-inch x 5-inch (23cm x 13cm) rectangle loaf baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside. If using a non-stick tin, grease well with butter, line the base with parchment, and lightly flour the sides, tapping out excess flour. This ensures smooth cake sides.
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, sugar, orange zest, poppy seeds and salt. Whisk until well combined.
- Make a well in the center and pour in the orange juice, beaten eggs, olive oil, yogurt and vanilla.
- Using a rubber spatula, mix and fold ingredients together until incorporated, about 30 seconds, do not over-mix, just until no streaks of flour remain.
- Pour batter into the prepared loaf tin.
- Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. The cake should also spring back when lightly pressed in the middle.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Optional: Dust with powdered sugar.
- Cut into slices, serve and enjoy!
- Store: Once cooled, store your cake in an airtight container, at room temperature, for 3-4 days.
- Freeze: Cool it completely after baking and wrap either the whole cake or slices in plastic wrap then in foil. Label with the date and store for 2-3 months in the freezer. Please refer to above blog post for detailed storing, freezing and thawing instructions.
- Thaw: the frozen cake by choosing either refrigerator thawing (slow, several hours) or room temperature thawing (quick, a few hours).
First published in November 2018, this recipe was updated in November 2023 to include new step-by-step images, expert recommendations, storage guidelines and more.