Recipe: Tutti Fruity Orange and Poppy Seed Cake

This is a gorgeous simple cake, perfect for summer, says Mercy Fenton
Recipe: Tutti Fruity Orange and Poppy Seed Cake

Tutti Fruity Orange and Poppy Seed Cake by Mercy Fenton

"If you are new to baking this process will come up again and again, once you are confident with it most cakes are simple variations," says Mercy Fenton in her weekly column.

"The nectarines are poached in ginger and black pepper syrup, which complement the slight crunch in the cake beautifully. Using the syrup to soak the cake adds even more flavour."


225g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

225gr sugar

Zest of 2 oranges finely chopped

1 tsp. vanilla essence

110gr cream flour

½ tsp. baking powder

115 gr ground almonds

4 free-range eggs

20gr poppy seeds


  • Preheat the oven to 180 .
  • Line an 8 x 10 inch tin with parchment paper.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and ground almond.
  • Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light creamy.
  • Next add the vanilla and orange zest, beat well.
  • Gradually add the eggs beating well after each addition, it may start to seem slightly curdled after the third egg, if it doesn’t come together add a tablespoon or two of the dry mix and beat in before adding the last egg.
  • Add the remaining flour mix, and beat lightly until combined.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared tin level carefully.
  • Spread as evenly as possible to sides of pan.
  • Bake until the cake is golden and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  • While the cake s cooking prepare the syrup and nectarines.
  • Check with a skewer it should come out clean.
  • Once removed from the oven pierce evenly all over and carefully pour spoons of syrup evenly over the cake.
  • Allow to cool fully before serving.

Poached Nectarines & Ginger syrup

2 nectarines

200ml freshly squeezed orange juice (roughly 2 large oranges)

20 gr Finely chopped fresh ginger

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

15gr light brown sugar

1 tbsp. elderflower cordial


  • Heat the sugar, pepper, ginger and sugar (omit the cordial) until the sugar is dissolved
  • Cut the fruit in half then cut each half into three of four wedges.
  • Add the nectarines to the simmering syrup; poach until tender, four to six minutes if the fruit is ripe, more if firm.
  • When nearly tender, turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Leave for five to six minutes to continue cooking.
  • Once happy with the fruit carefully lift out into a clean container and chill.
  • Reduce the syrup to slightly thick, then remove from the heat and add the cordial ready to soak into your cake.
  • Once everything is cool serve each piece of cake with some poached nectarine, you should be able to remove the skin easily at this stage by just peeling away, if you wish.

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