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Bitter Orange and Poppy Seed Cake

Somehow feeling just so ‘right’ to have on hand at this time of year, whether it’s being offered for breakfast or alongside a good strong cup of tea later in the day, the lovely combination of colors, flavors, and textures makes this cake a real treat! The recipe calls for using a classic English (read: bitter) marmalade, such as Seville orange marmalade, but we just had to use our newly-made batch of Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange Marmalade to stir into and top our loaf this time around. Of course, one might also use a lemon and Lemon Marmalade instead of an orange and orange marmalade — the choice, dear reader, is all yours!

Bitter Orange and Poppy Seed Cake

3 tbs. good-quality marmalade
5 oz. plain yogurt (okay to use low-fat)
3 eggs
7 oz. golden caster sugar (1 ¼ cup)
7 oz. self-rising flour (1 ½ cups plus 2 tbs.)
½ tsp. baking powder
12 tbs. butter, softened
zest 1 orange
2 tsp. poppy seeds

For the sticky topping

Juice ½ orange
5 tbs. marmalade

Heat the oven to 325°F. Grease a loaf tin, then line the base with a rectangle of parchment.

Put the marmalade into a small pan and heat gently until melted. (Or, put in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds on High). Remove from heat and beat in the yogurt, then let cool for a few minutes.

Put the remaining cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat with a mixer until smooth. Quickly beat in the yogurt and marmalade mixture, then pour into the prepared tin.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until golden and well-risen, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Check the cake after 45 minutes: if it has taken on a lot of color, loosely cover with foil. Meanwhile, heat the orange juice and marmalade in a small pan over a gentle heat until the marmalade melts. Set aside to cool, stirring now and again, until you have a thick, but still runny glaze. When the cake is ready, cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn onto a rack. Spoon the topping over the cake while it’s still warm. Wrap to keep once cooled completely – we find the flavor improves over time.

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