Donna Hay orange poppyseed syrup cake

14 Aug


Going through my stats recently it occurred to me that you all love Donna Hay. This makes me incredibly happy because – as you may have guessed – I too love Donna. I have mentioned it many MANY times here before so it is wonderful to see that we are in simpatico 🙂My top ranking recipe of all time is her gingerbread biscuits / cookies [curious? Here it is: gingerbread cookie but every recipe I post of Ms Hays gets a good reaction.

So allow me to present her orange poppyseed cake, as featured in one of my fav cookbooks Modern Classics 2. My mum gave me this book when I was pregnant with now Miss8 and it has had quite the workout.


I had two random oranges looking quite lonely in the fruitbowl recently so I turned those pieces of neglected fruit into a delectable cake. And all was right with the world.

As always I reduced the amount of sugar (in both the cake and the syrup) and used self-raising flour.




1/3 cup poppyseeds

¾ cup milk

2 cups self-raising flour

200g softened, diced butter

finely grated zest from one large orange

half a cup of caster sugar

3 free-range eggs

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice


½ cup caster sugar

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

shredded zest from one large orange


Preheat oven to 160C and grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.

Mix milk and poppyseeds in a small bowl; set aside.

Place butter, sugar and rind in bowl of electric mixer and mix until combined.

Scrape down sides of bowl, then beat in eggs one at a time.

Add flour, orange juice, and milk poppyseed mixture and stir until just combined.

Scrape into the pan and bake for around 40-50 minutes [if cake browns too quickly cover loosely with foil].

When cake is ready leave in tin.

Meanwhile, make syrup: place all ingredients into small saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.

Increase heat and boil for five minutes or until thick.

Using a skewer make a few holes in cake then pour over the syrup.

Serve warm or cold.


62 Responses to “Donna Hay orange poppyseed syrup cake”

  1. Lauren @ Create Bake Make August 14, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    Oh I just love Donna Hay too and Modern Classics 2 is one of my favourite cookbooks as well! I hope we can catch up at Problogger, I think we have a few things in common 🙂

    • thehungrymum August 18, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      Isn’t that book the BEST? Mine is somewhat grotty due to constant use 🙂 I’d love to meet up at Problogger – it is getting so close! #exciting

  2. August 14, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    I have enjoyed all of the recipes you have posted from Donna Hay but I do not have any of her cookbooks – I guess I need to look into that 🙂

    • thehungrymum August 18, 2014 at 10:16 am #

      Good to hear! I’ll keep posting her recipes for you 🙂

  3. MyKabulKitchen August 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    I love a syrup cake as I am not a big fan of icing and love the texture of the cake after it has been soaked, this looks sweet and light with the use of the oranges 🙂

    • thehungrymum August 18, 2014 at 10:08 am #

      Oh, me too! Icing is *so* not my thing but syrup cakes have such a delightful texture & are just a little bit fancier than your average bake 🙂

  4. platedujour August 14, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    This cake looks yummy, and may I have this pan please, looks like a pretty cool prop for my pictures 😉

    • thehungrymum August 15, 2014 at 10:40 am #

      Thanks! I love buying cake props, such a huge variety out there 🙂

  5. Traditionally Modern Food August 14, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    Never used poppy seed in cake.. Thanks for the idea

    • thehungrymum August 15, 2014 at 1:34 am #

      You’ll love it! I’ve also posted a lemon poppyseed cake before, so try that one, too 🙂

  6. Liz August 15, 2014 at 1:20 am #

    so light and springy! Good call on giving us more Hay 🙂

    • thehungrymum August 15, 2014 at 10:12 am #

      A little bit of Donna makes everyone happy 🙂

  7. tanaramccauley August 15, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    That looks delicious!

  8. chef mimi August 15, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    Where have I been? I have never heard of Donna Hay. But not only is that one beautiful cake – that cake platter with the cover are absolutely gorgeous!!!

    • thehungrymum August 18, 2014 at 10:03 am #

      Donna Hay changed my life! Her recipes inspired me to pick up a wooden spoon and start baking. And thanks – the cake cover was an engagement gift. Every time I use it I feel so happy 🙂

  9. Noted in Nashville August 15, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    Oh my goodness! Wouldn’t this be a lovely Sunday brunch treat?!

    • thehungrymum August 16, 2014 at 7:33 am #

      It would be *perfect* for a Sunday brunch 🙂 I like the way you think!

  10. Choc Chip Uru August 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    Oh my gosh, absolutely loving this orange cake 😀
    It is my mum’s favourite!

    Choc Chip Uru

    • thehungrymum August 18, 2014 at 10:03 am #

      Your mum has excellent taste, CCU! It is a winner of a cake 🙂

  11. Kristen August 15, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    I’ve never heard of Donna Hay before reading your blog but I’m so happy that you’ve introduced me to her! Perhaps she hasn’t quite reached the North American market yet. Your cake looks beautiful!

    • thehungrymum August 16, 2014 at 8:12 am #

      I am happy to introduce you to my culinary hero! Donna is akin to Australia’s Martha, although her recipes are more user-friendly & simple yet special. Highly recommend trying this cake – is a beauty 🙂

  12. Becky August 15, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    I love poppyseeds, I love orange and I love syrup cakes. I think, I have to try this cake soon! Thanks for posting. 🙂

    • thehungrymum August 16, 2014 at 8:13 am #

      Awww, thanks 🙂 Make it & let me know what you think!

  13. brownsideup August 15, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

    Looks great!!

    • thehungrymum August 16, 2014 at 7:32 am #

      cheers! If you like the look, you’ll love the taste.

  14. Fae's Twist & Tango August 16, 2014 at 5:54 am #

    Just the name alone makes me love this cake! 😛

    • thehungrymum August 16, 2014 at 7:29 am #

      Thanks! Hope you get a chance to make it 🙂

  15. spiceinthecity August 16, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    I’ve never made a syrup cake yet. Going to try this one soon, sounds amazing 🙂

    • thehungrymum August 16, 2014 at 9:22 am #

      It is SO easy but elevates a cake to another level! Hope you do try it, is a real winner.

  16. Culinary Flavors August 16, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    In Greece we make many syrupy cakes and we love them because they are so fluffy and juicy just like this one! Thanks for coming and linking up at The Weekend Social. All posts get pinned in our pinterest board! Please be sure to come back next week starting Thursdays at 9PM EST on ! I hope to see you there!

    • thehungrymum August 17, 2014 at 12:35 am #

      I *love* Greek desserts – they are always some full of flavour. And syrup just elevates a cake from humble to stunning. See you next week at the Social 🙂

  17. Bam's Kitchen August 18, 2014 at 5:02 am #

    I love lemon lemon desserts and I know I would love this orange and poppyseed cake. Does it almost have the consistency of a pound cake or is it very light. Either way I am sure I will need to give this recipe a try soon. Take Care, BAM

    • thehungrymum August 18, 2014 at 8:29 am #

      Me too – I’m a real citrus fan. This has more of a pound cake texture but the syrup keeps it moist. I got so many compliments on this when I took it in to work 🙂

  18. marymtf August 18, 2014 at 5:26 am #

    Beauddifull! I’ve got a marble cake in the oven right now, but your cake is next on my list. Yumm.

    • thehungrymum August 18, 2014 at 8:26 am #

      Cheers! Hope you do get a chance to make it, you’ll be glad you did 🙂

  19. Tandy | Lavender and Lime August 18, 2014 at 8:05 am #

    I have never tried one of her recipes but this looks amazing and such a great combination of flavours 🙂

    • thehungrymum August 18, 2014 at 8:24 am #

      One of the things I love about Donna is that her recipes *always* work. I have about a billion on my blog if you want to see a concise ‘best of.’

  20. vegeTARAian August 18, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    Yum, orange and poppyseed is one of my favourites! I would so love a slice of this right now 😉

    • thehungrymum August 18, 2014 at 11:36 am #

      Alas, cake is long gone. Was such a success that I’ll be making it again sooner rather than later…

  21. Sugar and Cinnamon August 19, 2014 at 3:27 am #

    This cake looks beautiful! Poppy seed and citrus is one of my fave combinations 🙂 And you can’t go wrong with Donna Hay!

    • thehungrymum August 19, 2014 at 10:41 am #

      another Donna fan! There’s an army of us 🙂 This cake is so simple yet special, hope you get a chaace to make it.

  22. Midge August 20, 2014 at 8:02 am #

    Oh my goodness! I remember seeing this in one of my old Donna Hay magazines, but I’ve never actually made it! Definitely going over this recipe tomorrow; it’s a holiday in my part of the world, and this would go down beautifully for a tea-time treat. 😀

    • thehungrymum August 20, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      Donna Hay magazine is my happy place! I *love* every one of my issues. Hope you get a chance to make it, everyone will love it 🙂

  23. Frugal Hausfrau September 3, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    Oh my gosh, this looks so amazing. I’ve had cakes like this years ago, but nothing like this – they were far more conservative. And they certainly didn’t have poppyseeds! I had to look up Donna Hay and it seems like she must be the equivalent of our Martha Stewart here in the states…

    Well I’m off to look over the gingerbread cookies! Another one of my faves…

    • thehungrymum September 3, 2014 at 9:41 am #

      Oh, thank you! What a lovely comment to read – made me uber-happy 🙂 Donna Hay is probably the Australian Martha – although on a much more ‘doable’ level, if you know what I mean. That gingerbread recipe is one of the most popular recipes on my blog!

  24. Kloesunny @ Kloe's Kitchen September 25, 2014 at 1:32 am #

    Oh my! I just about die every time I see something poppy seed. It is my total favorite and I hardly ever get it! Where do you buy it?? Thanks for sharing it looks amazing. 🙂

  25. thefolia October 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    I love poppy seeds it’s the only way I would ever eat a bagel…I shall give them a shot with this recipe. Happy Nesting.

    • thehungrymum October 19, 2014 at 7:50 am #

      Poppy seeds are so great, aren’t they? And I love bagels, too.

  26. A_Boleyn May 31, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    I’ve never combined poppyseeds with orange, just lemons. I don’t know why cause this looks like a gloriously delicious and moist version.

    • thehungrymum June 1, 2015 at 2:22 am #

      Poppyseeds and citrus of all types are BFFs. I need to make this cake again – it is such a hit.

  27. thefolia August 22, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    Love this simple cake with the touch of surprise…the poppies. Also love the baking pan. Happy baking!

    • thehungrymum August 22, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

      Thank you! This is by the far the most popular recipe on my blog by MILES 🙂

  28. moégrrl October 2, 2015 at 1:23 am #

    Reblogged this on MoéGrrL.

  29. Kobie December 9, 2015 at 6:15 am #

    Is there a thermomix conversation for this recipe ?

    • The Hungry Mum December 19, 2015 at 6:14 am #

      hi, I don’t have a thermomix so nope. Good luck if you try it – let me know how it goes.

  30. Brandee muscat September 28, 2016 at 10:57 am #

    Hi just wanted to double check if it was 160 degree fan forced or not ? Thank you ! 🙂

  31. Georgia December 18, 2016 at 8:22 am #

    This cake looks lovely! Are Australian cup measurements (250ml) used? Cheers

    • The Hungry Mum December 18, 2016 at 8:38 pm #

      Thanks Georgia, it is one of my v fav cakes. Yes, Australian cups are used, at 250mL is correct. Hope you love this cake!


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