Orange & Poppy Seed Tea Cake

This cake is refreshing & delightful. I decided to gather the best aspects from a few recipes to make a dense cake perfect for an afternoon tea. I love the texture of the cake - it originally was meant to have a syrup poured over it. The cake isn't light & fluffy at all, but full & wholesome. I also adore that the seeds "pop" in your mouth as you bite into it adding a fantastic textural element.

Last time my friend Heidi & her mother came for afternoon tea they had this cake & enjoyed it so much that they asked for the recipe, so when it was time to bake for her baby sprinkle it wasn’t even a question! I also knew that the neutral colours of the cake would be ideal for my theme.

¼ cup black poppy seeds
¾ cup full cream milk
200 grams unsalted butter, softened
1 orange rind, zested with a microplane
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
½ cup orange juice
¾ cup caster sugar
3 eggs
2 cups of plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder

250 grams cream cheese, softened
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1½ - 2 cups of soft icing sugar, sifted
  (taste for sweetness)
1 tbs orange rind

Quick Kitchen
:: To make a quick orange syrup to pour over the top instead of the icing, place 1 cup of Orange Marmalade Jam into a small saucepan with 1/4 cup of water. Heat til warm & well combined. Remove cake from cake tin, top-side up, onto a wire rack. Spoon half the syrup over a hot cake then allow to cool. Serve cake with double cream & remaining syrup.