Naked Orange Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

This pretty cake, by Anneka Manning of Bake Club has a heavenly vanilla-scented frosting and beautiful moist crumb thanks to the addition of sour cream in the cake mixture. It’s wonderful for birthdays and special afternoon teas.

45 mins
25 mins/ layer + cooling


Orange Poppyseed Cake
  1. Melted butter, to grease
  2. 3 oranges
  3. 3 tablespoons poppyseeds
  4. 125g (½ cup) sour cream
  5. 250g butter, cubed, at room temperature
  6. 300g (1⅓ cups) caster sugar
  7. 2 tsp Queen Finest Vanilla Extract, Madagascar
  8. 4 eggs
  9. 350g (2⅓ cups) plain flour
  10. 3 tsp baking powder
Candied orange rind
  1. 3 oranges
  2. 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
  3. 250ml (1 cup) water
  1. 250 g butter, at room temperature
  2. 375 g (3 cups) icing sugar, sifted
  3. 2 tsp Queen Finest Vanilla Extract, Madagascar


  1. Step 1

    To make the cake layers, preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease two shallow 20cm (base measurement) round cake tins with melted butter and line the bases with rounds of non-stick baking paper.

  2. Step 2

    Finely grate the rind from the oranges and set aside. Juice the fruit and measure 125ml (½ cup), reserving the rest for another use. Divide the juice evenly between two medium bowls. Add half the poppy seeds and half the sour cream to each, dividing evenly. Set aside.

  3. Step 3

    Use an electric mixer to beat the 125g of the butter, 150g sugar, 1 teaspoons vanilla and half the orange rind until pale and creamy. Add 2 of the eggs, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Sift together 175g of the flour and 1½ teaspoons of the baking powder. Fold half the flour mixture through the butter mixture until just combined. Fold through one quantity of the poppy seed mixture and then the remaining flour mixture until just combined.

  4. Step 4

    Divide the cake mixture evenly between the prepared cake tins and use the back of a metal spoon to smooth the surfaces. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cakes come out clean. Stand in the tins for 5 minutes before turning onto wire racks, topside down, to cool (this will take about 30 minutes).

  5. Step 5

    Repeat with the remaining poppy seed mixture and ingredients to make two more cake layers.

  6. Step 6

    Meanwhile, to make the candied orange rind, use a vegetable peeler to remove the rind from the oranges in wide strips. Use a small sharp knife to remove any white pith from the rind. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange rind strips and bring to a simmer. Simmer, without stirring, for 12-15 minutes or until the rind is translucent and the syrup has thickened. Use a fork to transfer the rind from the syrup to a wire rack. Set aside. Reserve the syrup.

  7. Step 7

    To make the Vanilla buttercream, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl until very pale and creamy. Cover and set aside at room temperature.

  8. Step 8

    To assemble the cake, place a cake layer, topside down, on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread with a little of the buttercream and then top with another layer of cake. Continue to layer with some of the remaining buttercream and cake layers finishing with a cake layer. Spread a thin layer of buttercream around the outside of the cake so that the cake layers show through. Spread the remaining buttercream on top, swirling as desired. Decorate with the candied orange rind and drizzle with some of the remaining syrup just before serving.


– The cake layers can be baked in two batches but if you are lucky enough to have four cake pans that can fit in your oven all at once then feel free to make the mixture in one lot and bake them all together.

– This cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. The cake layers will also freeze well – wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then seal them in a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature before layering with the Vanilla buttercream.