Lemon & Poppyseed Traybake with Gin & Lemon Frosting

I think this Lemon & Poppyseed Traybake with Gin & Lemon Frosting is going to become my new go-to when I need a “grown-up” birthday cake. There’s a lot to love about the cake itself, with it’s fresh lemon flavour and little earthy poppyseeds. Indeed, it’s a very nice cake without any frosting – if a little boring.

Once it’s been topped off with the boozy, gin-rich frosting the party really starts. Then every single bite comes with a little kick of alcohol which goes perfectly with the crumbly cake beneath. My one bit of advice would be to use quite a citrusy gin if you can, as this will complement the flavour rather than fighting against it.

But whatever booze you choose I can almost guarantee that this cake won’t hang around for long. This is one of those cakes that can be cut into 24 pieces, but almost nobody will be able to have just one of them… Well, in my experience at least…

You may notice that it’s similar to my Lemon & Poppyseed Loaf with Gin Fizz Drizzle. And you’d be quite right to think that, as the base cake recipe is identical for both. In this case the cake itself is cooked for a shorter time, in a wider pan, making a single layer cake that can take a lot of frosting. As such this is my preferred version for party cakes or when baking for the office. If you want something to go with a nice cup of tea then the loaf cake may be a better choice.

Lemon & Poppyseed Traybake with Gin & Lemon Frosting

Gin. Check. Lemon. Check. Cake??? Check! This Lemon & Poppyseed Cake is covered with a delicious gin and lemon frosting, bringing a wonderfully grown up flavour to this celebratory party traybake.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Baking, Sweets
Cuisine: Baking, Cakes, Sweets
Servings: 24
Calories: 166kcal


For the Cake

  • 225 g Margarine or softened Butter
  • 225 g Caster Sugar
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 2 Lemons zested and juiced
  • 225 g Self-Raising Flour sifted
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tbsp Poppy Seeds

For the Frosting

  • 75 g Softened Butter
  • 300 g Icing Sugar sifted
  • 50 ml Gin
  • 1 Lemon zested and juiced


Make the Cake

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
  • Line a tray bake tine (approx 30cm by 20cwith non-stick baking parchment and put to one side until needed.
  • In a large bowl beat together the sugar and margarine until it’s soft, fluffy and has lightened in colour.
  • Add in the eggs and mix thoroughly – the batter won’t look very nice at this stage and might appear to have curdled but soldier on! Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • In a separate bowl sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour to the wet mixture in two or three batches, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula between each addition to ensure everything is well mixed. It’s important to not overwork the flour here, so take your time and gently stir the mixture until you have a smooth batter.
  • When combined sprinkle over the poppy seeds and stir to distribute them through the mixture.
  • Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin, making sure it’s spread out to the edges. Tap the tin gently on your work surface to release any air bubbles.
  • Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on the top and cooked through. Depending on your oven you may want to start checking the cake with a skewer after 20 minutes – a skewer inserted into the thickest part of the cake will come out clean when it’s cooked.
  • Remove the cooked cake from the oven and place onto a cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes. After a brief rest, remove the cake from the tin and peel off the baking paper, before returning to the rack to completely cool.

Make the Frosting

  • When the cake is cool it will be ready to decorate.
  • In a large bowl beat the butter using an electric mixer until soft and light in texture. Slowly add in the sifted icing sugar and continue to mix until you have a smooth creamy frosting, though it will be quite stiff at this stage.
  • Add in the gin, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix thoroughly – this will make the mixture a lot softer and perfect for spreading over the top of the cake. It will harden over time, so don’t worry if it feels a little too soft.
  • Spread the frosting over the top of the cake with a palette knife, making sure you go all the way to the edges. Make any additional patterns or decoration in the frosting as you see fit, then leave out at room temperature for an hour or so before storing in an airtight container until ready to serve.


Serve when you’re ready for a nice cup of tea. You can keep the completed cake in an airtight container for a couple of days if needed – but don’t wait too long or it will go stale.


Estimated Values per Serving
of which Saturates2g
of which Sugars14g
Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “Lemon & Poppyseed Traybake with Gin & Lemon Frosting”