Clementine poppy seed loaf

This easy, zesty loaf cake makes a lighter festive alternative to traditionally dense fruitcakes – pipe the icing and add candied peel to add a touch of Christmas sparkle

  • Prep:30 mins
    Cook:1 hrs 10 mins
    plus cooling
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 516
  • fat 28g
  • saturates 17g
  • carbs 62g
  • sugars 44g
  • fibre 1g
  • protein 4g
  • salt 0.4g


  • 140g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 50g crème fraîche
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp orange or vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 50g cornflour
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 4 clementines, zest from 3 and 100ml juice
  • 140g unsalted butter, softened
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 140g crème fraîche
  • zest 2 clementines
  • 1 tbsp chopped candied peel (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and grease a 2lb loaf tin. Line the base and ends with a long strip of baking parchment.

  2. Beat the butter, crème fraîche, sugar and vanilla extract until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, one by one, followed by the flours, poppy seeds, zest and juice. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake on a middle shelf for 1 hr–1 hr 10 mins until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Cool the cake for 20 mins in the tin, then carefully tip out and cool completely on a wire rack.

  3. Meanwhile, make the icing – beat together the butter, icing sugar and crème fraîche until pale and fluffy. Add half the clementine zest and beat just a couple of times to incorporate, then cover and leave in the fridge to chill until the cake is ready to ice and the icing is firm enough to spread or pipe.

  4. Spread the icing all over the cake or put in a food bag or piping bag, snip off the corner and pipe thick stripes over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining clementine zest, the candied peel (if you like), and a pinch more poppy seeds. Will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

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