Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cakes with Poppy Seeds

Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cakes with Poppy SeedsThese Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cakes with Poppy Seeds are brilliant to make for the  bake sale table at school fetes, which is what I first made them for. The addition of sour cream makes them incredibly tender and light. They were so good that I got an email from a dad who had bought one, asking for the recipe.

I do miss those school fetes now that J is at senior school. There was so much good will and pulling together to raise money for the scholarship fund as well as other charities. The Christmas fetes used to be spectacular themed events with parents, the Art department, the children and the maintenance department working in tandem to transform the school. One year the theme was Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with the full size bed and a paper mache family in it, in the entrance hall and Santa’s grotto awash with giant (cardboard) colourful sweets and candy canes. Probably the most spectacular was the Narnia theme, with a wardrobe complete with fur coats as the entry into the grotto and the school walls covered in white sparkly batting with thousands of hand made and decorated snowflakes and decorations hanging from the ceiling and on the walls. There was even a lamppost positioned outside the school doors. The fetes were really very special and I feel so privileged to have been a part of those happy times.

These Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cakes with Poppy Seeds can be made with a hand mixer or in a food processor but either way, don’t take long to come together. A slice is wonderful with a cuppa and the cakes are also good to take in to work or as a hostess gift – delicious home made cakes are ALWAYS appreciated!

Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cakes with Poppy Seeds

Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cakes with Poppy Seeds

Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cakes with Poppy Seeds

Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cakes with Poppy Seeds

Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cakes with Poppy Seeds

Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cakes with Poppy Seeds

Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cakes with Poppy Seeds

Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cake with Poppy Seeds

  • Servings: 2 loaf cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Jane Hornby’s Bitter Orange and Poppy Seed Cake for BBC Good Food

Each loaf cake cuts into 8 slices


  • 3 Tbsp thick cut marmalade
  • 150g sour cream
  • 175g soft butter
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 200g  flour
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 tsp toasted poppy seeds


  • 5 Tbsp marmalade
  • Juice of ½ an orange


  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C/320F
  2. Prepare 2 x 2 lb  loaf tins with paper liners or butter the sides and lay a strip of parchment paper to cover the bottom and run up the short sides as handles.
  3. Gently heat the marmalade  – you can do this on a medium setting in the microwave or in a pan on the hob.  Off the heat, stir in the sour cream . Let mix cool.
  4. Place the butter in a bowl or food processor and beat/blend until smooth. Add the sugar and beat/blend for a couple of minutes. Add the eggs, one by one, beating/blending well each time. The mix will look curdled but it will all be ok in the end.  Scrape down the sides and beat/blend again.
  5. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, poppy seeds and grate in the orange zest. Mix well with a fork or whisk; add the wet mix and beat in.
  6. Stir in the sour cream/marmalade mixture.
  7. Pour into the prepared tins  and place in the oven. I find it quite useful to divide up the batter by eye, leaving some behind in the mixing bowl and then weighing each tin to see where the remaining batter should go.
  8. Bake for 1 hour. Check at 30 minutes and  if they are colouring too much, cover loosely with baking parchment.  The cakes are done when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Give the cakes another 5 or 10 minutes if necessary. Mine were ready in 30 minutes but I have a very hot oven.
  9. While they are in the oven, prepare the glaze; heat the orange juice and marmalade until reduced but still runny. It will take about 5 minutes or so. Set aside to cool.
  10. Cool the cakes for 10 minutes on a rack in their tins.
  11. Turn them out and spoon over the glaze while the cakes are still warm

Loaf cakes will keep for 3-4 days if wrapped. Use baking paper to cover the top and foil to overwrap with.

11 thoughts on “Marmalade and Sour Cream Loaf Cakes with Poppy Seeds

    • Hi Charlie – you could definitely make it in a larger tin or paper up the sides of a 2 lb tin to make a collar. You will have to keep an eye on it over-browning so keep some parchment at hand to cover it if this happens. The original recipe said to bake the loaves for 1hr to 1 hr 10 mins but I found that was tooooo long. It might be right for one large loaf though. Let me know how you get on and I will edit the recipe to include your timings x


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