Lemon, poppy, thyme and ricotta cake (gluten-free)

Just perfect: Lemon, poppyseed cake served with homemade ricotta.
Just perfect: Lemon, poppyseed cake served with homemade ricotta. Photo: Edwina Pickles

This cake is perfect for a lazy afternoon or even for a dessert with a little ice-cream. To keep it simple, feel free to use a good store-bought ricotta.


200g unsalted butter, softened

150g castor sugar

3 free-range eggs

2 lemons

110g fine polenta

30g honey

200g almond meal

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

250g ricotta (see our recipe for lemon thyme-infused ricotta here)

1 sprig thyme

1 tsp poppy seeds


1. Preheat oven to 170C and grease and line a 23x13-centimetre loaf tin. 

2. Using electric beaters, beat the butter and sugar until pale. Add eggs one at a time until completely combined.

3. Zest one lemon and juice both, then fold into cake mix with remaining ingredients except the thyme and poppy seeds.

4. Pour into the loaf tin, poke in six or seven small pieces of thyme, top with poppy seeds and bake for about one hour. The cake should be golden brown.

To check it's cooked, insert and remove a skewer; if the skewer comes out clean, then it's ready. Serve on its own or with berries or lemon thyme-infused ricotta and a little honey.

Tip: Save the whey (liquid) from ricotta, as it's full of flavour and nutrients. Use it in risotto or to make muffins, pancakes or scones, a bit like buttermilk.