Orange Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Maple Glaze and Spring Flowers Recipe

orange poppyseed cake

Persephone’s Revenge: 
Orange Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Maple Glaze and Spring Flowers Recipe

We’ve all had our revenge fantasies. From the “involuntary” schadenfreude to the out and out Sesame Street-style “what would happen if I pop this balloon..?” But the best revenge is always the sweet kind. Which brings me to this cake. I can only think of Persephone as she comes back from the Underworld, ushering in Spring.

It’s the happiest cake I know. It’s just Bursting. That’s right auto-correct. With a capital B. It makes you want to sing. Makes you want to take down your grandma’s curtains, make clothes out of them, run out to the fields and make like that scene in The Sound of Music.

The hills are alive! Take that Hades. Persephone is in the house. (Let’s forget for a moment that Persephone had the worst ever case of The Stockholm Syndrome that puts Patty Hearst to shame.)

This cake is what would have been served on the day Hermes found her. Citrusy. Shiny. Sweet. Colorful. Spring in a springform pan.  A fresh orange cake with poppy seeds cake dripping with a raspberry maple glaze (it was, after all, Persephone’s ruby-stained lips that gave away the fact that after that time on the dark side, er, she ain’t what she used to be).

And because it is an homage to The Queen, we must crown the confection with edible flowers.

There are two versions of the cake below. One is gluten-free* and one is not. Both are equally good. There are also two versions of the glaze. One uses maple syrup and one uses harder-to-find maple cream*. All are vegantastic.

Gluten-Free Orange Poppy Seed Cake


  • 2/3 cup rice/almond/hemp milk

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds

  • 3/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour

  • 1/2 cup rice flour

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, plus more for pan

  • 3/4 cups agave nectar

  • 1/3 cup applesauce

  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons pure orange extract or 1 drop food grade orange oil

  • 1 good heaping tablespoon orange zest


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F
  • Lightly grease an 8-inch loaf pan with oil and line the bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit.
  • Pour the hemp milk, apple cider vinegar, and poppy seeds into a small bowl – but do not stir – and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.
  • Add the oil, agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla, and orange to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.
  • Using a rubber spatula, scrape the poppy seed mixture into the batter, and combine just until all ingredients are blended. The batter will expand slightly.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the center rack for 35 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after 18 minutes
  • The teacake will be golden brown and springy, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
  • Let the teacake stand in the pan for 20 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge of the bread.
  • Cover the top of the pan with a serving plate, and invert onto the plate.
  • Cover the uncut cake with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Orange Poppy Seed Cake


  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

  • 1 cup unbleached white flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/3 cup canola oil

  • 3/4 cup maple syrup

  • 2/3 cup rice/almond/hemp milk

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 T. fresh orange juice

  • 1 T minced orange zest

  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp. orange extract or 1 drop food-grade orange oil

  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar


  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Oil two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir with a wire whisk.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients together until well blended. Pour into the dry mixture and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth. The batter will be fairly thick.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Tap the pans lightly to eliminate air bubbles.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops of the cakes are golden, the sides have started to pull away from the pans, and a cake tester comes out clean with only a few moist crumbs.
  • Cool the pans on racks for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife between each cake and the inside of the pan. Invert onto a rack. Remove the pans and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Cool completely.

Raspberry Maple Glaze


  • 1 bag frozen raspberries, thawed

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup maple cream or maple syrup

  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract


  • Blend thawed raspberries in a blender.
  • Add maple cream or syrup and blend until smooth.

Edible Flowers
Optional of course but why not?
Great choices: carnations, begonias, apple blossoms, elderberry blossoms, chamomile or lavender.

Other topping ideas:
Fresh blackberries (black on red glaze! Kickass!)
Fresh raspberries or strawberries
Orange rind – curled


  • For a one-layer cake, pour and spread glaze wantonly.
  • For a two-layer cake, practice some restraint, only for a moment. Spread 1/2 a cup of the glaze on top of one cake then place the other cake on top and press lightly. Pour glaze with the same wanton abandonment as with the one layer cake.
  • Top with topping of choice.