in a large mixing bowl, beat together the softened butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then the eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. Add the food coloring (if using) and mix until smooth.
In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Sift the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then add the finely grated lemon zest and poppy seeds and mix until combined.
Fill the pan evenly with the batter.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 mins, or until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
Leave to cool 5 minutes in the pan.
While the cake is cooling in the pan, mix together the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and ½ cup of sugar to make the drizzle.
While the cake is still warm, transfer to a wire rack and prick the warm cake all over with a skewer and then pour over the drizzle – the juice will sink into the cake and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp topping.
Leave to cool 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack.
Be Sure to soften your butter. Using cold butter makes it almost impossible to get a smooth batter.
Try mixing the lemon zest into the sugar instead of separately; this releases the lemon oils and gives the cake extra flavor.
Don't have poppy seeds? No problem! The recipe works just fine without them!
When piercing the cake, the deeper the better! the deeper you go, the more of the drizzle the cake will soak up!
Be sure to add the drizzle to the cake while the cake is still hot. This makes it seep well into the cake, leaving only the crunchy topping behind.
Short on time? If you have a food processor, this cake can be made as an all in one cake by throwing all of the ingredients into a food processor with the regular blade and mixing until smooth (just be sure the butter is soft).