Add a little something extra to the run of the mill chocolate cake recipe by including the wonderful nutty flavour of poppy seeds. This one is simple to make and is sure to impress.

Serves 8
Ready in 1 hour 30 minutes, plus cooling

2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp hot milk
175g unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, beaten
175g self-raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
75g ground almonds
Icing sugar, to dust
Sliced plums, to serve (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Grease a 23cm round shallow cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Mix the poppy seeds and hot milk in a small heatproof bowl and set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with a hand-held electric whisk until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs then sift over the flour and cocoa powder and fold in with a metal spoon. Fold in the poppy seed and milk mixture and the ground almonds.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and level the surface. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until risen, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust the top of the cake with icing sugar and serve sliced with fresh plum slices, if liked.

Make it a hot dessert: This cake makes a delicious hot pudding too. Just cool for 5-10 minutes then cut into slices and drizzle with warmed chocolate or salted caramel sauce and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

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