Do you love your local cafe's Orange and Poppy Seed Muffins? This recipe will help you re-create your favourite treat at home.
It's so simple to bake up a batch of your own. And, dare I say, the results are so good you may decide to skip the cafe for good.
I forget exactly when I discovered the Orange and Poppy Seed Muffin. But, whenever it was, it was surely love at first bite.
The warm, fluffy, zesty inside. The crisp, sweet, orange-y, exterior. The ever-so-subtle nutty flavour of the poppy seeds – not to mention the big health benefits that attach to these little seeds.
Out of all the wonderful muffin flavours out there, this one is surely a top contender for "best ever" muffin.
And this recipe is highly rated by readers and one I use myself over and over again.
Finding the best cafe-style muffin recipe
So as a big fan of these cafe-style muffins, I made it my mission to develop the best recipe out there.
First, of course, I went to Nana Ling's collection. With little success, I'm afraid. Sorry, Nana Ling, but your muffin recipes just don't cut it in today's world.
Over the years, I've tried quite a few modern muffin recipes from cookbooks and the web. I've found some nice recipes, but never quite nailed it.
So, I turned to Google and researched my way around what makes a perfect muffin to come up with my own recipe. It's based on this research, the many recipes I've tried over the years and my extensive experience in sampling this product in cafes!
Some of the "secrets" to great muffins that I've incorporated in this recipe include:
- adding yoghurt along with milk, for added moisture
- using both oil and butter, oil to get a little crispiness on the outside and the butter for a richer flavour
- using fresh orange juice and zest, for that real citrus flavour
- avoiding over-mixing (to avoid gluten formation) which can negatively affect the texture of your muffins
- baking at a higher temperature before lowering the temperature, to get a nice rise and crispy muffin top.
I'm so pleased with the results and, best of all, this recipe is so, so simple.
Have you got everything on the ingredient list? Here's what you'll need:
- SR flour (I've been told by a reader that this recipe also works well with gluten free SR flour) (and SR flour is simply 1 cup plain/all purpose flour + 1 teaspoon of baking powder)
- caster sugar
- poppy seeds
- greek or natural yoghurt
- vegetable oil
- an orange or two.
I you're going to add the icing, you'll also need some icing sugar along with some extra orange juice and poppy seeds.
Ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
You'll also need to make sure you have the right tins. You can use a cupcake size tin, to make 12 muffins, or a larger muffin tin (usually measuring about 35 x 26cm/9 x 4cm) to make 6 larger muffins.
There are cooking times for both in the recipe card below.
How to make Orange and Poppy Seed Muffins
Before you get to sit down with a cuppa and sink your teeth into a freshly baked muffin, there are a few steps to get through. But it won't take long. Promise!
Start by pre-heating the oven to 220 degrees celsius / 430 degrees fahrenheit (fan-forced).
Prepare the muffin pans by greasing well or spraying with oil. If you have the large cafe-style muffin tin, this mixture makes 6 muffins. If you have a cupcake-size tin, it makes 12.
Next, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and poppy seeds and stir to combine.
Add the remaining muffin ingredients, and stir gently to combine.
TIP: Don't over-stir. This can negatively impact the texture of the muffin.
Spoon mixture into tins. (The cups should be close to full)
Place into the oven and bake for 5 minutes before turning oven temperature down to 190 degrees celsius / 375 degrees fahrenheit (fan-forced).
If you're using a smaller cupcake tin, bake for a further 10-12 minutes (or until a metal skewer inserted into a muffin comes out clean). If using a cafe-style larger muffin tin, bake for a further 18 minutes (or until a metal skewer inserted into a muffin comes out clean).
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before easing each muffin from the tin and placing on a cooling rack.
The icing is optional, and you'll need to wait until the muffins are completely cool before icing them.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add orange juice, one teaspoon at a time, until you have a slightly runny mixture.
Spoon icing over muffins once they are completely cool and sprinkle some poppy seeds over the icing before it sets.
When mixing the batter, go easy. Over-mixing is the enemy of lovely, fluffy muffins.
During the baking process, you need to remember to adjust the temperature. Set a timer so you don't forget!
You can up the citrus hit by adding more orange zest to the mixture or adding some zest to the icing mixture.
I sometimes glaze my muffins with homemade orange marmalade rather than icing them, too. Get the marmalade ready for glazing the muffins as soon as they are taken out of the oven. You may need to warm the marmalade slightly so it will spread and cut any larger chunks of rind.
Once you've glazed the muffins, allow to cool a little before gently easing the muffins from the tin. They should slide out easily.
Enjoying your muffins
Put the kettle on because it's time to sample your homemade muffins. You can enjoy them warm or at room temperature.
The muffins are best eaten within a few days. Store them in a container that breathes a little or a paper bag.
You can also wrap them or place in a freezer bag and store for up to three months. When you'd like a muffin, simply allow to thaw to room temperature or thaw and heat in a microwave, oven or air fryer.
Are poppy seeds safe?
Poppy seeds sometimes contain trace amounts of opiates, since they come from the seedpod of the opium poppy. During harvesting the seeds can absorb the opium extract (which is used to make morphine, codeine, heroin and the like).
Since it's a trace quantity at most, and you are eating such a small quantity, you won't experience any opioid effects – however it can be enough to produce a false positive to a drug test so keep that in mind.
More mouthwatering muffins
Here are some more favourite muffins recipes:
Orange and Poppy Seed Muffins
- muffin/cupcake pan regular (5.5 x 2.5cm cups) or large (9 x 4cm cups)
- 2 ½ cups SR flour (385 grams) (or 2 ½ cups plain/all purpose flour + 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder)
- ¾ cup caster sugar (160 grams)
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- ¼ cup milk (60 ml)
- ½ cup greek or natural yoghurt (unsweetened) (125 ml)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (60 ml)
- 75 grams butter (melted)
- 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice (from approximately one orange)
- 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest (from approximately one orange)
- 1 cup icing sugar / confectioners sugar
- 4-5 teaspoons orange juice
- ½ tablespoon poppy seeds
- Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees celsius / 430 degrees fahrenheit (fan-forced).
- Sift flour into large mixing bowl. Add sugar and poppy seeds and stir to combine.
- Add remaining muffin ingredients, and stir gently to combine. Don't over-stir.
- Prepare muffin tin by greasing well or spraying with oil. If you have the large cafe-style muffin tin, this mixture makes 6 muffins. If you have a cupcake-size tin, it makes 12.
- Spoon mixture into tins.
- Place into oven and bake for 5 minutes before turning oven temperature down to 190 degrees celsius / 375 degrees fahrenheit (fan-forced). If you're using a smaller cupcake tin, bake for a further 10-12 minutes (or until a metal skewer inserted into a muffin comes out clean). If using a cafe-style larger muffin tin, bake for a further 18 minutes (or until a metal skewer inserted into a muffin comes out clean).
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before easing each muffin from the tin and placing on a cooling rack.
- Sift icing sugar into a bowl and add orange juice, one teaspoon at a time, until you have a slightly runny mixture.
- Spoon icing over muffins once they are completely cool and sprinkle some poppy seeds over the icing before it sets.