Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

I baked this lemon poppyseed cake on a whim one afternoon a few weeks ago, I knew it would be good, but I didn't know just how good. It turned into one of the best things that I have baked this year without a doubt. I'd had the recipe pinned for quite a while now, but it was one of those things that I never did anything about, just looked at the pretty picture and thought, "that looks good." Then, a few weeks ago there was a ton of yogurt in my fridge for whatever reason, and I knew I wouldn't be able to eat it all before it started to go bad. That's when I started brainstorming ideas for using it up, ideas that consisted of mostly baked goods to be honest! This cake originally called for sour cream, not yogurt, but I decided to give it a try anyway. Besides, cutting a few calories sounded like a good idea.

Believe me, I didn't even notice the missing fat. There's plenty of butter in this cake to begin with, so no worries there! Anyway, this cake baked up beautifully and was absolutely delicious, light and moist, packed with poppy seeds and a hint of lemon. The perfect everyday cake to keep on your counter for snacking all week long. It took Lara and I a week to finish it off, and even on the 7th day it was still tasting pretty darn good, definitely not too difficult to force down. I'm still thinking of this cake weeks later, and waiting, not too patiently, for the next time I can find an excuse to make it. Maybe I need to head back to the store and "accidentally" buy a little too much yogurt....

Lemon Poppyseed Cake
Adapted from Gourmeted
For the Cake:
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups and 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups (250 grams) cake flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons loosely packed lemon zest, finely grated (you can use up to 5 teaspoons if you want a stronger lemon flavor)
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 ¾ sticks (14 tablespoons or 200 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
For the Syrup:
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Butter and flour a metal fluted tube pan and preheat the oven to 350°F 

Whisk together whole eggs, yolk, ¼ cup sour cream, and vanilla in a medium bowl until just combined.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and poppy seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, on low speed for 30 seconds. Add butter and remaining sour cream and continue to mix on low speed until just blended. Increase to medium speed and beat for another 1 ½ minutes. The batter will be light in color.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and re-start the mixer on low speed. Add half of the egg mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, do the same for the remainder of the mixture. Transfer the batter into the prepared tube pan and level the surface with a small spatula.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the lowest of the tube comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly.

To make the syrup: While the cake is baking, combine sugar and water in a small microwavable bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the almond extract and set aside. 

Once the cake is done, place the pan on a wire rack. Poke the cake all over using a thin skewer and brush it with a third of the syrup. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Brush the entire surface of the cake with the remaining syrup.

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