Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake

Like another cake-loving friend of mine, I have, over the years, learned to appreciate the joys of the lemon. In fact, until several years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to get me to choose anything lemony when it came to dessert. For me, it had always been chocolate or bust.

I can't tell you exactly when I came to see (or taste) lemon in a different light. Perhaps it was in the curds I discovered when Marmalade Pantry first introduced the Harvey Nics range in what must have been around the year 2000. Whatever the case, I've since come to love a good lemony cake, cookie, tart or slice.

This Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake satisfies both C and I in the sense that he likes cakes at their plainest while I like them with a bit of variety and lots of dressing up. From The Cake Book, the secret to this tender, buttery, moist cake is in creaming the butter and sugar for four minutes, until it becomes a pale, fluffy shade of marigold. Brushing a lemon syrup over the cake as it cools also adds to its wonderful moistness and lemony-ness.

This is a great tea cake, which C can enjoy with his post-meal coffee. I, on the other hand, need a bit more than that, so to up the lusciousness and lemony-ness, I eat it with with a healthy spoonful of lemon curd on the side. For a more "complex" dessert, I turned to some leftover buttermilk ice cream which I had made a week ago, which also made for a lovely complement with its tangy and delicate taste.

Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake
(Adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)

200g sifted cake flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp poppy seeds
227g unsalted butter, softened
240g granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3cup heavy cream

For the syrup:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Grease the bottom and sides of a loaf tin and dust with flour.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add the poppy seeds and whisk to combine.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter with a paddle attachment till it is very creamy, about 2 mins.
4. Add the sugar and beat at medium-high speed until very light, about 4 mins.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
7. Add the flour at low speed in three additions, alternating it with the cream in two additions. Mix only until the flour is incorporated.
8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
9. Bake for about an hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
10. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 10 mins.
11. While the cake is cooling, make the syrup.
12. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat till the sugar dissolves.
13. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
14. Poke the cake all over at 1-inch intervals with a bamboo skewer and then brush it with half the lemon syrup.
15. Let the cake stand for 5 mins, then invert the cake onto the wire rack and poke the bottom all over with the skewer.
16. Brush the bottom and sides of the cake with the remaining syrup.
17. Turn the cake upright on the rack and let cool completely.


Blogger baobei said...

hi, where would the heavy cream come in place?

12:33 am  
Blogger Annette said...

Hi, it comes in at number 7, when you mix it in alternately with the flour.

1:03 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, the photos look gorgeous. I haven't been successful in getting poppy seeds in Singapore. Did you get your supply here? Thanks!

2:27 pm  
Blogger daphne said...

Lovely! The syrup makes it look all shiny.

9:57 am  
Anonymous Karen said...

Hi, just came across your blog - amazing pictures! I'm blown away.

PS I too would like to know where you get your poppy seeds!

8:19 pm  
Blogger Tartelette said...

I believe this is my first time on your blog and I am in love :)
Your photography is gorgeous and your skills with fondant are amazing!

12:27 pm  
Blogger JEP said...

I've always been partial to the lemon-poppy seed combination!

4:53 am  
Blogger Annette said...

Hi everyone

Thanks for your kind words :) The poppy seeds were "smuggled" in by a friend who brought them home from France. You won't be able to find them in Singapore, I'm afraid. I think they're illegal -- go figure. But you could possibly buy them online and have them shipped over.

9:25 am  
Blogger Patricia Scarpin said...

Annette, this loaf of cake is pure temptation! It looks so good. Your photos are beautiful, too, and so is your blog!

3:30 am  
Blogger Oh for the love of food! said...

Hi Annette! this Lemon Poppy Seed Cake looks so wonderfully moist, and there's something very comforting about it too, like it's the cake I want to have when I'm watching a sad moment in one of my Korean serials.. HA!HA!
How did I miss TWO of your posts beats me.. well better late than never. Glad that you're all settled in your new home. Hugs and Kisses from all of us xoxoxoxo

8:35 pm  
Blogger aforkfulofspaghetti said...

A real old-stylee favourite of mine, this. Looks fab!

12:09 am  
Anonymous Karolyn said...

Hi! I just made your cake last night, delicious! I was dubious of this "150 degree" oven that you have in your post and sure enough it had to be wrong. I set it at 250 to start with anyways because I though, that ain't right! And then 45 minutes in it was still very batter-y. So I cranked it up a bit and in the end I had 1.5 hour baking time. Still tastes great though. Just wanted to check with you?

5:27 am  
Blogger Annette said...

Thanks Patricia and 'forkful' :)

Hi Karolyn, it should be 150 degrees Celsius. Is yours a Farenheit temperature gauge? If so, you need to bake it at 325 degrees F instead.

11:50 pm  
Blogger AK said...

yummy, too bad can't buy p.seed in s'pore..but can buy fr. M'sia..i like the texture of it.

12:04 am  
Blogger the baker said...

hi! i didn't realise it was you whom i met yesterday. anyway wanted to say that i tried this recipe twice since i found it on your blog and i agree, it works beautifully. it also helps that i have loads of poppy seeds that were feeling quite neglected. this recipe sure does put them to good use :)

3:43 pm  
Blogger with a pinch of love said...

delicoius delicious site.. =]

5:26 pm  
Anonymous delia said...

heavy cream? can we substitute with whipping cream? is it the same?

9:50 am  
Blogger sevay22 said...

hiya please help first of all the cake is beautiful!! i made it fine first time round. the 2nd one cand out looking only half cooked?? the bottom half looked stodgy? made it again the 3rd time-same thing. would you reccomend i turn it down abit ive a fan oven been cooking it on a 150c. please please help. xxx

9:16 pm  

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