Nothing says it’s autumn like a Lemon Poppy Seed Cake! Alright, so that’s a stretch, but I had some poppy seeds that were just begging to be used that were in my baking basket (That’s where I keep some of my “special ingredients”. Things like lavender, sanding sugars, crystallized ginger, cacao nibs, dragées, stuff like that). I have no idea why I had them; it’s not like I’m making kolaches every week (that might be an interesting thing to try making). But I noticed that I haven’t done anything about a cake for a while, and when I think of poppy seeds, I automatically think of lemon poppy seed baked goods.
Just a word of caution — if you eat this, you could test positive for opiates for a couple of days. Poppy seeds are harvested from the opium poppy and contain the same chemicals that you can find in the things like heroin and morphine. So if drug tests are in your near future, you might want to adjust your diet accordingly so that you don’t generate a false positive. Don’t believe me, just ask the Mythbusters! But I digress. . . I used the Fiesta Bundt cake pan for this recipe and I adapted a recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum. Here’s what you need:
For the cake:
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 c. sour cream, divided
- 1 t. vanilla
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. cornstarch
- 1 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. salt
- the zest of 2 lemons
- 1/2 c. poppy seeds
- 2 sticks of butter at room temperature
1. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat at 350 degrees F. Spray the cake pan with cooking spray. I used the one with flour as an extra precaution.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/4 c. of the sour cream, and the vanilla.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, zest, and poppy seeds for a couple of minutes to evenly combine. Add in the butter and remaining sour cream. Mix on low to incorporate, then raise the speed to medium and mix for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go along.
4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 -55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. About 10 minutes before baking is done, begin work on the lemon syrup.
- the juice of 2 lemons
- 1/2 c. sugar
Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat, being careful not to boil. After the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and set aside.
Glaze the cake:
1. After removing the cake from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and poke the cake repeatedly with a skewer (this helps the cake absorb the syrup). Brush on about 1/3 of the syrup. Let stand for about 10 minutes.
2. After the ten minutes are done, unmold the cake onto a serving plate and brush with the remaining syrup. Cool completely before serving. Dust with confectioners sugar if you like. The cake will actually taste better the next day, after the syrup gets a chance to permeate the cake.
Notes — I used a microplane and a handheld zester for the lemon zest. I like the different textures that they both provide. Using the microplane really gets the zest to infuse into the batter, and the handheld gets those coarse flakes and strips that I like to see in the finished cake. Personal preference, so use what you like. . . I made this on a cold day so my room temperature butter was around 60 degrees F. So my batter started out with a very mealy, more shortbready texture (it’s a technical term. look it up.). The cake did turn out very tender and crumbly so I’m curious as to the differences in using actual room temp butter (which I think is 75 degrees F). With all the baking that I’ve done, I probably should know the end result by know, but it never hurts to do a check. Plus, what’s wrong with having another cake in the house?