Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake
Sunday night preparations for the start of the working week, for me, usually include baking a loaf of bread for Monday school lunches and making some sort of cake/slice as a lunch box treat. Not to mention the folding of laundry, etc…
I have been flipping through The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, which I borrowed from the State Library, and saw a recipe for a lemon and poppy seed cake. And thought – why not? If this London bakery for the stars is good enough for Gwyneth Paltrow (reportedly), then it is surely good enough for me. I baked the cake and liked it. I wouldn’t rush out and buy the book though – unless perhaps you love cupcakes. I found it a little dull, on the whole.
85g unsalted butter, at room temperature
245g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 1/2 lemons
15g poppy seeds
235g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 egg whites
Freshly squeezed juice and zest of 1 lemon
50g caster sugar
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
250g icing sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 170C, and butter and dust with flour a 24cm ring/bundt mould.
Put the butter, sugar, lemon zest and poppy seeds in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use handheld manual or electric whisk) and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Slowly add the milk and continue to beat until incorporated (don’t worry if the mixture looks slightly split).
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 additions, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl. Beat thoroughly until all the ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a handheld electric whisk until stiff peaks form. Using a metal spoon, fold the whisked egg whites into the cake mixture until well mixed but do not overmix. Pour into the prepared bundt tin or ring mould and smooth over with the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched.
For the lemon syrup: While the cake is baking, mix the lemon juice and zest and sugar in a jug. When the cake comes out of the oven, pour the syrup all over the top. Leave to cool slightly in the mould before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
For the lemon glaze: Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar in a bowl until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. When the cake is cold, put it on a cake stand/plate and pour the glaze over it – I would recommend doing this in two stages. Decorate with extra poppy seeds.