Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What’s now years ago, at the end of a difficult time, I realized I was heartbroken. I had said I was before, but for the first time my heart literally ached.  I remember telling my mom my revelation. She wanted to talk about why it ached, but I was just amazed that I literally felt heartbroken. It was such a strange feeling.

Last week, completely unrelated, I felt so down. I couldn’t even pinpoint why, but I felt lousy. I realized I literally felt down in the dumps. I was so sluggish and sad and the best company, I’m sure. Brian said it was because I was watching too much Parenthood (if a season a week is wrong, I don’t want to be right) or because my mom left for a summer in Iran and I missed her. I’m not sure. It was pretty crummy.

Towards the end of the week I stumbled across this cake recipe and told myself I was going to shake things off and make it. I was going to take some time and think about nothing but the cake. And so I did. And it was really nice. And the cake tasted great. And I almost set the place on fire trying to candy lemons, but I didn’t. And everything’s going to be alright.  


For cake:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baked powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup poppy seeds
Zest of two lemons

For glaze: 
1 cup powdered sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Poppy seeds for sprinkling

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and line a one pound loaf tin with baking parchment. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.

Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, poppy seeds and lemon zest and beat until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as you go.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the baking parchment.

While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. Use a spoon to beat the powdered sugar with enough lemon juice to form a runny but opaque glaze. Set the cooled cake on a wire rack and drizzle over the glaze. Sprinkle over the poppy seeds and allow the glaze to set for a few minutes before packing up.

I really wanted to top the cake with candied lemons (as seen here) but I failed miserably. I ended up burning the sugar to the pan and it took hours to get it all off. Those lemons were glued to the pot. They were supposed to simmer on the stove for an hour! This happened after 15 minutes. I won't be trying again.

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