There is something about lemon desserts that I find utterly irresistible. I know some people loathe sweet citrus combinations, but personally I find that the tart acidity of lemon in a cake or a tart helps to balance the tooth-aching sweetness of the dish.
And don’t get me started on lemon zest. If I had my way, I’d probably sprinkle it all around me as I walked about so I could always be surrounded by that sparkly, summery smell!
Alas, as it’s not quite possible to fragrance my surrounds with handfuls of lemon zest, the next best thing is to bake desserts flavoured with lemon so that at least the smell can permeate the kitchen with its glory, however transient it may be.
One of my favourite lemon sweets is this utterly luscious lemon and poppyseed cake. Ridiculously moist and heartbreakingly tender, this is a cake that any lemon-lover should try as it packs quite a citrussy hit. On top of all that, this is one of those cake recipes that is very difficult to get wrong 🙂
Lemon & Poppyseed Cake w/ Yoghurt Glaze
(An adaptation of an adaptation from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)
200g cake flour, sifted
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3-4 tbsp poppyseeds (I always go 4 since I like my poppyseeds!)
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
240g caster sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup double cream
Lemon Syrup Ingredients
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C and prepare a loaf tin by either lining it with non stick baking paper or by greasing it and dusting it with flour.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then stir in the poppyseeds till combined.
3. Beat the butter with an electric beater till it is pale yellow and creamy (approximately 2-3 minutes, depending on your beater). Add the sugar and beat for another 3-4 minutes or till the sugar is has been completely beaten in and the mixture is again pale yellow and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time and make sure to beat well after each addition. If the butter begins to look curdled, it means you have not beaten the mixture for long enough so just keep beating it till it is once again smooth and fluffy. Once you’ve done with the eggs, add the vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat till incorporated.
5. Beat in the flour in three additions, alternating with the cream in two additions on a low setting till ingredients are only just incorporated (this is to prevent you from overworking the gluten in the batter and getting a tough or extremely domed cake). Scrape the batter into your prepared pans and bake for 1 hour, or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
6. While the cake is baking, combine the sugar, water and lemon juice into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, set it aside till the cake is out of the oven. Once the cake is out, poke holes all over with a skewer and brush half the lemon juice over the top and stand for 5 minutes. Then, turn the cake over, poke holes in its underside and brush with the remaining syrup and allow cake to cool completely.
At this point, the cake is perfectly fine to enjoy as is, but I’ve found that pairing this with a yoghurt glaze is quite a lovely combination. The yoghurt adds a touch of creaminess and tanginess that plays quite well with the flavours in the cake!
Yoghurt Glaze Ingredients
1/4 cup natural or Greek yoghurt
1 1/2 cups soft icing mixture (keeps the dish less sweet than using pure icing sugar)
1 tsp lemon zest (optional! I just love the stuff, hehehe!)
Beat the yoghurt in a bowl with a fork till it is smooth and rid of lumps, then stir in the icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time, making sure that each addition is completely stirred in and that all lumps are gone. At this stage, stir in the lemon zest if you wish, then allow to sit for a few minutes before dolloping over the cake!
This glaze is actually quite marvellous for other cakes and muffins that aren’t quite up for a thick, heavy butter or cream cheese-based frosting, so I highly recommend it as one to add to your book of quick tricks 🙂
[tags]lemon, pound cake, Tish Boyle, The Cake Book, citrus, yoghurt, dessert[/tags]
And last of all – a final note to readers in Melbourne who are keen on attending the Melbourne Food & Wine Show! The competition for the 5 double passes will be drawn and announced tomorrow so tonight is your last chance to enter the draw 🙂