I was given a belated Christmas present… The Golden Book of Patisserie, and since I got it last Sunday I pretty much haven’t put it down… this thing weighs a ton, and yet still finds a spot in my backpack to make the 30 + minute trek to work and back everyday… so I figured, all of this effort should hopefully produce a wonderful end result.
I’d never made a poppy seed cake before. I’ve never actually baked with poppy seeds before. But there was something about this cake that just made me want to give it a try. So last Thursday evening, I decided to pull out the recipe, add my own little twist to it and make what has probably become my favourite cake. Moist, not overly sweet, this cake is a crowd pleaser (the folks in the office loved it… Jeremy, this recipe post is for you). Based on the recipe for a Poppy Seed Layer Cake – I hope you enjoy my version.
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
1 c. milk
1/2 c. poppy seeds
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 tsp b. powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. butter @ room temperature
1 1/2 c. b. sugar
2 tsp Limoncino (be generous)
3 large egg whites
1/2 c. w. sugar
1/2 c. water
1 tsp Limoncino (be generous)
Over medium heat, bring a sauce pan with the milk to a boil. Remove it from heat and stir in the poppy seeds. Set the mixture aside and allow to cool.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 11 inch round cake pan with wax paper and spray with non-stick spray.
Combine the flour, b. powder and salt in a medium bowl.
In a larger bowl – cream together the butter, sugar, and Limoncino together with an electric mixer (medium-high speed). Reduce the speed to low, and gradually beat in the dry ingredients and milk mixture – alternate between the two. Place the batter aside.
In a glass bowl, whisk together the egg whites at high speed. Beat until the whites become stiff and glossy.
Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the cake batter -the folding is important since it’s what makes the cake fluffy and light. Spoon the batter into the pan and bake on a lower rack for about 49 minutes (I started with 40 minutes and increased the baking time – again, use your judgement).
Cool the cake in the pan for about 10 minutes and then remove it from the pan (mine is a spring form pan, so the sides are removed – makes for very easy baking). Cool completely.
Meanwhile – make the syrup by combining the sugar and water and bringing to a boil and then a simmer over the stove top. Remove from heat and stir in the Limoncino. Allow to sit for a bit and cool down.
When you’re ready – pierce a couple holes (with a fork or tooth pick) into the cake and pour the syrup generously over it. It doesn’t make it overly sweet (I probably had half the syrup left over). Place in the fridge to cool completely and for the syrup to really penetrate the cake. Serve to people you really like or people you want to impress. Everyone will be thanking you… and asking for seconds.