poppy seeds… oh what a wonderful cake they make!

I spent yesterday afternoon with some of my favourite people. I know… I seem to have a long list of favourite people, and it’s true! I’ve surrounded myself with pretty awesome folks- but these aren’t just people – they’re my Ottawa family :0)

Marie-Jo, Phil and Olivier took me in many years ago when I needed a place to stay… they supported my decision to move to Scotland, come back to Ottawa, allowed me to crash on their couch (again) and continue to lure me in with the promise of wonderful meals and even better company. The least I can do is bring a cake (or a pie) whenever I stop by (or when they host a family gathering of sorts).

Yesterday I brought them this lemon poppy seed cake. Sigh. It’s from the hummingbird bakery cookbook… I made it twice last week, and want to make it again. A dense cake with the tartness of lemons and the crunch of poppy seeds. I increased the amount of lemon zest since I believe that there is no such thing as too much lemon. I think it’s the perfect cake to bring when visiting people you really like…especially lemon crazy people like my family.

Described in the book as a “moist, tangy cake that is perfect with your afternoon cup of tea”… I can attest that it’s excellent with brunch and shared with your favourite company!

Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 c. + 1 tbsp white sugar
grated zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2/3 c. milk
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 egg whites

Preheat your oven to 325 F. Grease a bundt cake pan (butter or cooking spray) – or you can use mini bundt pans and make many (6) mini loaves (I did both – hence making this recipe twice in a week).

Put your butter, sugar, lemon zest and poppy seeds in the bowl of your freestanding mixer and beat everything together (using your paddle attachment). You want to make sure that the batter becomes quite fluffy – really cream the butter.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet batter in 3 separate additions. Beat thoroughly until all the ingredients are well incorporated and fluffy.

Time to beat your egg whites. You want to beat them in a separate bowl (glass is preferred) until stiff peaks form.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the whisked egg whites into the cake batter – you don’t want to over mix and loose the volume the egg whites bring to the batter; so just incorporate everything.

Pour the batter into your prepared bundt pan and bake for about 30 minutes (the cake should bounce back when touched, don’t do the toothpick test).

This cake called for the addition of a lemon syrup (and pouring it over the warm cake)… however I ended up burning the syrup. I wasn’t paying attention and it boiled a tad too long :0)

I allowed the cake to cool a bit (10 minutes), then removed it from the pan and had it cool completely on a wire rack.

I decided to make another syrup just prior to serving the cake. Bring the juice of a lemon, 1/4 c. sugar, and 1/2 c. water at a boil and allow it to reduce a bit. Pour the warmed syrup over the cake so that it can drip over the top and add a pretty sheen to your presentation. It was lovely.

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