Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Monday, June 8, 2009

Last week, I was brainstorming, trying to come up with something to make for my mother-in-law's birthday. I was kicking around the idea of making something with lemons, but wasn't sure exactly what to make. And then, wouldn't you know it... this cake popped up in my Google Reader from Annie's Eats. Annie to the rescue!

Selfishly, I omitted the raspberry filling and raspberries as garnish, because, well, raspberries make me gag. And they're also pretty expensive around these parts. I figured I'd give the lemon and poppyseed cake, and the lemon buttercream frosting a try... without any raspberries.

This was a hit with the family, but especially with my mother-in-law, who loves lemon. I really like the cake, but I agree with Annie's assessment... the frosting was a little much. Annie didn't care for how sweet it was. For me, it was more about how lemony it was. A little too much for my tastes. But that didn't stop me from eating a leftover piece tonight, now did it? Of course not.

Annie made hers into small cake rounds. I made my cake in two 9-inch pans to make a traditional layer cake (I decorated it nicely--with decent handwriting, too, I was proud!--but forgot to take pictures before we shoved 50 candles into it. Whoops). You can't tell easily in the photo since the color of the frosting blends so well with the cake, but I added a thin layer of the frosting between the two layers.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Lemon Buttercream
(Source: Annie's Eats, adapted from Notes From My Food Diary)


For the cake:
- 2 1/3 cups cake flour
- 2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp. poppy seeds
- 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 12 tsbp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk (I substituted skim and didn't notice any ill effects)

For the lemon buttercream frosting:
- 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1. To make the cake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9×13″ cake pan.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a bowl; set aside.

3. In the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat just until stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted. Transfer the egg whites to a separate bowl, clean the mixer bowl and reattach it with the paddle attachment.

4. Add the butter to the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated. Mix in the lemon zest. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add 1/4 cup of the milk and beat until just blended.

5. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the remaining milk in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat until just blended.

6. Using a rubber spatula, fold one quarter of the egg whites into the batter, being careful not to deflate the mixture. Once incorporated, add in the rest of the whites and gently fold in until well combined.

7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 24-26 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the outside of pan and gently turn the cake out. Allow to cool completely.

8. To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and zest on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the lemon juice and beat for one minute longer.

9. Frost the cake with the lemon frosting.


Michelleigh June 9, 2009 at 8:52 AM  

Talk about perfect timing here too! I've been craving something lemon and was actually considering doing Bakerella's lemon bars...but I think I like the idea of this lemon poppy seed cake better!

JennyLo June 9, 2009 at 10:54 AM  

This looks like a delicious recipe. Thank you!!!

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