Monday, April 11, 2005

More Lemon and Poppy seeds!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Posted by Hello

Continuing with the Poppy seed theme, i had promised my friend Jean that i would make her something yummy with lemon and poppy seeds (she is a fan of both ingredients!) I wanted to try a cake recipe (as opposed to a muffin recipe) and found a recipe for a Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf cake on epicurious.com that had been taken from the 'Cake Bible' (another one of those award winning books that i have since ear marked as the 'next book to buy at Borders when feeling rich').

I have to say that it was absolutely deee- licious! i loved it, and had serious trouble giving it away. The bundt pan makes them look extremely 'pretty' and it's not at all hard to make. As it turned out, i had 6 of them made and ended up bringing it to a friend's place the next day during a last minute dinner invitation, which thankfully included Jean. Thankfully because this way, i was able to fulfil my promise to her, whilst managing to share it with my generous dinner host, who had prepared a feast of tempura and soba noodles. not quite green tea ice cream, but a crowd pleaser nevertheless! (not to mention that i ended up eating 2 of them all on my own). oink!

Below is the recipe - a definite must try for anyone who enjoys a tangy dessert that has the added 'crunch' of poppy seeds.

All ingredients should be at room temperature.
3 tablespoons milk (1.5 ounces = 45 grams)
3 large eggs (scant 5 fluid ounces = 5.25 ounces = 150 grams, weighed without shells)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (6 grams)
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (5.25 ounces = 150 grams)
3/4 cup sugar (5.25 ounces = 150 grams)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (3.7 grams)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon loosely packed grated lemon zest (6 grams)
3 tablespoons poppy seeds (1 ounce = 28 grams)
13 tablespoons unsalted butter, must be softened (6.5 ounces = 184 grams)

Lemon Syrup1/4 + 2 tablespoons sugar (2.75 ounces = 75 grams)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 ounces = 63 grams)

One 8-inch by 4-inch by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan (4 cups) — most attractive size — or any 6-cup loaf or fluted tube pan, greased and floured. If using a loaf pan, grease it, line the bottom with parchment or wax paper, and then grease again and flour.

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl lightly combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla.
In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients, including the lemon zest and poppy seeds, and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and half the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 minute to aerate and develop the cake's structure.
Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining egg mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. The batter will be almost 1/2 inch from the top of a 4-cup loaf pan. (If your pan is slightly smaller, use any excess batter for cupcakes.) Bakes 55 to 65 minutes (35 to 45 minutes in a fluted tube pan) or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover loosely with buttered foil after 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.
To get an attractive split down the middle of the crust, wait until the natural split is about to develop (about 20 minutes) and then with a lightly greased sharp knife or a single-edged razor blade make a shallow mark about 6 inches long down the middle of the cake. This must be done quickly so that the oven door does not remain open very long or the cake will fall. When cake splits, it will open along the mark.
Shortly before the cake is done, prepare the Lemon Syrup:In a small pan over medium heat, stir the sugar and lemon juice until dissolved. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a rack, poke the cake all over with a wire tester, and brush it with 1/2 the syrup. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a spatula and invert it onto a greased wire rack. Poke the bottom of the cake with the wire tester, brush it with some syrup, and reinvert onto a greased wire rack. Brush the sides with the remaining syrup and allow to cool before wrapping airtight. Store 24 hours before eating to give the syrup a chance to distribute evenly. The syrup will keep the cake fresh a few days longer than a cake without syrup.
NOTEThis cake is very attractive made in individual portions. A 6-cake Bundt-lette pan is the perfect size. This recipe will make 6 individual cakelettes, which require about 20 minutes to bake.

In a 4-cup loaf: 2 1/4 inches at the sides and 3 1/2 inches in the middle. In a 6-cup loaf: 1 3/4 inches at the sides and 2 1/2 inches in the middle. In a 6-cup fluted tube: 2 1/4 inches in the middle.

Airtight: 3 days room temperature, 1 week refrigerated, 2 months frozen.
Complementary AdornmentA simple dusting of powdered sugar.
SERVERoom temperature.

• Use cake flour that does not already contain leavening. Do not use self-rising cake flour.
• Use superfine sugar for finest texture.
• Use fresh baking powder.
• Measure or weigh ingredients carefully.
• If using a hand-held mixer, beat at high speed.
• Use the correct pan size.
• For very even layers and maximum height use Magi-Cake Strips.
• Check for accurate oven temperature.
• Use correct baking time; do not overbake.
• Be sure to use a wooden toothpick to test for doneness. The cake will spring back when pressed lightly in the center even before it is done. If the cake is underbaked, it will have tough, gummy spots instead of a fine, tender crumb.