Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Lemon Glaze
Hello everyone! It's been exactly 5 months since my last post. Normally, I don't leave that much time in between posting, but the truth is I haven't been able to eat much, let alone baking, because... I am expecting my first child! We're very grateful and excited for a new chapter in our lives with an addition to our family. My due date is this Summer and we're expecting a boy! I've been deadly ill for 5 months so forgive me for my absence and lack of posting. Has anyone of you struggled with severe sickness when pregnant?
Now that I'm starting to feel better and am not allowed to work as much as I usually do, I've been mustering up the energy to bake something for myself. I haven't been able to eat any sweet treats because of my sickness and nausea, but I always think homemade food is way healthier than store-bought food. When people ask me "is it hard to not drink for 9 months?", I reply not really. I wasn't a big drinker before pregnancy and I must say it's way harder for a baker to not be able to lick the cake batter bowl for 9 months (because of the raw eggs)!
I've been meaning to bake a lemon poppyseed cake for a while now. Admittingly, this isn't my first try. I baked one about a year ago, but that was such a fiasco, I threw the cake out (which rarely happens). I went to a trusted recipe this time around; Dorie Greenspan's 'Lemon or Orange Cake' or Cake Citron from her book 'Paris Sweets'. The recipe is by pâtisserie Arnaud Larher and it is one of the best pound cake recipes you'll ever come across. You can also make a vanilla or orange cake version with this recipe. For the orange version, click here.
I believe the secret ingredient, or should I say, secret technique is rubbing the lemon or orange zest with the sugar with your fingers, which gives for a far more flavorful cake. Also, when making the lemon or vanilla cake, add 2 tablespoons of dark rum, or 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier when making the orange cake for extra heavy, warm flavor. I also added a simple lemon glaze, which complements the poppyseeds. Heavenly cake for a heavenly afternoon!
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan - Paris Sweets
- 2 ¼ cups cake flour (250 grams)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ⅔ cups sugar (335 grams)
- Grated zest of 3 lemons or 2 oranges
- 5 large eggs
- ⅔ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream (165 grams)
- 2 tablespoons dark rum (for the lemon cake) or Grand Marnier (for the orange cake) (30 grams)
- 7½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (3¾ ounces; 110 grams)
To make the lemon poppyseed variant:
- 1 tablespoon of poppyseeds
- 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- juiced of a small lemon
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch (22.5 x 12.5 x 7.5-cm) loaf pan, dust the interior with flour, and tap out the excess. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two stacked regular baking sheets and set aside.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and keep close at hand. Toss the sugar and zest together in a large bowl and rub them together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, beating until the mixture is pale and foamy, then whisk in the crème fraîche and rum. Switch to a large rubber spatula and gently stir the sifted flour mixture into the batter in three or four additions—the batter should be thick and smooth. Finally, fold in the cooled melted butter in two or three additions. Add the tablespoon of poppyseeds.
- Immediately spoon the batter into the pan and slide the baking sheet(s) into the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 25 to 30 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry and free of crumbs. (Check the cake at the 40-minute mark. If it is browning quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent for the remainder of the baking period.) Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes on a cooling rack before turning it out of the pan; invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
- Sift the confectioners' sugar and add the lemon juice in a bowl and pour over the cooled cake, letting it drip down the sides.
- Keeping: Wrapped airtight, the cake will keep for 1 week at room temperature or up to 1 month in the freezer. Stale cake is delicious lightly toasted and spread with marmalade.
- An American in Paris: I’ve used this recipe to make a wonderful vanilla cake. I substitute the pulp of 2 plump, fragrant vanilla beans for the zest and rub the pulp into the sugar just as the zest is rubbed in. Keep the rum in the recipe—it’s lovely with the vanilla.
Happy Easter next week!