Inspired to bake up a lemony treat after reading Aimee Bender’s Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, I settled on a buttery dense Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Candied Lemon Slices.
Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake – Adapted from Joy of Cooking
Have all ingredients at room temperature before starting, makes for a better cake in the end.
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- 1 ½ cups sifted cake flour (I used all purpose)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 13 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat your oven to 350. Grease and flour or use parchment paper to line the loaf pans, I used the smaller paper pans, as these were for gifts. Make one large loaf.
Combine together the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl get ready to combine the liquid ingredients together the sifted flour (don’t skip this), cup sugar, poppy seeds, lemon zest, baking powder and salt. BUT, don’t rush, only add half of the egg mixture to the flour mixture initially, along with the 13 tablespoons of butter (yes, a baker’s dozen of butter!). Beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to high and beat for 1 minute longer. Again, add half the remaining egg mixture, beating it for about 20 seconds, then adding the remaining egg mixture. Beat one more time for 20 seconds. Spread the batter evenly into the pans, and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
When the cake is done, place the pan on cooling rack and poke the cake all over with a wooden skewer or chopstick. Brush the loaf with half of the syrup mixture (see recipe below). Let cool for about 10 minutes. Optional: Take the loaf out of the pan and invert it onto a greased rack. Poke holes in the bottom and sides of the loaf and brush the remaining syrup over it. The syrup edge parts are the best part. This time I didn’t remove mine from the paper pans but it still pooled down into the bottom..
If you want Candied Lemons and Syrup on top:
Thinly slice lemon about ½ cup, but really depending on how many slices you want in the end. I actually used the ones I juiced for the pound cake recipe. Add the slices to about 2 cups water in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, removed from heat and drain. Again, fill the pot with about 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer and continue to simmer for 30-60 minutes until the peels become translucent. After about 45 minutes I add in a spoonful (no need to be exact) of vanilla bean paste. This would be optional but was delightful and added to the lemon. Turn off the heat, remove the slices and place on a wire rack (put tinfoil or paper underneath) to dry. At this point, I actually used the reserved syrup (after tasting it) to drizzle on the finished pound cake, and then placed the candied lemon slices on top of the loaves for the finishing touches.