Thursday, 27 October 2016

Lemon poppyseed cake

I got gifted some lemons last weekend. Big, beautiful backyard fruit, befitting a cake. So I made one. Though this is an English recipe, poppyseeds in baking are by and large associated with Eastern Europe. Strewn liberally through strudels and sponges and all manner of doughs and batters, these little black speckles are striking here against the pale pastel of citrus, and lend a lovely texture to a traditional tea time treat.

Made mostly with almond meal, the cooked cake is drenched in syrup and drizzled with icing so keeps well should you have leftovers or want to bake in advance. If you're lucky enough to have a lemon tree or be friends with anyone who does, then this is definitely one for your repertoire. It's not a show-off of a cake, it's more subtle and sophisticated, even a little subversive. The beat poet of baked goods. Brilliant.

Lemon poppyseed cake
Adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver (and his nan!)

You could also make this in a loaf tin if you liked.

for the cake
115g unsalted butter, softened
115g caster (superfine) sugar
4 large eggs
180g ground almonds
30g poppy seeds
2 lemons, zest and juice of
125g self-raising flour, sifted 

for the lemon syrup
100g caster (superfine) sugar
90g lemon juice 

for the lemon icing
225g icing (confectioners') sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice of 

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. 

Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 20cm springform tin with baking paper.

Using an electric whisk, beat butter with caster sugar until light and creamy. Add eggs one by one, beating each in well. Fold in ground almonds, poppy seeds, the lemon zest and juice and the flour. Spoon the mix into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes and lightly golden or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow cake to cool on a rack before turning out. 

Make lemon syrup by heating the sugar and lemon juice in a pan until sugar has dissolved. While cake is still warm, make lots of little holes in the top with a skewer or toothpick and pour syrup over.

To make icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the lemon zest and juice, stirring til smooth. When cake is almost cool, put it on a serving plate and pour the icing carefully over the top, letting it run down the sides.


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