October 08, 2009
You'll just have to trust me when I say that this is the most delicious cake/bread I've ever tasted. I'm usually fairly hesitant to make such dramatic, grandiose statements like that (because doesn't something better always come along??)...but with this one, I may just have to take the plunge.
I'm actually a little disappointed because I made this for a work event, and unlike most not-so-kind-on-the-waistline treats that I bake and am more than happy to give away...I felt a twinge of regret for not being able to keep the entire cake for ourselves this time. And no, I wasn't alone in those greedy sentiments :P. After our obligatory "taste test" (somebody's gotta do it!), AC was also wondering if we could save a couple of slices for ourselves.
What I love about this cake is that it's vibrant in both taste and texture. With fresh lemon zest in the batter and lemon juice in the glaze, the cake has a bright and intense citrus flavor that explodes in your mouth. Poppy seeds further liven it up with their fun and "poppy" (for lack of a better word) texture.
But what really brings everything together is the lemon glaze. Refreshingly tart and zesty, the sugary topping compliments the soft and fluffy cake perfectly. It's like what cream cheese frosting is to a red velvet cupcake -- delicious and absolutely essential.
Like most baked goods, this tastes best straight out of the oven when the exterior is slightly crispy, and the warm center is still giving off soft bursts of hot steam. This did very well at my company's bake sale, thankyouverymuch. I'm sure we'll be making it again soon! :D
Glazed Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake
Adapted from Gourmet, May 2007
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 t lemon zest (or zest from 1 whole lemon)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (I used a 8.5 inch loaf pan -- cooking time will need to be adjusted).
Whisk together flour, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt in a bowl.
Beat together butter and granulated sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in eggs until combined. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and poppy seeds and mix until just combined.
Transfer batter to cake pan, smoothing top, and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean and top is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then invert onto rack.
Whisk together confectioners sugar and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth. Pour glaze over warm cake, spreading it with a spatula to drizzle over edge. Let stand until glaze is set, about 15 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.