Sunday, 24 March 2013

Lemon and Poppyseed Cake

This is my Mum's all time favorite  so much so that slices of it have mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the night..

Another one of the Hummingbird Bakery's gems, I absolutely love using my ring cake tin, the results are always so stunning.

Dotted with marvelous little tasty poppy seeds, slathered in lemony icing and a surprising tart lemony syrup on its bottom, this cake really is the quintessential afternoon tea treat.

Here's the recipe: 

85g unsalted butter
254g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 and a half lemons (but I use 2)
15g poppy seeds, plus extra to decorate
165ml whole milk
235g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 egg whites

For the lemon syrup:
Freshly squeezed juice and zest of 1 lemon
50g caster sugar

For the lemon icing:
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
250g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (325 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Put the butter, sugar, lemon zest and poppy seeds in a free standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated (don't worry if the mixture looks slightly split). Slowly add the milk and continue to beat until incorporated (again, don't worry if the mixture looks split.)

In a seperate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 additions. Beat thoroughly until all the ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a handheld electric whisk until stiff peaks form. Using a metal spoon, fold the whisked egg whites into the cake mixture until well mixed but do NOT over mix. Pour into the prepared ring mould and smooth over with a palette knife.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched.

While the cake is baking, make the lemon syrup. Put the lemon juice and zest, sugar, and 100ml of water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a low heat. Raise the heat and boil until it has reduced by half, or until it has a thin syrup consistency. When the hot cake comes out of the oven, pour the syrup all over the top (which then becomes the bottom when you turn the cake out.) Leave cake to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack.

When the cake has completely cooled, make the lemon icing. Mix the lemon juice and the icing sugar in a bowl until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. When the cake is cold, pour the glaze over it and decorate with poppy seeds.

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