This month The Cake Slice Bakers voted and the winning recipe to try was once again from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman. The original recipe was for a Lemon Poppy Seed cake with Almond Cream Cheese Frosting. As you can tell from my photos, I deviated from there quite a bit, mainly just because I have absolutely no where to take a full size cake at the moment.
So, for my version of the cake I fiddled around and came up with a 1/3 recipe that I could bake in a loaf pan. I ended up making a few other changes as well and will share my very modified recipe soon – in the meantime, if you want it, just let me know in the comments.
Mainly, the changes consisted of using whole eggs instead of egg whites in the cake and adding almond extract as well as using a Meyer lemon for the zest. To top it off I made a simple glaze from powdered sugar, vanilla, Meyer lemon juice and a little heavy cream.
The cake was tender and had a nice lemon flavor to it along with a hint of almond. I also topped the cake with some sliced almonds for a little crunch, but I thought it was just as pretty without it.
To see the original cake and recipe you can visit the other Cake Slice Bakers
Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake
(Adapted liberally from original recipe found below)
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon poppy seeds 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
zest and juice of 1 small lemon (I used a Meyer lemon for the glaze and the cake, thus the richer yellow/orange color to the glaze)
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
Butter an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 inch loaf pan, line the pan with a piece of parchment like a sling up both long sides and the bottom of the pan, butter the parchment and dust the pan with flour, tap out the excess and set the pan aside.
Preheat over to 350° F.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds. Rub the lemon zest together with the sugar in a small bowl, set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon-sugar and beat another 2 minutes until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs and almond extract and beat 1-2 minutes more, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the wet and dry ingredients, alternately, to the butter-sugar mixture, starting first with 1/2 of the dry ingredients, then the buttermilk, then the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just well combined with no dry spots. Pour and scrape the batter (will be very thick) into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until risen and lightly golden. Allow to cool in the pan 10 minutes, then use the parchment sling to remove the loaf from the pan and allow to cool to room temperature on a wire cooling rack. Prepare the glaze while the cake is cooling.
For the glaze:
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
juice from 1 small lemon, reserved from making the cake
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional
milk or cream, as needed
Whisk all three ingredients together well to combine into a smooth, slightly pourable, thick glaze. Depending on the amount of lemon juice you get (I had about 1/4 cup) you may need to add more confectioners’ sugar to get the thicker consistency, or a little milk or cream to thin the glaze down. The consistency is really just your preference and you could even just serve it like a sauce on the side in a small pitcher with individual slices.
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Almond Cream Cheese Frosting (original recipe for 3-layer 8-inch cake)
(Recipe from Sky High Irresistible Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne)
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
4½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 tbsp poppy seeds
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 large lemon, zest and juice
1¼ cups buttermilk*
5 egg whites
1/3 cup water
Poppy seeds or flaked almonds to decorate
8 ounces cream cheese
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
5 cups confectioners sugar
1 tbsp almond extract
* If you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own by stirring 3 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice into each cup of milk and leaving for 10 minutes.
To make the cake, heat the oven to 350F. Grease three 8 inch cake pans and line the bases with parchment paper. Combine the flour, 1¾ cups sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix gently to combine.
Add the butter, lemon zest and 1 cup of buttermilk to the flour. Beat on low until completely mixed. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes until lighter in colour.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining ¼ cup buttermilk, whisk to blend thoroughly. Add the egg white mixture to the batter in 2-3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only enough to incorporate the mix. Divide the batter between the three pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the centre, and a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out.
While the cake layers are cooling, make a lemon syrup. In a small pan combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Generously brush the cakes with the lemon syrup while they are still warm. Then allow the cakes to cool completely.
To make the frosting, in a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the almond extract and then continue to beat well for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
To complete the cake, place one layer, top side down, on a cake plate and spread about a fifth of the frosting over the cake to cover evenly. Repeat with the second layer and place the third layer on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish with your choice of flaked almonds or poppy seeds.
Makes 1 x 8inch triple layer cake. Serves 12-16