Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Cake : Free and Easy Bake-Along #19

This lovely cake was chosen by Lena for our Bake-Along No. 19.  Did you know that this is the signature cake of Rose Levy Beranbaum? Rose describes this cake as "buttery and tender and melts in your mouth. I love the little crunch of poppy seeds, but the cake is also fabulous without them." And I couldn't agree more!

I have made this cake before, about one and a half years ago (I made a note in Rose's Heavenly Cakes) and I remembered that it was really dense and heavy, did not rise at all, but it tasted good. I have always wanted to try making it again, but well, you know, I sort of forgotten all about it, as I have tons of other recipes to try! So I was glad when this cake was chosen for our bake-along, even though I was rather apprehensive about baking this again!

The only change I did was I used my homemade yoghurt instead of sour cream and I reduced the sugar to 180gm instead of the original 250gm. This cake turns out delicious! It is just as Rose describes, buttery, tender with the delightful crunch of the poppy seeds. Even the lemony taste is just the right balance, and I did not even bother measuring the zest, I just used the zest from two large lemons.

Can you see the zest of the lemons, a slice of this cake looks very nice with the zest against the speckled poppy seeds! For the glaze, I used the juice from one large lemon and top with about 4-5 tablespoons of sugar, heating till the sugar dissolved and tasting the sweetness to my liking. Do not skip the glaze, I think that the glaze brings out the lemony taste of the cake, and making it moist.

This cake is really delicious! According to Rose, for best flavour, complete the cake 1 day ahead, but I had two slices while still warm !  :)

After all, it is Rose's signature cake! So tender and deliciously yummy!

Let's go over to Lena and Zoe, and see their Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Cake. Also, pay a visit to our friends that have baked along with us in the linky below. We have included in our Bake-Along, a blog-hop linky, to submit your bake, just click on the linky link "get the Inlinkz code", select and copy the code provided, paste it at the bottom of  your drafted post in your HTML code page, save, publish your post as usual, submit your link, and all the links will pop right in your own post! If you are unsure about how to go about it, just send any of us an email and we will gladly assist you.


For our next Bake-Along, our theme is "Ciabatta". Ever made Ciabatta before? Ciabatta is an Italian bread with large airholes, this will be a challenge for me, I'm really looking forward to try my hand at making some Ciabatta. Do bake some and join us in our blog-hop, which will be opened on 12/03.  Everyone's welcome! See you!

Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Cake
(adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum)
Plan Ahead : For best flavour, complete the cake 1 day ahead
2 large eggs (100gm / 3.5 ounces), at room temperature
1 large egg yolk (18gm / 0.6 ounce), at room temperature
200gm (7 ounces / 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) divided, sour cream (I use my homemade yoghurt)
1-3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
250gm (8.7 ounces / 2-1/2 cups) cake flour (or bleached all-purpose flour) sifted into the cup and leveled off,
250gm (8.7 ounces / 1-1/4 cups) superfine sugar  (I use 180gm)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 gm (0.5 ounce / 5 teaspoons, loosely packed) lemon zest, finely grated (I use 2 large lemons)
50gm (1.7 ounces / 1/3 cup) poppy seeds
200gm (7 ounces / 1-3/4 sticks) unsalted butter (softened, at room temperature)

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT : One 10-cup Nordic Ware Elegant Heart Pan or metal fluted tube pan, coated with baking spray with flour.

PREHEAT THE OVEN : Twenty minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F/175C (325F/2160C if using a dark pan).

MIX THE LIQUID INGREDIENTS : In a medium bowl, whisk the whole eggs, yolk, 1/4 cup of the sour cream, and the vanilla, just until lightly combined.

MAKE THE BATTER : In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-1/2 minutes. The mixture will lighten in colour and texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Starting on low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Using a silicone spatula or spoon, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small metal spatula.

BAKE THE CAKE : Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted between the tube and the side comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides only after removal from the oven.

Shortly before the cake is finished baking, make the lemon syrup.

Lemon Syrup
Makes : 2/3 cup / 5.3 fluid ounces / 7 ounces / 200gm
112gm (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon / 4 ounces) sugar (I use about 4 to 5 tablespoons)
94gm (6 tablespoons / 3 fluid ounces / 3.3 ounces) lemon juice, freshly squeezed from 2 large lemons (I use one large lemon)

MAKE THE LEMON SYRUP : In a 1-cup or larger microwaveable glass measure (or in a small saucepan over medium heat), heat the sugar and lemon juice, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved. Do not allow it to boil. Cover it tightly to prevent evaporation.

APPLY THE SYRUP AND COOL AND UNMOLD THE CAKE : As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack, poke the cake all over with a thin skewer, and brush it with about one-third of the syrup. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert it onto a 10-inch cardboard round or serving plate. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining syrup. Cool completely and wrap airtight.

This is a blog hop, to join in, click on the link :
get the InLinkz code


  1. Love poopy seeds in cakes and this look awesome!

  2. I LOVE this cake. Definitely one of my favorites from Rose's book. Yours came out looking great. Glad to hear it worked with less sugar.
    I baked this cake a while back. Could I still participate in the baking event and link to that old post, or does the post have to be recent? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Hanna,
      Thanks for stopping by! Our Bake-Along are based on current and new posts, if you have made this cake before, perhaps you could try a different version and could still participate with your new post, our link stays open for 7 days. I really do appreciate your support, Hanna! Thank you and hope to see you baking-along with us!

  3. I love lemon and poppy seed combo, this looks spectacular..

  4. oh, you've baked this before? next time i should consider using yogurt in cakes if it's called for sour cream or maybe i think i just need to improve on my baking skills!

    1. Hi Lena,
      Your baking skills are alright to me, there's nothing wrong in that area! :) I think that the fat content of the sour cream over here maybe different, I've got to research more on that! I love using my own homemade yoghurt in most bakes, as I get nice results every time! Great pick, Lena! We really enjoyed this cake!

  5. After I bake it, the cake is really nice. I love the poppy seed too.

  6. This is a completely different shape from Lena's mini bundt. It looks very tender. Do you think its ok to replace poppy seed with black sesame seeds?

    1. Hi Chris,
      I think that it would be OK to replace with black sesame seeds, although I think that it would have the fragrance of sesame seeds. Interesting actually! If not, you may omit the poppy seed if this ingredient is not available. Thank you and wish you a lovely week!

  7. I may have to try this recipe and join in the fun with the ciabatta!

  8. Interesting to know that the ingredients changes that you made can change the overall texture of this cake. I tried to stick to the original recipe as much as I could and the cake turned out to be as nice as Rose described in her book. The only thing that I observed is that the crumbs are quite tender and stick to the cake pan as the cake start to shrink.

  9. I used yoghurt too, that's why I didn't add the word sour cream lol! Great looking one you've got there! My display doesn't fit into my blog!

  10. Oh my, this cake looks sinfully delicious! Perfect for Spring and I will be trying it! Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. Like i told to Lena and Zoe, i totally forgot about this cake and join this time bake along..Like your modify version and might try this soon.

  12. Mmmmm! Nice switch up with the yogurt! I bet it made it super moist and delicious. I've always really liked poppy seed cakes but I've totally forgotten about them :)

  13. 2 lemon desserts in as many days, that is my kind of recipes! I can't wait to make this one, it does look good. thanks Joy.

  14. El corte se ve muy bueno.
    Un saludito

  15. I actually looks heavenly! If is has lemon and poppy seeds it has to be good in my books.

  16. Oh! Your lemon and poppy seed cake looks great, love the texture of it...as a matter of fact I would love to have a slice of it right now.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week :)

  17. Your cake looks moist and delicious! Lemon poppy seed is one of my favorites.

  18. love lemon poppy seed cake. Have not bake it for some time.

  19. Hi, wow! I've never seen this before. Sure looks good....3 pieces would do me fine. This is the kind I call forget mother's name cakes, ha ha....one spoonful and thats it!
    Love the colour and texture......
    Wish I am your neighbour, then I bring Maple leaf syrup for you, maybe get invitation try these cakes, ha ha.
    You have fun and keep a song in your heart.
    ps, your coconut cakes on display at my pondok, *wink*.

  20. WOOOwww...un pastel delicioso y tentador me encanta,abrazos hugs,hugs.

  21. A big slice of this yummy cake would be perfect right now!!!Kisses,dear!

  22. WOW! Love poppy seed and your cake looks phenomenal.

  23. Hi Joyce, your cake looks really delicious! I like how the poppy seeds and the zest shows up in the cake, makes the cake look interesting and yummy!

  24. Speckled goodness, Joy. I love that you added the yogurt and home made too! Lena's Poppy Seed minis were adorable! You "girls" sure know how to make me crave Poppy Seed Cake, lol...

    Thanks for sharing...