Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
So we are still working with our basic sponge mix and adding flavours to them to create mouthwatering cakes. This week will be making a basic sponge mix using plain flour. I use this mix when adding flours that are wet or heavy. I have a basic mix which is 100g and I multiply it depending on the size of cake I am baking. I find 500g works well with a 10″ tin. I use this for a whole cake or sandwich cakes and 250g works well with a loaf tin. I use the following tins as they give me a nice loaf shaped cake as opposed to some of the smaller tins found in the supermarket: see link below
Failing that you can just use your standard loaf tin, but may need to reduce your mix to 200g
Ingredients For Basic Mix
100g baking margarine or butter
100g caster sugar
100g plain flour
5g baking powder
We will multiplying the recipe by 2.5
250g baking margarine or butter
250g caster sugar
250g plain flour
12.5g baking powder
50g poppy seeds
4 -5 lemons
Heat your oven to 165 degrees. Using last week’s method, cream 250g of caster sugar and 250g of butter or baking margarine in a freestanding mixer or using an electric hand whisk. If using an electric hand whisk make sure you use a plastic or metal bowl as glass and ceramic bowls may chip and you don’t want any dangerous foreign bodies turning up in your cake and causing injury.
In a separate jug whisk the 5 eggs
During the creaming process scrape down the bowl as and when needed and when the mix is nice and fluffy and pale in colour then add the eggs a little at a time, creaming/mixing well in between each addition of the egg. Don’t forget to scrape your bowl down when required. Your mixture may curdle, if this happens you can add a little of your weighed flour, but personally I don’t bother and my cakes turn out fine
Once all the egg is incorporated add your 250g of sieved plain flour and 12.5g of baking powder, add this in 2 batches and fold/mix in gently until all the flour is combined and you have a smooth batter.
Zest 2 limes. You can use an old fashioned grater or get yourself one of these, a snazzy Microplane. They are faster and better than a gratter, but very sharp too, so be careful.
*A little tip, if you use lemons or limes a lot at home or eat oranges and just discard the skin, get in the habit of zesting them first and freezing the zest so you can use them in your baking or cooking. I keep a little box in my freezer and top it up as and when.
When using the Microplane grate the lemon in one direction, against the grain of the blade
Add the lemon zest and poppy seeds to your batter
Mix in gently and once combined place the mix in your lined baking tin
Bake on 165 for about 40-50 minutes. Check the cake with a skewer. The skewer should come out clean when inserted into the cake
In a small bowl make a tangy lemon syrup. Mix 4 tablespoons of lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of water and add sugar to taste. I tend to just play this bit by air, a little liquid and sugar to taste, but you want to keep the tanginess of the lemons, you don’t want it too sweet. You can heat this up on the stove or in the microwave
*Tip, I always have a backup of a bottle of lemon or lime juice in my fridge just incase the fruit itself does not yield enough juice.
Pierce your cake with a skewer and then using your brush , generously brush the syrup over the cake. You want to soak the cake with the syrup, not just brush it
Next turn the oven up to 200 degrees and mix 3-4 heaped dessert spoons of icing sugar in a bowl with 1 teaspoon of water or lemon juice. I find lemon juice cuts the sweetness of the sugar. You may need to add more icing sugar or water to get the right consistency. You want the mix to be slightly watery but still thickened and white in colour
Don’t worry if it has lumps, this adds to the finished look of the cake
Gently spoon the mix over the top of the cake, but be careful as it can pull the top layer of the cake, so be very gentle.
Place the cake in the HOT oven for ONE minute, make sure the oven has reached to correct temperature
Remove from the oven, but leave in the tin for a while as the topping will be very hot. Placing it in the oven with the sugar mix creates a nice glaze and crust on the cake
Once cool enough, tip out of the tin, slice and eat.