Monday, February 3, 2014

Cake tales from near and far...

Yes, I have said this an umpteen times before 'baking is therapeutic'. To mix everything together and watch it take shape- no stirring no tweaking- almost magical. I usually peep several times into the oven to watch the cake rise. It takes a few attempts for you to perfect the temperature setting( each oven being quite unique), and then a butter cake cooks differently from an oil one. Some go 200 degree centigrade with just the lower coil on for 15/20 minutes and then at 150 degrees for the rest of the baking(another 15/20 minutes) with both the coils working together. And then there are others which cook at lower temperatures for much longer- like the eggless chocolate cake I made earlier this evening.

Pre-heating the oven is an absolute must. Sometimes I tend to get a little impatient at this stage. I can't wait for the baking to get started. Do make sure the oven is pre-heating while you finally fold in the flour. That way you don't lose time. Very often it is this stage that decides the fate of your cake.

You enter a house where something is baking and it uplifts the mood. So if serving cake for dessert a good idea would be to start the baking just before the guests start to trickle in. You have to of course be supremely confident that the cake will be a success else have some alternatives handy. When served with vanilla ice cream a badly made cake does manage to pass the muster.

I love trying out different types of cakes. On a personal mission to learn at least twenty different types before end of the year. So if you have any interesting cake recipes please do send them across.

Today's post is about a cake that uses two fairly unusual cake ingredients, and that is what got me interested- black poppy seeds( this is the differentiator) and lemon( the zest into the cake and the juice onto the glaze). The poppy seeds provide an interesting pattern- they look lovely dotting the cake and give it a delightful crunch. The cake is mildly sweet(often referred to as bread and eaten for breakfast) and this contrasts beautifully with the citrusy sweet crust. In all a combination that easily straddles breakfast and tea times.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake


Lemon- 1 medium sized
Flour/Maida- 1.5 cups
Baking powder- 1 tsp
Eggs- 2
Sugar- 1 cup
Butter- 1 cup(if using unsalted butter do add about 1/2 tsp of salt to balance out the sweetness)
Confectioner's sugar( took me a while to figure out that this was just powdered sugar)- 1/2 cup
Butter- 6 tbsps.
Milk- 1/2 a cup
Black poppy seeds- 1/4th of a cup


1. Mix all the dry ingredients together- flour, baking powder and salt(if using salt).
2. In a large bowl cream butter(leave it out of the refrigerator for a few hours before you start making your cake) and sugar together. This tastes yumm! just by itself. Add the eggs to the mix one after the other and whisk until light and fluffy.
3. Alternate adding milk and the flour mixture till done.
4. Stir in the grated lemon peel and the poppy seeds.
5. Pour the batter into a greased baking dish(for me round ceramic dishes usually work well but for this one try and use a loaf tin).
6. Bake for 15/20 minutes at 200/220 degree centigrade with the lower coil on and for another 20 minutes at 150 degree centigrade with both the upper and lower coils on. Should take anywhere between 40 minutes to an hour to get done.
7. Once done remove the cake onto a plate. Prepare the glaze by mixing the juice of one lemon with the confectioner's sugar. Poke a few holes in the cake and pour the glaze over it. Poking the holes lets the bread absorb the glaze better.
8. Ideally let the cake sit for a few hours for the glaze to be soaked in completely- that is going to be quite a challenge, will test your will power so I suggest you skip step 8. Just cut the cake into large slices and devour.

This recipe has the perfect balance of flavours and a refreshingly summery feel to it. The glaze oozes right down helping keep the cake really soft and moist. There is just one word to describe it- delicious!

Bon Appetit and Happy Baking!


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