Thursday, August 30, 2012

Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Awhile back my boyfriend's mom found a recipe in a Penzey's spices magazine she wanted to try. Knowing how much I like to be in the kitchen, she photocopied this recipe for a poppy seed cake and gave it to me. So, when my boyfriend and I decided to visit his parents this past weekend, I had to make this cake for them!

 I always get nervous baking for anyone. There is so much pressure I put on myself to make it perfect! But I didn't just have the cake to make right. I had an hour and a half drive that the cake had to outlast. First obstacle was the 90 degree weather with humidity on Friday. I made the cake Thursday night and then I was going to frost it Friday right before we left town. We didn't have our air conditioning on at the apartment so I was super nervous the frosting was just going to melt off. Luckily, it lasted. I packed ice to go over my new glass cake set (I found it at Target!) for the car ride. This seemed to work well. However, there was one more obstacle, being in a bumpy car. I actually had the cake at my feet (where the air conditioning could blow at it). My feet straddled it and they cramped up a few times to say the least...

Unfortunately, the cake still ended up bumping around and frosting seemed to be everywhere! Fortunately, my boyfriend's parents are forgiving and were still pleasantly surprised! Well, and I fixed it up quickly when no one was in the kitchen. 

Everyone enjoyed the cake! It was moist and light. The poppy seed flavor was perfect and of course the famous complement of lemon was not hidden nor too overpowering. This is a perfect spring or summer treat, especially in hot weather. I think it would be perfect for a brunch dessert but it would make a great ending to any meal of course. 

Poppy Seed Cake
adapted from Penzeys

1/2 c. whole poppy seeds
1 c. milk
3/4 c. butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
4 egg whites

1. Soak the poppy seeds in the milk for at least 2 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 375.
3. Cream the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla and mix.
4. Add the poppy seeds/milk mixture.
5. Gradually add the dry ingredients (cake flour, baking powder).
6. Beat in a separate bowl the egg whites and add to the other ingredients once frothy.
7. Pour batter into 2 greased 9-inch cake pans, trying to add the same amount to each. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes.
8. Let the pans cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring the cakes to wire racks to finish cooling.
9. Completely cool before frosting. Try the lemon buttercream recipe below or use a filling and frosting of your own!
10. Enjoy!

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

1 c. butter, room temperature
3 3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 medium lemon, zest and juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
*milk may be needed

1. Cream butter, vanilla extract and salt.
2. Add the lemon zest and juice (don't let the seeds fall in).
3. Gradually add the powdered sugar to create a consistency that allows peaks to form when a spatula or fork leaves the frosting. You may not need to add all the powdered sugar. If the frosting becomes too firm, add a small amount of milk (a tablespoon or two) to thin it out.
4. Frost on the poppy seed cake from above (or this frosting would taste great on lemon or vanilla cakes).

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