Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Welcome to the January round of the Improv Cooking Challenge, hosted by Kristen over at the Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.  The two ingredients for this round of the Improv Cooking Challenge were lemons and sour cream....yummy, right?  I wanted to make something on the simple side, and not too heavy (since we were leaving for Maui the next day!).  I found this recipe for a Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake in Rose's Heavenly Cakes, by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  I've had the book for a while now, and though I've loved looking at the pictures in it, I hadn't tried a recipe in it yet.

This cake absolutely hit the spot.  It has a lovely lemon-y taste from the lemon zest in the cake and the lemon juice the the syrup drizzled over the top.  The sour cream gives it a nice little tang-y kick.  And the poppy seeds.....they're so pretty (although the recipe did pretty much use up my whole jar of them).

So grab some lemons.......and Enjoy!

Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Cake
Source: Rose's Heavenly Cakes, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 1 T sour cream
1 3/4 t pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
5 t loosely packed lemon zest
1/3 cup poppy seeds
14 T unsalted butter (65 to 75 degrees)

Coat a bundt cake pan or fluted tube pan with baking spray with flour.

With the oven rack in the lower third of the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees if using a dark pan).

Whisk together the whole egg, yolk, 1/4 cup of the sour cream, and the vanilla, in a medium bowl until just lightly combined.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with the flat beater attachment, 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 color 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 for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a 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 of the pan only after removal from the oven.

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

Lemon Syrup

1/2 cup plus 1 T sugar
6 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed (2 large lemons)

In a 1-cup or larger microwavable 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.

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 1/3 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.

For best flavor, complete the cake 1 day ahead.

Check out what everyone else made!
Improv Challenge

This post is linked to:
Bake With BizzyIt's a Keeper Thursday - Sweet Treats Thursday - Full Plate Thursday - Show Off Your Stuff - Anything Goes Linky - Fun Stuff Fridays - Seasonal Inspiration - Fusion Friday - Friday Favorites - Friday Food - Sweet Tooth Friday - Sweets for a Saturday - Sweet Indulgences Sunday - T' Time - Tuesday Talent Show - Crazy Sweet Tuesday - Link Party - Bake with Bizzy -  Link It Up Wednesday - Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party - These Chicks Cooked - Cast Party Wednesday


  1. Hello fellow Improver! This delicious. I am trying this one for sure. Come on over and visit. We made a terrific soup for the challenge.

  2. I have so many cookbooks that I've done the same thing with. I flip through them again and again but somehow never manage to cook out of them! Glad you finally cracked yours' open!

  3. Shoot! Somehow I missed this one! I am going to have to figure out how to get back on the email list.

    Your cake looks delicious! Great work!

  4. This looks delish! I love the lemon syrup over the cake! Dropped by from the Improv Challenge!

  5. I love poppy seeds! My grandparents would always make a lemon poppy seed cake when I cam to their house, and we never had it at some, so it has special memories attached. Your version looks wonderful, great idea to go this way with these ingredients. I'm so excited to finally be a part of this challenge :)

  6. I will take a slice with my afternoon tea! I found your blog through the challenge and I am so glad I did - it's fun to meet other baking fanatics :D Following you!

  7. Great looking cake, and I love your picture! Stopping by from the challenge!

  8. I'm saving this one to make, looks wonderful and I love lemon, sour cream and with the addition of poppy seed...perfect!

  9. That cake is gorgeous. Bundt cakes always look so fancy (especially when they come out of the pans in one piece!!!) Hope you had fun in Maui!

  10. Your Lemon Poppy Seed Cake looks delicious! Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  11. I have been so in the mood for lemon poppy seed cake and yours looks fantastic! So nice visiting with you! Looking forward to scrolling through more of your posts!

    Kindly, Lorraine

  12. Kirsten, Your Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is beautiful! This is definitely my kind of cake!

  13. Hello from the ICC! I made lemon poppy seed muffins! Great minds think alike. You cake is gorgeous!

  14. I LOVE your recipe! Would you come over to CAST PARTY WEDNESDAY and share this yummy recipe with us?
    I hope to see you there!

  15. This looks great! I'd love for you to share it at our party...