Monday, July 15, 2013

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

To celebrate my return to blogging, following what I can only refer to as the darkest period of my human nature in recorded history, also known as planning a wedding (more to come in an entirely separate blog post), I decided I wanted to come back swinging and made a lemon poppyseed layer cake. 

My birthday was just a couple weeks ago and since we were on our honeymoon in Greece on my actual birthday, I didn't get a birthday cake. How old is too old to keep getting birthday cake? Answer: the limit does not exist. So, when Kyle made plans to go camping with our friends this weekend, I decided I'd use the time alone to make myself a cake. When camping got rained out, our friends quickly regrouped and threw a cookout instead. While I don't camp, I DO eat. So this cake ended up pulling double duty this weekend as birthday cake and crowd pleaser.
I'll have you know I've never made a layer cake. It's true! I've made hoards of cupcakes, cookies, and bar desserts, but never a round cake...with layers. Much of that is likely because I never owned round cake pans, but thanks to a little bit of American consumerism called the "wedding registry" I am now the proud owner of many baking vessels, including round cake pans. Now, the only thing stopping me from making layer cakes on the reg is the fear of developing diabetes. And also bikinis.
But this weekend, I could not be stopped! I wanted something decadent, but summery with a bit of nostalgia, but not too classic. I also wanted a good excuse to make lemon curd.

I pretty much knew how to make a layer cake, cus I'm just THAT good, but for the uninitiated, you basically make however many cakes you want, then using a large serrated knife, cut the cake in half. Then, sandwich your fillings in between layers by dalloping a spoonful of icing/lemon curd/etc. in the center, then spread out with an offset spatula into a thin layer. Top with another layer of cake, then filling, and so on, until you reach the top layer, then cover in a layer of frosting (also known as the "crumb coat"):
You'll chill the cake with the crumb coat for about 30 minutes--long enough to the crumb coat to stiffen so you can begin decorating the cake with the remaining frosting. I was going for a rough textured look, but I got whatever THIS is:

It's not bad, but it's not really what I was trying to accomplish. WHATEVER.
I'm really excited to "be back." (I'm using air quotes because even though I don't have plans to disappear again, I like to keep my options open.) I hope you are too. I mean, look--I even made you cake!!

Lemon Poppyseed Cake
Makes about 16 slices

For the cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 egg whites
For the lemon curd
  • 4 egg yolks (use the ones from the eggs whites in the cake!)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of 2-3 lemons
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled
For the frosting
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 block of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 round cake pans.
2. In a large mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream the butter and sugar from the cake recipe until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
3. Add all the dry ingredients, a little at a time, until well incorporated into the butter and sugar.
4. Add the egg whites to the batter and beat until well incorporated.
5. Pour half the batter into one cake pan and the other half in the other.
6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool completely.
7. While cakes cool, make lemon curd.
8. Fill a medium pot with 2 inches of water. Bring to a light simmer. Place a large glass bowl over the pot, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water.
9. Add the lemon curd ingredients except the butter to the glass bowl and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and pales in color (about 10 minutes).
10. Remove lemon curd from the heat and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
11. To make cream cheese frosting, whisk butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add a bit of lemon juice.
12. Assemble cakes per my half assed instructions above. Or just do what you feel is right.


Jane {In The Pink & Green} said...

So happy you are back to blogging--can't wait to hear more about your wedding/honeymoon! (All your instagrams looked amazing!) This cake looks perfect for summer, and I love how the frosting turned out. Also, please tell me that was a Mean Girls reference--"the limit does not exist!"

Gayla said...

Looks beautiful! My grandmothers favorite cake was lemon poppyseed!

Megan | Freckled Italian said...

It looks SO GOOD! And I love not camping.

Unknown said...

Ahhhhhhhh! So happy you're back! Cannot wait to hear all about the honeymoon!

Annalilly said...

My first thought when I saw this was, "why have a I never made a lemon poppy seed cake??" Looks fantastic.

Julie / Bound said...

YUM. Lemon poppyseed is the underground hero of the cake-muffin world, and I feel it does not get proper appreciation.

Patty said...

Umm I wish I could pin this so my cake planning friend could use it!! Looks super yummy!

ps. congrats on your wedding!

brooke said...

We loved this cake! Thanks for the recipe.

HA said...

I have just made the cake......the batter is VERY stiff!! Was I to do anything with the egg whites before adding them to the batter............?
Help! thanks!

Nicole Boylan said...

Hi! So making this. Should you "fridge it" before serving or will it keep in my glass cake dome until the next day?

Thanks!! ;)

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