One of my best friend from school was in town and I was super excited about meeting her after nearly 2 years. She and her hubby were invited for lunch at our place on a weekend and my brain was working overtime about the goodies that I was going to make for them. I really wanted to try out a new flavour combination for the cake I was going to bake. After a lot of thinking I zeroed down on lemon and poppy seed which seems to be quite a popular combination amongst the bakers. Also, I came across a new term on Instagram called “The Naked Cake”. I was extremely intrigued by this term and decided to do some research. It turns out that I have been consistently making stark naked cakes as by definition it is a cake without or barely there frosting.
I persistently make extremely simple and rustic cakes and avoid fillings and frosting just so that I can eat my cake with minimum guilt. So I was super happy to know that the cakes that I make are part of a trend!
Recently a new niggle some worry has cropped up. My allergy to egg yolks has reared up its ugly little head. For past few months, I had been ignoring it but a recent flair up made me realize that I really need to take it seriously. So I decided my cakes will be made only with egg whites henceforth. (as far as possible).
For some time now I was thinking about making healthy baked goodies as after last year’s job-related relocation to my hometown I gained some unwanted weight. So now there is a constant clash inside my mind between my urge to bake and the urge to lose weight. So I decided I have to find a middle path so that my passion is not curtailed and I can lead a healthy life as well. Also according to psychologists for people whole love to bake for others, the process is a stress reliever and it can help ease the presence of sad thoughts. This article explained a lot of things which I guess I already knew but had never thought about extensively.
Now back to the lemon poppy seed cake. I have used some alternative ingredients in this recipe and tried to cut down on the butter and used olive oil instead. Instead of using only all-purpose flour I have added some oats flour which gave the cake a different texture. The crunch and taste of the poppy seed is very unique and I was a bit apprehensive about the overall resulting taste. Luckily the combination of fragrant lemons and the nutty flavour of the crunchy poppy seeds gave this a cake a very different but yummy flavour.
The lemons that I have used in this recipe are special as they are organic and homegrown and gifted to us by a senior colleague at a recent office picnic. So the heavenly fragrance of these lemons has added an extra dimension to this cake. You can use any type of lemon and lime as you want in your recipe only adjust the quantity of lemon juice you add in as all lemons are not equally tangy.
I have added a simple lemon glaze on top of the loaf cake which gives an added tangy kick and a super shine to this scrumptious flavourful cake. Now I am really looking forward to trying out new flavour combinations and adding a healthy twist to my cakes. So now my friends please read on to know my version of Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.
¾ cup Brown Sugar + 2 tbsp powdered sugar (for the glaze)
3 Egg Whites
Lemon Juice (3 tbsp.)+ 4 tsp(for the glaze)
Lemon Zest of 2 lemons for the batter +1 lemon’s zest for the glaze
Melted Butter 3 tbsp
½ cup Olive Oil
½ cup fresh yoghurt
Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, loaf tin, hand whisk/electric whisk.
Oil/melted butter for greasing the loaf tin.
Baking seems to be a less formidable task if you start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
Grease the loaf tin with melted butter or oil. (I used a loaf tin but you can use any type of cake mould you want)
Sieve the flour, baking powder and baking soda together and mix in the oats flour in a large dry mixing bowl.
Mix the lemon zest and the poppy seeds with the flour mixture
Beat the egg whites with a hand-held electric whisk till light and fluffy and add in the brown sugar bit by bit. It takes around 4 to 5 minutes with an electric one and around 10 minutes with a manual whisk.
In a separate bowl whisk the yoghurt with a fork and mix it in the beaten egg whites and keep on whisking at a low speed.
Next mix in the melted butter, lemon juice and whisk to have a foamy and light mixture.
Pre-heat the oven to 180o (I use a microwave oven in the convection mode)
Now add the flour mix prepared earlier into the egg white mixture bit by bit and keep on whisking at a low speed.
Add in the olive oil when your cake mixture will get a pourable and smooth texture. Be careful not to overmix the batter. If the batter is too viscous you can add some milk.
Now pour the batter into the grease and bake at 180oC for 25 minutes. At this point test the middle of the cake with a toothpick or a cake tester and if it does not come out dry bake for 5 more minutes.
When the cake is baked perfectly, take it out of the oven/ let it cool down and demould.
Keep the fragrant lemon loaf cake on a cooling rack and prepare the glaze in the meanwhile.
Now as with any other cake the waiting part will be very difficult as the smell of freshly baked cake is very tempting and there is a great urge to cut he cake and eat it immediately. But it is better to wait for a while as if you attempt to slice a cake which is too hot you might end up breaking the cake and you will not get neat slices.
To prepare the glaze mix 2 tbsp of powdered sugar with 4 tsp of lemon juice and mix until the sugar is dissolved and you have a shiny and tangy lemony glaze ready to be drizzled on the top surface of the loaf cake. You might have to add some extra lemon juice if the sugar does not dissolve and mix vigorously.
Drizzle the glaze onto the cake and grate the lemon zest on the top of the cake and enjoy your yummy, tangy, nutty super soft and moist Lemon Poppy Loaf cake.
You can leave out the poppy seeds if you are allergic or if it is not easily available but if you can do try this flavour combination as the nutty flavour and the crunch really enhances this loaf cakes overall flavour range.
If you want to make this cake totally eggless then you have to add more yoghurt but I have not tested that substitution as of yet so cannot say how exactly it will turn out.
The winter months are three fun-filled months in our family as the month of December kick-starts all the birthday celebrations. It begins with my mother’s birthday in the very first week of December. I was planning to bake her birthday cake myself as I have been on a baking spree these days and tapping into my inner baker!
I asked my mom what flavor cake she would like for her birthday and on giving her three options to choose from i.e. chocolate, vanilla or lemon, she chose the lemon. Now, this was happy news for my hubby as he is not a big chocolate fan. (Sigh!) Anyway now I started planning the recipe and began foraging for the ingredients. Mom’s birthday was on Sunday and we went for a day trip to an eco-tourism park on Saturday(Pics posted at the end of this post). So I had to make the cake on Sunday itself which was a challenging task as all the other weekend chores had piled up like a mountain.
Anyway, after a lot of fighting with my inner lazy demons my proactive self took over and I managed to put together this birthday lemon cake which tasted very scrumptious and yummy. Mom was happy, hubby was happy and so automatically I was happy with the overall outcome. So now I could have my cake and eat it too!!
1 ½ cup Flour (150gm)
1 ½ tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Baking soda
¾ cup Granulated Sugar + ¼ cup powdered sugar
Lemon Juice (2 ½ tbsp.)
Lemon Zest of 2 lemons for the batter +1 lemon’s zest for the icing
Softened Butter 150 gm (equivalent to 1 cup of butter cubes)
Cream Cheese 100 gm
Fresh Cream/Whipping cream 2 to 3 tbsp.
White chocolate buttons/chips 15 to 20 nos.
Milk ½ cup
Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, cake mould/tin, hand whisk/electric whisk.
Oil/melted butter for greasing the cake mould.
Start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
Line the cake tin with parchment paper and grease it with melted butter or oil. (I used a round springform tin but you can use any type of cake tin) and keep it ready.
Sieve the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together and mix it in a large dry mixing bowl.
Take the butter and granulated sugar in a deep bowl and beat with an electric mixer for approximately 4 to 5 minutes till soft and fluffy. (you can use a handheld whisk also but then you have to beat the butter and sugar for a longer time). The texture and colour of butter will change i.e it will become lighter in colour and soft and fluffy in texture.
Then add in the eggs and vanilla extract and keep on mixing at medium speed till the mixture becomes homogenous. When the eggs are added to the whipped butter there is a chance of the butter curdling a bit but then you have an option of beating the eggs separately and then mixing it with the whipped butter. In both cases, you might be scared by a bit of curdling but just be brave and carry on with the mixing.
At this point, you will need to pre-heat the convection oven to 180o
Add the sieved flour mixture and mix till the mixture is smooth.
Mix in the milk and combine to make a pourable batter. Add the white chocolate chips and mix.
Add the lemon zest and lemon rind in the end and combine.
Now quickly pour the batter into the paper lined and greased cake tin and put it into the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes check the cake with a toothpick or a cake-tester in the center and if it comes out sticky bake it for 10 more minutes.
While the cake is baking prepare the cream cheese frosting. Mix the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, fresh cream/ whipping cream, powder sugar and whip with the electric beater till soft peaks form.
Now when the cake is baked perfectly, take it out of the oven/ let it cool down and remove carefully from the tin.
Keep the fragrant lemon cake on a cooling rack and wait patiently to decorate with the glorious cream cheese frosting.
Now, the waiting part will be very difficult because the smell of this cake is very tempting and you will feel a great urge to attack the cake with a knife and gorge on it! But my advice to you is that be patient because the frosted cake will taste even better.
When the cake has cooled down spread the frosting on the top of the cake and smoothen with a knife to make it pour over the edges just a little bit. Grate the lemon zest on the top of the cake and enjoy your yummy, tangy, super soft and moist lemon cake.
Instead of lemon, I have used a special type of lime called Gondhoraj Lebu in this recipe which has an out of the world citrusy fragrance. But lemons will do equally well and you can customize with any local type of lime or lemon available in your part of the world. Just be careful while grating the zest that you don’t reach the white portion of the lemon rind as that will impart bitterness to the cake
If store bought cream cheese is not available, then you can easily make it at home. All you have to do is make some cottage cheese by curdling milk with lemon, separate the cheese and blitz it in a blender with some milk till smooth and creamy. This substitute is an old favourite of mine since the days when Cream cheese was not as easily available as now.
We personally like our desserts to be a bit less sweet side and the sugar quantity is according to my taste. You have the freedom to increase the sugar content a bit if you prefer things on the sweeter side.
You can leave out the white chocolate if you want but I really loved the combination of lemon and white chocolate.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me anything about this cake in the comments section.