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Author Notes: When I think of spring, I think of citrus. Lemon poppy seed cake is a favorite because its tart sweetness wakes up your mouth. I love when desserts are bright as opposed to rich - it allows you to indulge in them at any time of day. The lemon flavor in this cake really comes from the soak applied after baking, so don't skimp! Chia seeds can be substituted for poppy seeds in this recipe. (Adapted from Candace Nelson) —Samantha Ardry
Makes 1 - 9 x 5 inch loaf cake or 4 mini loaf cakes
For the cake
- 2 cups (7 1/2 oz, 212 g) pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz, 100g) canola oil
- 1 cup (7 oz, 100 g) sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (8 oz, 227 g) plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 3 small or 2 large lemons)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
For the glaze
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Preheat a conventional oven to 350 F and position a rack in the center of it. Grease a 9 x 5" loaf pan and set aside.
- Sift together the pastry flour, baking powder and salt. Combine the vegetable oil and sugar in the bowl a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat for about 3 minutes until fluffy and shaggy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the yogurt, lemon zest, vanilla extract and poppy seeds and beat for a minute.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes - 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, let it cool for 20 minutes then carefully tip the cake out of the pan and let it finish cooling on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, juice all of the lemons you zested into a small measuring cup. You should have about 1/3 cup of juice. Add the juice and 1/3 cup sugar to a small saucepan. Over medium low heat, let the sugar dissolve into the juice. Let the syrup cool.
- When the cake is barely warm, poke little holes all over it with a cake tester or a toothpick. Using a pastry brush, coat the cake with some of the cooled lemon syrup. Let it soak in before applying more. Continue this process until all of the syrup has been applied to the cake. Let the cake cool and soak in all the syrup before you cut and serve it. This cake is delicious on day one and outstanding the next day. Keep it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.