Monday, April 2, 2012

Addicting Lemon Poppy Seed Cake [Lauren]

WARNING: This recipe includes the drug opium as an ingredient – and the cake will make you feel delightfully high.

(Ok, ok… Before you expect some crazy “space cake” recipe – I should disclose that the opium exists only in trace amounts from the poppy seeds, and the high you’ll feel is solely from the deliciousness of the natural lemon flavor… But I promise you’ll still get completely “addicted!”)

I still remember the amazing lemon poppy seed loaves sold in the tiny cafeteria of the manufacturing plant I worked at in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. On stressful work days, I would treat myself to a moist, lemony slice along with a small cup of Puerto Rican coffee (believe me - a small cup is all you need… that stuff is STRONG!) 

After I moved away from Puerto Rico, I had to attempt to recreate the loaves myself. In the US, this wasn’t too much of a challenge; however when I moved to Europe I discovered that poppy seeds are not really prevalent in grocery stores.

So imagine my excitement when Zack and I discovered fresh poppy seeds for sale at a market while on vacation in Copenhagen! The little stand had loads of fresh herbs and spices, so naturally we stocked up on lots of essentials – including poppy seeds!


Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. Butter and flour an 8-inch Bundt or cake pan, then butter the dull side of a piece of foil (this will later cover your cake while it bakes).

Beat the sugar, egg yolks and whole egg at medium-high speed until the mixture becomes much lighter in color and texture.


Beat in the lemon zest. Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt over the egg mixture and fold with a rubber spatula. Finally, beat in the butter, then the poppy seeds.


Pour the batter into the floured pan and cover tightly with the buttered foil.

Bake for around 30 minutes, or until you really start smelling the cake (this may not be a very scientific method- but it never fails me!). At this point – lift the foil to check that the cake has pulled away from the side of the pan, or insert a toothpick into the center of the cake to make sure it comes out clean. If the cake seems done - remove it from the oven and let it cool for around 15 minutes.

Flip the cake onto a cooling rack and let it continue cooling. Before serving, I recommend that you try one of the following finishing touches:

For a gentle flavor – dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar.
For a stronger flavor – squeeze fresh lemon juice over the cake, or serve with lemon slices for your guests to squeeze themselves.
For a sweeter flavor – mix some powdered sugar and lemon juice together to create a glaze. The thicker you want the glaze, the more powdered sugar you can add.


2/3 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
Finely grated lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt 
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup poppy seeds

Suggested Song – Suavemente by Elvis Crespo (a very talented Puerto Rican who I’m sure loves slices of tasty lemon poppy seed cake with his Puerto Rican coffee!)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Lauren.... Looks super yummy: must try it soon! I am amazed though that you say that poppy seeds are not easy to get in Europe... I always assumed you could get them at every supermarket in the baking section (eg Delhaize: but I might be wrong!!