Is there anything better than a bite of really good pound cake? My answer: Yes….a really good bite of lemon poppy seed pound cake. I first became somewhat infatuated with this classic flavor combination whilst living in London a few summers ago. One day I was walking back from school to my flat and I was absolutely ravenous. The closest food-related store that was near me was a Starbucks, so I popped in to see what bakery items they had. Low and behold there was one of the best darn muffins I have ever tasted: the lemon poppy seed. I will confess that I frequented the Starbucks just to get that muffin many times while I was in London. Lame I know. I would have liked to have wandered into some cute and shabby chic cafe and stumbled upon this muffin, but no. It was Starbucks. The only good thing about this muffin being a Starbucks product was that I would be able to get them back in the States. Apparently this was wishful thinking because I have yet to find a Starbucks in the States that offers it! The world can be a cruel place.
I was craving my Starbuck’s lemon poppy seed muffing the other day, and I decided to try my hand at something similar. I was perusing my Joy of Cooking cookbook, and I came across this recipe for lemon poppy seed pound cake and knew I had to try it immediately. And I must say, that I am oh-so-glad that I did.
Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons milk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups sifted cake flour
¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
13 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
¼ lemon juice
Pre-baking note: Have all ingredients at room temperature. Ingredients used at room temperature tend to mix better together therefore creating a better end-product!
Preheat your oven to 350. Grease and flour a loaf pan (8 ½ in x 4 ½ in).
Whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
In a separate larger bowl create your flour mixture by whisking together the sifted cake flour, ¾ cup sugar, poppy seeds, lemon zest, baking powder and salt.
Add half of the egg mixture to the flour mixture, along with the 13 tablespoons of butter (yes, that’s a lot of butter…but worth it!). Beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to high and beat for 1 minute longer.
Gradually add the remaining egg mixture in two parts, beating the mixture for 20 seconds after adding each.
Spread the batter evenly into the pan, and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
Shortly before the cake is done, combine 1/3 cup sugar and ¼ cup lemon juice in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on cooling rack and poke the cake all over with a wooden skewer. Brush the loaf with half of the syrup mixture just created. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
Take the loaf out of the pan and invert it onto a greased rack. Poke holes in the bottom and sides of the loaf and brush the remaining syrup over it.
Let cool completely, then wrap it airtight and let sit for 24 hours. Then, you will be able to have a fantastically delicious piece of lemon poppy seed pound cake.
I must say, this recipe definitely rivals my beloved muffin. What’s better, is that I can make this over and over! Although, I think this recipe should probably be enjoyed with a degree of moderation given the butter content. My original intention was to bring this into the office to share, but I can’t seem to give it up. Maybe I’ll be able to separate myself from the next loaf!