Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

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Dogwoods and vinca, tulips and flowering rosemary are growing wild in pinks, purples and clouds of white throughout the neighborhood. Among other blooms, it’s a spectacular season for long walks and prolonged dinners with extended sunlight. This weekend I took advantage of it all.

On Saturday afternoon, I cranked open the windows and cooked several new recipes in the kitchen, including this twist on Lemon Poppy Seed Cake. This cake is made with olive oil in lieu of the traditional (and literal) pound of butter which makes it lighter and airier. Perfect for springtime dessert and lingering Sunday breakfasts.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake, by Melissa Clark

  • Butter, for greasing pan
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour, more for pan
  •  Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  •  cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a bowl, combine lemon zest and sugar and rub with your fingers until it looks like wet sand. Whisk in buttermilk, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk dry ingredients into the batter, then whisk in oil and poppy seeds.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan until warm to the touch, then turn out onto a baking rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Turn cake right side up.
  4. Whisk together remaining 4 teaspoons lemon and the confectioners’ sugar. Use a pastry brush to spread glaze evenly over top and sides of cake. Cool completely before slicing.

 

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