The Cake Slice May 2010: Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Almond Frosting
This month, The Cake Slice group decided we wanted a tall and exciting cake to welcome the start of the warmer weather and voted to bake a cake from last years cake book: Sky High Triple Layer Cakes. The cake in question was a delicious sounding three layers of lemon poppy seed cake, soaked in lemon syrup and frosted with almond infused cream cheese icing. As a lemon and almond lover, I knew before I even heated the oven that this cake was going to be a winner.
The cake was very quick to put together and produced a wonderfully light and creamy batter thanks to it being made solely with egg whites and lots of buttermilk. The poppy seeds looked very pretty scattered throughout the cake layers and added a little texture without being obviously crunchy or full of ‘bits’ as they are so teeny tiny.
The lemon syrup kept the layers lovely and moist and added a real lemon zing. Don’t be tempted to leave this stage out as it’s the syrup that adds most of the lemon flavour, the cake itself is quite subtlety lemony. The lemon syrup really brings it alive.
Almond cream cheese frosting. Mmmmmm it really was as good as it sounds. This was the best bit of the cake for me, normally I’m not a big frosting fan but this smooth and creamy frosting packed a real punch of almond flavour and worked so well with the zingy lemon and slight tanginess of the cream cheese. Just divine. I even kept the leftover frosting and ate it on bread – it really was that good!
I was also thrilled at how thick and creamy the frosting was, I’ve often attempted to make creamy cheese frosting in the past and had it collapse into a liquidly mess, but not this time – it was just perfect.
My only criticism of the cake is that because it was an egg white cake the layers were a very pale white colour and the poppy seeds gave it a bit of a grey appearance, but I’m nitpicking. I decorated the cake with a ring of toasted flaked almonds around the top edge. Simple yet effective.
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Almond Frosting
(Recipe from Sky High Irresistible Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne)
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
360g plain flour
300g caster sugar (I only used 200g)
4½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 tbsp poppy seeds
200g unsalted butter
1 large lemon, zest only
5 egg whites
Poppy seeds or flaked almonds to decorate
100g caster sugar
1 lemon, juice only
Almond Frosting (I only used two-thirds of this)
225g cream cheese
200g unsalted butter
600g icing sugar
1 tbsp almond extract
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Heat the oven to 180C. Grease three 8 inch cake pans and line the bases with parchment paper. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix gently to combine.
Add the butter, lemon zest and 200ml of buttermilk to the flour. Beat on low until completely mixed. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes until lighter in colour.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining 75ml buttermilk, whisk to blend thoroughly. Add the egg white mixture to the batter in 2-3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only enough to incorporate the mix. Divide the batter between the three pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the centre, and a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out. While the cake layers are cooling, make the lemon syrup.
In a small pan combine the sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Generously brush the cakes with the lemon syrup while they are still warm. Then allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
Almond Cream Cheese Frosting
In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the icing sugar, about a quarter at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the almond extract and then continue to beat well for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
To complete the cake, place one layer, top side down, on a cake plate and spread about a fifth of the frosting over the cake to cover evenly. Repeat with the second layer and place the third layer on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish with your choice of flaked almonds or poppy seeds.
Makes 1 x 8inch triple layer cake. Serves 12-16