Saturday, January 14, 2012

it's snowing

Really snowing.  I've missed it more than I even knew.

What I love about the occasional Seattle snow day is that it is one,  infinitely prettier than rain, and two, people freak out about it. People, like me.  But, before I unnecessarily put my snow pants on there was something I had to try....

It started a few days ago really. I have been questing for Seattle's best cinnamon roll (more on that later, the search is getting pretty intense) and I stumbled upon an absolutely gigantic piece of lemon poppy seed cake from Tall Grass.  Don't get me wrong it was good, but disappointingly not all that lemony or poppy seedy. So for about a week now I've shifted gears, sifting through cookbooks, blogs, and websites to find a more perfect lemon poppy seed cake.

And then I found this.

I was skeptical.  Really skeptical actually, but I felt compelled to try.  Only 1/2 cup of flour to 8 egg yolks? Also, I have never baked anything with that much cornstarch.  Doubts aside, I pushed forward with the sneaking suspicion it would all work out.

It did. It really did.

To be fair, like the recipe from Smitten Kitchen says, this cake is really all about the poppy seeds.  A serious snowstorm of poppy seeds- crunchy, nutty, and so many of them the cake is almost black.  And since my only real experience with poppy seeds comes from the occasional bagel, I was surprised at how flavorful they are. Delightfully surprised.   I suppose it could be sweeter and maybe a touch more lemony but for now it was just what I was looking for on this snowy Saturday.

Poppy Seed Lemon Cake 
Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen 

2/3 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt (edited to add this)
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, melted 
1/2 cup poppy seeds 

Preheat oven to 325 and butter and flour a 10 inch bundt or tube pan.  Beat sugar, egg, and yolks together until light and fluffy- approximately 8 minutes. Add in lemon zest and beat again.  Sift in flour, cornstarch, and salt mixture and incorporate with a rubber spatula until combined. Add butter and beat again. Add in poppy seeds and beat until combined.  Pour batter into pan and bake for around 35 minutes or until cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Remove from pan, let cool, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

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