Lemon and Poppyseed Cake

The first week of March was a really busy week. It was one of those weeks where you felt you were hitting the ground running.  I just felt tired and run down.  I really missed going into the kitchen and baking something though I felt I was even struggling to make home cooked family dinners.  I had two afternoon’s teaching in the class where I usually work as a teaching assistant on top of my usual hours.  The weather was cold and lousy and I just felt like hibernating!

Finally, it got to Friday afternoon and I was keen to bake something for the Mother’s Day weekend. I knew I wouldn’t be seeing my own Mum this weekend as she had other things on and my hubby would be away with work so I was on my own with the children.  I knew the children would love a bit of cake for the weekend so I had a look in the cupboard to see what I could come up with from my spare ingredients.

My favourite cookbook at the moment, the fabulous Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook available in all good bookshops!
My favourite cookbook at the moment, the fabulous Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook available in all good bookshops!

I noticed I had three lemons that needed using up and as my kids love lemon drizzle cake I thought I could make one.  I’m enjoying baking out of my Clandestine Cake Club cookbook that was published last month and as there is a whole chapter in the book dedicated to Zesty Cakes, this book is a great one to start my lemon cake search.  I didn’t need to look for long because I immediately spotted Rachel McGrath from (Bolton CCC organiser/ aka DollyBakes’s) Lemon and Poppyseed Cake.  As Rachel is the Bundt Queen, her gorgeous recipe was created to be baked in a traditional Bundt tin.  Rachel has four recipes in the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, all Bundt recipes.  I made her Raspberry Yoghurt bundt a few weeks back and loved it.  To make the other two I will have to invest in the special heart shaped and Butterfly tins (hint hint to my hubby as my birthday is coming up in May!!!!) I had all the ingredients for the recipe save for some lemon extract but everything else was fine!

First of all I greased and carefully floured my Bundt tin before preheating my oven.  As I was doing this my inquisitive black Labrador Charlie came into the kitchen to see what I was up to. He got shooed out and made to go in the dining room while I was baking.  I got my KitchenAid mixer out of the cupboard and got it beating up the butter and sugar while I found the eggs, weighed out all the dry ingredients such as flour, bicarbonate of soda and a lovely addition to a lemon cake- a teaspoonful of ground ginger. I thought it worked really well with the lemon.  The wet ingredients were measured out separately.  I combined natural yoghurt, lemon juice and lemon zest in a measuring jug.  I was a bit worried that the natural yoghurt wouldn’t work well as it wasn’t a full fat one, this was a fat free one and wouldn’t give the same results. Finally after everything was stirred in, I added the poppy seeds. This made me think maybe my kids wouldn’t eat the cake.  My son can be really fussy with bread and refuses to eat bread with seeds and nuts in. I once gave him a poppy seed roll and he called it “nit bread”.  This might become “nit cake” then!

The cake went off into the oven for around an hour. I was backwards and forwards in the last ten minutes or so checking it out.  While the cake was baking I was sorting out some washing and got the hoover out.  The lemony zesty smell was so lovely I couldn’t wait to dive in and try a piece.

Out the cake came and was put straightaway on my wire cooling rack. By this time my kids had got back in from school off the bus and were absolutely ravenous.  They had to make do with a piece of toast to put them on as I needed to get the cake iced.

The icing was a simple lemon glaze with the juice of one lemon and some icing sugar. Looking at the accompanying picture, Rachel’s cake showed a runny glaze but mine turned out much thicker, more like glace icing. Either my lemon was too small and didn’t produce enough juice or I had done something else wrong. So instead of drizzling my icing on, it was spread on the top of the cake more with a pallette knife.

My version of Rachel McGrath's Lemon and Poppy Seed Bundt Cake from the Clandestine Cake Club Cook book.
My version of Rachel McGrath’s Lemon and Poppy Seed Bundt Cake from the Clandestine Cake Club Cook book.

We were absolutely bowled over by the cake. As soon as it was decorated we pounced on it.  I ate a small slice, the kids and my hubby had a piece even though we didn’t have to wait long until teatime.  It was moist and the zesty tangy lemon was absolutely delicious.  The poppy seeds added an extra dimension and the ginger worked well in the mixture and did not overpower the cake. This is definitely a recipe I will be baking over and over again!  Rachel also suggests substituting the poppy seeds for chopped thyme in the recipe.  I would like to try this as I have never really tried using herbs in cakes, what a great idea.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

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