Lemon-Poppy Seed Bread
I'd like to introduce you to my new infatuation. Some girls might always go for a rich chocolate, making sure their indulgences taste and feel indulgent. You know, the dark and handsome type. I for one prefer blondes. Although I'll never turn down a piece of chocolate anything, as soon as you talk citrus you have my attention.
When I was little, I used to tell my sister that I wanted to have a key lime wedding pie. Or better, many key lime wedding pies, all stacked up into a tower. I promised her a single chocolate cupcake on the side, since she insists on hating lime. Interesting that that was the only plan I ever made for my wedding before now. Never one to sit around and imagine my future husband, my dress, my location, the only thing I was concerned for was the food. The more things change, the more the stay they same, as they say.
The challenge of making my own wedding cake won out over the key lime wedding pie in the end, although who knows, maybe I'll throw one together at the last second. But to make up for it, I have this lemon cake for you. And the reason it's so brilliant is because aside from the zest of 2 lemons in the cake itself, the lemon juice glaze moistens and brightens it, and gives it a layer of sugary stick on top so that you have to lick your fingers of all the lemony crumbs at the end. A finger-licking cake. Bliss.
Lemon-Poppy Seed Bread
From Beth Hensperger's The Art of Quick Breads
3 tablespoons fresh poppy seeds
1/2 cup milk (I used skim and it was fine)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Combine the poppy seeds and the milk in a bowl and let sit for 1 hour to meld flavors.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Cream the butter and sugar together, along with the lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time, being sure to beat after each addition. In a small bowl, combine the flour, the baking powder and the salt in a small bowl. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients in three portions. Alternate these addition with the poppy seed milk. Beat the mixture only until smooth.
Pour the batter into a greased 9x5" loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes. In the meantime, make the lemon syrup by combining both ingredients in a small sauce pan. Place over low heat and stir just until the sugar is dissolved in the lemon juice.
Once the loaf is removed from the oven, pierce it all over the top with a toothpick. Drizzle the glaze over the cake. Allow to rest for 30 minutes in the pan before turning it out onto a rack to cool.
* The book asks that you add the zest to the dry ingredients, but I've always creamed it with the sugar. The sugar acts as a kind of sandpaper, releasing the zest's oils into the batter.