Posts filed under ‘Baking’

Cubicle Foraging – Poppy Seeds (Poppy Seed Lemon Cake)

Taking a deep breath….  and trying to get back into posting things.  Life has run away with tons of new things cropping up at work and things not letting up as much after the holidays as I had expected.

I finally got around to making this lovely cake, which I saw over at SmittenKitchen.  M joined me for the evening and brought his camera.  We made pizza for dinner and then made cake while trying out one of my holidays gifts, a nifty new board game.

I got an entire tupper ware container of poppy seeds from work a couple of weeks back.  I am not a huge fan of poppy seeds, but her descriptions of the cake were so intriguing that I had to try it.  It was a huge hit with people at work and I enjoyed a couple of small pieces myself.  It has made me determined to try making some lemon flavored cakes some time in the future, perhaps also trying out the gorgeous frosting recipe SmittenKitchen has been playing with.  It takes the zest from two medium to large lemons, which makes the batter very fragrant and lovely light lemony color (at least until you add the poppy seeds).

Poppy Seed Lemon Cake

(recipe found at SmittenKitchen, adapted, from Kurt Gutenbrunner via Food & Wine)

2/3 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
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 and cooled a bit
1/2 cup poppy seeds (I got this from one 3-ounce spice bottle)

Preheat the oven to 325°F Butter and flour a fluted Bundt or tube pan generously.  Butter the dull side of a 10-inch piece of foil.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the sugar with the egg yolks and whole egg at medium-high speed until the mixture is pale yellow and very fluffy, about 8 minutes.  Beat in the lemon zest.  Sift the flour and cornstarch over the egg mixture and fold in along with the pinch of salt with a rubber spatula.  At medium speed, beat in the butter, then beat in the poppy seeds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and cover tightly with the buttered foil.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until the cake pulls away from the side of the pan and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  She made note that she had a ten inch pan for her cake and it was done ten minutes early.  I also only had a ten inch pan and mine was done at roughly 35 minutes, so it should be a pretty good guideline.

Remove the foil and let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes.  Invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely before serving, at least 30 minutes.

I am afraid that I was not thrifty and didn’t end up using my egg whites for anything.  As this was the second thing baked in the evening, I decided against having more clean up.  I am eyeing a crème brûlée and angel food pair up sometime in the near future, though.  Which hopefully will remove the slight feelings of guilt at having tossed the extra egg whites.  I did look at recipes to use them, I just didn’t end up doing an of them.

February 2, 2010 at 5:43 pm 4 comments

Sourdough Boule

Sourdough Boule

Holiday Sourdough Boule, best of three

As mentioned, I had a lot of baking planned for Friday.  I took the day off and had lofty plans to bake a couple of loaves of challah as well as the three loaves of sourdough that had been growing in my kitchen in stages over the previous three or so days.  Last week was a rather long week and I was tired and decided that getting some extra rest was more important than the challah and my three loaves of sourdough would have to do.

If you like bread and you haven’t heard of Peter Reinhart, go buy one of his books.  His approach to bread making may be a bit intense (the bread recipes of his that I have tried usually involve developing the dough over several days) in terms of time commitment, but you will find yourself devouring every bite of bread you can get your hands on and having to fend off a flock of appreciative food vultures the minute anyone has a taste of your bread.  I own Crust and Crumb and looking forward to checking out his new book, Artisan Breads Every Day, which is supposed to take his techniques and give you recipes that take a less time consuming approach.

The sourdough starter that I use was actually purchased via mail from Breadtopia at their Baker’s Store.  It arrived in the mail in a little ziplock baggie with instructions for bringing it back to a healthy state.  My starter is the refrigerator sort, which means it can hibernate for months in your fridge with minimal to no tending and then be revived when you decide you want to make bread.  I take it out of the fridge two days before I want to start my bread recipe and start feeding it and storing it at room temperature.

I used Reinhart’s sourdough recipe, which calls for making a firm starter, which gets its own set of rise and retard (holding the dough at a lower temperature for an extended period which lets more complex flavors develop) steps, then the dough the next day, baking happening on the third day.  The first time I made this recipe M and I devoured an entire loaf as soon as it was cool enough to eat.  I think we took all of about ten minutes to consume it.

For now I will leave you with another bread photo (courtesy of my cell phone of all things).  The time has changed and fall is solidly here – go home and bake bread!

Sourdough Boule

November 2, 2009 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment