Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake

Hello, everybody! This week's Heavenly Cake Bake was the Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake, which was a big hit around these parts. I mean, how can you go wrong with lemon, sour cream, and cake?? Impossible!

Lemon Poopy Seed Sour Cream Cake

February 28, 2010
Name of cake: Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake
Occasion: HCB, and the end of the Olympics
Constitutents: Pretty much what you would think

The idea was to have this cake ready by the time the gold medal hockey game started at noon on Sunday. It was a good idea. However, I didn't get up until oh, 11 am, so baking the cake before the game wasn't going to happen. It turns out that was okay, since Cookie also got up late and wasn't going to come over until after the game. We had a lot of late nights during the olympics, and we are having a hard time getting back on a real schedule.

Anyhoots, after our sad defeat (and...congrats Canada), I decided that baking a delicious and easy cake would be a good solution to my silver medal blues. Cookie said she would come over to watch the closing ceremonies and so I began to assemble the ingredients.

By the way, I didn't take any process photos--sorry. A little too preoccupied!

Nancy B. said that the hardest thing about this cake is zesting all the lemons, and she is right. This cake is another two stage butter cake, basically. All the dry ingredients go into the mixing bowl, including the 10 grams of lemon zest and the poppy seeds. The eggs, vanilla, and some of the sour cream go into another bowl. The rest of the sour cream sits patiently by the side, with the butter.

Lemon Poopy Seed Sour Cream Cake

Oh--in the ingredients section of Roses Heavenly Cakes, Rose mentions that you can substitute full-fat yogurt for sour cream without much mishap. Since I am more apt to eat leftover yogurt, I decided to do just that. I probably will continue to do that with all the sour cream cakes--why not!

People have been sharing their tricks to get butter up to room temperature, especially if their home is naturally colder than "room temperature." My apartment is almost always colder than room temp, so what I do is cube the butter, set it on a wood cutting board (the one set aside for non-garlic/onion/meat) and set it on the top of the stove while the oven preheats. I do this right before I begin assembling all my other ingredients, and by the time I need the butter it is usually nice and soft but not melted. Oh--I keep a stash of butter in the freezer, so this applies to frozen butter only.

butter, defrosting

This cake filled up my apartment with the lovely perfume of lemon. It was hard not to eat it right away, but I dutifully brushed it with lemon syrup. I couldn't believe that cake could hold all that syrup without falling apart, but somehow it did. Cookie had come over by this time and kept asking when we could eat the cake. I told her, technically we should wait until tomorrow (she gasped) but I suggested waiting about an hour.

Lemon Poopy Seed Sour Cream Cake

After a long and painstaking hour (that lemony aroma!), we cut into the still-warm cake. YUM. The syrup wasn't evenly distributed, of course, but even the cake that wasn't syruped was delicious and moist. The syrupy parts were super lemony. The poppy seeds gave the cake a nice crunch. We chomped down a good third right away, then when Joelf came back we had a few more slices.

Lemon Poopy Seed Sour Cream Cake

Monday morning, Cookie stopped by again and the three of us ate more cake before getting lost in Ikea for six (!) hours. The syrup had made its way through most of the cake which made it a little more dense, and moist, but still melt-in-your-mouth tender, and wonderfully lemony. I think I like the texture of the cake without all the syrup--more springy--but I love that lemony pow the syrup brings. Nicola thought to add lemon oil to the cake, which might replace the need for the syrup, and Lanier made an orange sour cream cake which sounds delicious. I can't wait to try both versions!

Oh hey--if you are interested, here's a link to my flickr photos from the Olympics. We had a blast. The games we saw were amazing and varied (curling, ice hockey, bobsleigh), we got to go to Whistler for the day, and the Whistler village and the streets of Vancouver were filled with people from all over the world. Vancouver really brought the party out. That's the one thing I miss about living in San Francisco--when that city celebrates, it celebrates--and Vancouver didn't hold back either. Watching the world's top athletes complete while being surrounded by very enthusiastic Canadians and other people was a wonderful experience. We have Olympic fever for good now--London 2012 here we come!!

showing off our hats and mittens


  1. mmmm! Have I mentioned that I love that pan? And nice tip for the butter. I always zap mine in the microwave for 8 seconds at a time, and usually end up with a melty inside.

  2. I'm so jealous of your Olympic experience. Thanks for sharing the pictures!

  3. Jennifer,
    I love your cake pan! It really makes this cake super special. My mouth puckers when I read about how lemony this cake is!

    How lucky that you got to experience the Olympics. Was it as wonderful as it looked on TV? Everyone seem to be having such a blast. I think Vancouver will be having withdrawal symptons for a while.

  4. I'm having major pan envy! And the pictures of your Olympics experience are sooo cool. I glad you enjoy it, it is something that everyone should be able to experience in their lifetime. Also a World Cup (but then I'm Italian, soccer is in our blood)

  5. Amanda, its so funny, I think I am the only one who doesn't love my pan!

    Kristina, you are welcome! Come to London in 2012!

    Mendy, thank you!

    Oriana, the olympics were wonderful, but maybe not as shiny and clean as they look on tv. Kind of like Disneyland on tv vs Disneyland in person: a little more crowded, longer lines, and more cement/stage dressing than you think. And yet, so much fun!!

    Monica, a World Cup would be great! I still remember when the Bay Area hosted the World Cup, but I totally ignored it. Too young to appreciate it. Sigh.

    Bungalow B, thank you!

  6. The cake looks delicious. I could almost reach out and whip one of those golden winglets off the cake for a wee taste! I love the 'devoured' shot of the cake! What could be a better testament to how good it tasted?
    I am excited to know you will be coming over to see me in 2012! Lots of excitement here for the Olympics being held here. Hope they get all the work done by then!

  7. Lovely, lovely. Great photos. To answer your question, I made the red heart by placing a dot of red fruit sauce in the center of a puddle of lemon sauce, then I used a skewer to pull through both. It's really very easy.

    Let me know if you'd like to see it step-by-step in photos.


  8. Love your cake..another fancy bundt pan? I think by the end of this, i probaby can't resist my temptation and buy a fancy bundt pan! :)

  9. Melinda, you bet your fancy pants muffins I'll be coming over to see you in 2012! Well, we REALLY want to. I;m not much for the summer games, but I would love to see the gold medal field hockey games. I bet the hoopla over there is growing by the day.

    ButterYum, getting compliments on my photos from you is high praise indeed! Thank you! Ah, I've seen the fancy-pants baristas in town make latte art using a similar technique. Very cool.

    Faithy, I know, I think the Heritage bundt pan is going on my birthday wish list...I would gladly get rid of this pan to make room for that one!

  10. I was going to say nice pan... but clearly it isn't a favourite of yours!

    Great looking cake!

    BTW, you would still need to use the syrup as well as the lemon oil to keep this cake moist. But really, it is best eaten as close to baking as possible. Definitely a cake for instant gratification.

  11. Nicola, thanks, I'm glad the pan is appealing to everybody else! Thanks for the tip regarding the lemon oil, but I'm with you: eat it ASAP.

  12. OMG, the matching star-spangled mittens and hats are adorable! :-D I'm glad you guys had fun up there. I had so much fun seeing you!

    The cake is unbelievably yummy-looking. So nicely browned. Why don't you like your pan? Do cakes stick in the points or something? Or does it heat unevenly? I'm thinking of splashing out and buying a bundt pan (you've got me hooked, you see, and I want to taste some cakes). So I should avoid that kind?

  13. By the way, Happy International Women's Day! <3

  14. That cake sounds sooo good. I have to say, at the risk of sounding rude, I'm with YOU where the pan is concerned. Actually, it's not that I don't like it, per se, it's that it SCARES me. It looks like a weapon or a scary hat/helmet. But make no mistake - I would have NO problem eating the yummy cake! Love the pics of the Olys, by the by.

  15. raiuchka, I had so much fun seeing you too!! We need to do it more often, missy.

    Bake some cakes!!! That would be excellent :) The pan is an excellent pan in construction--it is a Nordic Ware cast aluminum pan and I highly recommend them--and the cake doesn't stick much, especially after a liberal spraying of Baker's Joy. I am just not a big fan of the shape. Especially after seeing that damn Heritage pan. Love it. Actually, I just want a regular ol' plain and simply shaped bundt. Waah, waaah, grass is always greener I know.

    Carlotta, the pan scares you?! I just think it is too pointy, but it does make portioning out the cake pretty easy. I promise I won't bake you a cake in my scary pan! (Or I'll just bring it over all sliced up.)