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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!