I’ll be honest. I’ve never enjoyed lemon poppy seed anything. I immediately think of the small, dry muffins with gummy tops that are served at free hotel breakfasts, and I have no interest in making or eating anything that resembles them. I'm not even sure if lemons are involved in those bland minis. So when I came across Ottolenghi’s recipe for a lemon poppyseed loaf cake, I was pretty skeptical about the end result. I’ve always wanted to like lemon poppyseed, so I read some reviews of the recipe and finally decided to give it a go. Boy am I glad I did! It has a light, moist crumb and an incredible, lively glaze (another part of the recipe I thought I’d avoid— because the sugary hotel muffins are always so cloying). But I followed the recipe to a T and it came out fantastic. The glaze, which surprisingly was my favorite part, is so bright, fresh, and invigorating-- it livens everything up, and it hardens to a crisp, never gummy, top. Serve this cake as an afternoon snack with coffee or tea, or like I did— for breakfast.
lemon poppy seed loaf cake
makes 1 standard loaf | recipe from sweet: desserts from london's ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) heavy cream
- 5 tbsp (70 grams) unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- finely grated zest of 3 lemons (1 tablespoon)
- 1 1/3 cups (170 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (90 grams) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Heat the oven to 350°F (180° C). Grease the loaf pan(s) and line with parchment paper, then set aside.
- Place the eggs and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until pale and frothy. Add the cream and continue to beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture has combined, thickened a little, and turned pale.
- In the meantime, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stir in the poppy seeds and lemon zest, and set aside.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl, then use a rubber spatula to fold this into the egg mixture before folding in the butter, poppy seeds, and zest.
- Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan(s) so that it rises three-quarters of the way up the sides. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- To make the glaze, whisk the confectioners' sugar with the lemon juice in a bowl.
- Pour the glaze over the top of the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven, spreading it over the top so that it sinks in and creates a nice coating. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes before removing from the pan. Leave to come to room temperature before serving.