mom's birthday cake tale down, right? Right. Well, here's the second half. The light, summery, more-feminine cake I was wanting to present. This cake is, as the title implies, very lemon-y. But frankly, I loved it. Like, was-kinda-upset-I-didn't-make-more-of-it-and-left-it-with-my-mom loved it. It's true, lemon-on-lemon-on-lemon (yes, it's a trio!) action does sound a bit blah, bland, and redundant. Originally, in fact, I was going to do the lemon cake with the lemon syrup and make a delicious, refined lavender glaze, garnished with lavender, of course, of the sort that you only hear about in very dainty, deluxe bakeries and cafes.
Well, unfortunately, lavender was NOWHERE to be found for this venture. I mean NOWHERE. Other than the internet. Which was not going to happen. So here's the magical triple-lemon threat I came up with instead...and I must say, I was not disappointed at all. No sir-ee.
Not. One. Bit.
So, I should mention, again with the not so great photos. I should go ahead and explain that I didn't actually do a test run of this cake, as I did with the chocolate one (linked in the first sentence) and so the day I was driving home, 24 hours before my mom's birthday, was the first time I made this cake. I was also making the serious batch of the chocolate devil's food cake. I was ALSO trying to use up my fresh produce because I was going home for several days, so, on the same day as the two cakes, I made a peach & cherry crumble (to be posted soon).
One more thing--the original cake called for a yoghurt glaze, which looked delicious, but I didn't use it given that I was on that whole "must-use-lavender" kick, so the glaze I have is heavily adapted from a glaze that was SUPPOSED to use lavender. Whoops! Now, onto the good stuff!
For baking beginners: If you want to make your own caster sugar, simply grind up some granulated sugar in a food processor--just don't let it get to powdered sugar fineness/consistency. (Also, if you skipped it, go up two paragraphs to learn how to make cake flour out of all-purpose flour!)
For baking experts: Where do you usually get lavender? When I couldn't find the plant itself (at the grocery store or farmer's market or amongst the pretty purple flowers outside my university's biology building....), I tried to find lavender extract, but no local luck on either count--just expensive products on the internet.
Lemon Poppyseed Mini-Cakes with a Lemon Syrup topped with a Lemon Glaze, cake adapted/halved from Kitchen Wench, glaze adapted/halved from Beyond [the Plate] ...Makes about 4 4-inch mini cakes, or in my case, 3 mini cakes and several mini cupcakes!
For the cake:
3/4 Cup cake flour, sifted (Don't have cake flour? See above for a link on how to make your own out of all-purpose flour!)
1/8 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Salt
1 1/2-2 Tbsp poppyseeds
1 stick (or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (or caster, if you actually have that on hand...)
2 Large eggs at room temperature
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/6 Cup Heavy cream
For the simple lemon syrup:
1/6 Cup sugar
2 Tbsp water
1/6 Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze:
1/4 Cup milk (I used 1%, not sure that it makes a difference...)
1/2 Cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp lemon extract (if you don't want to buy lemon extract, you can probably skip this and just add more lemon juice)
2-3 tsp lemon juice (essentially, this is to taste. I didn't have fresh lemon juice on hand when I made the glaze, so I used bottled & may have had to use more than I would've otherwise...so just sample as you go!)
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease/put parchment paper inside your pans.
- Sift together (or just mix very well, if you have no sifter, like moi) the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and then stir in your poppyseeds.
- In a large separate bowl, beat your butter until it is yellow & creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Then, add your sugar, and beat another 4ish minutes until well combined.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating & incorporating after each one. Once mixture has resumed looking light and fluffy, add in the vanilla extract & lemon zest, mixing until well incorporated.
- Alternate mixing in the flour mixture & heavy cream into the butter mixture in thirds, and mix until just incorporated. Then, pour your mixture into your cake pans, and bake until a toothpick can be inserted & come out clean from the middle. (Confession: I completely forget how long I baked these, because I think it took many additional minutes. Start with 20-25 minutes at the least, I believe, and work your way up from there in increments of 2-3 minutes. Apologies, I'll fix this next time I bake them again...)
- When cakes are done, remove and let cool. (Turn upside down onto a cooling rack or wax paper to also flatten any domes that may have developed, if you so desire.)
- For the simple syrup, simply bring sugar, water, and lemon juice to a simmer in a saucepan until sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside, and when cakes are cool, using toothpicks or a small knife, perforate the cake on both the top & bottom, and brush the syrup over both the top and bottom of the cake for maximum lemony goodness! (Note: You could genuinely stop here. I ate some of the mini cupcakes just like this, and the lemon syrup had just enough tang to make the things taste like heaven! If you want even more lemon & sweetness, however, continue with the glaze...)
- For the lemon glaze, pour milk and lemon extract into a saucepan and place over medium heat, bringing milk to a boil. (Keep a sharp eye to avoid burning the milk.) Remove and let cool for about 4-5 minutes. Then, whisk into the sugar a little at a time until everything is smooth. Add lemon juice to taste, then pour over the tops of your cakes. Et voila!