I made a Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Y’all!!!
This past weekend was J’s Birthday, so that means our tall giraffe got to eat some cake! Now that I’m baking and cooking again after my kitchen hiatus, I am force feeding J all the food in the world. Because…I have to fit into a wedding dress. Yes, that’s right! We are engaged! It happened a few months back, but we wanted to keep it to ourselves for awhile.
J spent his birthday weekend languishing in front of the TV watching Supernatural. It was a weekend without studying or being productive. While he chilled, I spent most of the weekend testing recipes, making the lemon poppy seed cake for his birthday, and watching the episodes over my shoulder! Honestly, we started watching the show because I’m a scaredy cat that can’t watch anything with a remotely frightening plot. He wants me to watch horror films and Stranger Things, so we are easing into things.
And, for the record, after he went home for the night I still had to crawl into bed with my sister, because I was too scared to be alone. Ghost children are terrifying.
Anyway, for his birthday, I made an extremely moist and citrusy lemon poppy seed cake! Naturally gluten free, it uses techniques I learned through America’s Test Kitchen’s gluten free cookbooks. The Royal Wedding inspired me to do a lemon influenced cake. (Who got up at 4:30 EST with me to watch it?! The Clothes, the hats, and the dress were all on point! Meghan Markle looked AMAZING.) I switched out poppy seeds for the elderflower because I wanted to make a cake that screamed “BIRTHDAY” instead of “WEDDING.”
The first attempt was a monstrosity. I decided to use slices of lemon like an upside down cake. While the cake looked cute, the peels didn’t cook through and were impossible to chew. I will spare you the details but let’s just say we were constantly digging around looking for peels to remove from the cake. Also, you just can’t cover an upside down cake with buttercream icing. I tried. It was gross. It just meant digging further for the peels.
The second attempt was a winner! I mixed lemon zest and juice into the batter instead of using the lemon peels. This simple change allowed my cake to continue having its fluffy texture without having a nuisance of a gag worthy and chewy topping.
The icing is based on Martha Stewart’s classic buttercream frosting. I tweaked a few things here and there, such as adding a touch of lemon. Finally, it was time to ice the cake. This was the first time I officially iced a cake with the intention of trying to make it look good. Usually I would slap that icing on and tell friends and family that it was ‘rustic’ or ‘it only matters what it tastes like, not what it looks like.’ All of which were just excuses for a butt ugly cake. So I knew I needed help. I couldn’t do this alone. Molly Yeh is my go to cake/dessert girl. She is this super cool blogger/chicken mama. She wrote an article for Food & Wine detailing her best decorating tips. Without her, I wouldn’t have iced a cake that looked half this good!
Elizabeth designed and drew the cake topper. It is, of course, a giraffe celebrating his birthday. A perfect little present for J!!! We also made Ppopgi for J’s birthday because of his love for Korean treats from his childhood.
Happy Weekend Everyone!
Please Note: For this recipe we used America’s Test Kitchen’s gluten-free flour blend. We also wrote a blog post about this flour blend. It is (in my opinion) the best gluten-free flour blend out there! If you liked the recipe, I highly recommend checking out The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen! (Amazon link to Volume 1 & Amazon link to Volume 2)
If you do not want to make your own flour blend, I recommend using the Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour.
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That looks amazing! Super cute and yummy 🙂 Can’t believe that you made yourself, Plus I wish I could see you dance at step5 too 😉