Friday, July 4, 2014

Lemon Poppy Seed Olive Oil Cake

This is another recipe that finds its inspiration from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  However, while Ms. Perelman leaves the lemon cake for the "grapefruit olive oil pound cake" *, I return to the lemon cake and add poppy seeds. Orange Poppy Seed Bundt Cake has been a long time favorite in our family and a few years ago I started making a a zero cholesterol Orange Poppy Seed Olive Oil Cake.  But in the height of strawberry season I wanted an accompaniment other than shortcake and whipped cream to go with the berries. The orange cake seemed a bit too sweet. The grapefruit cake promised the tartness I was seeking but it was not grapefruit season, lemon it seemed would be perfect. So taking Ms. Pearlman's recipe as a starter, I used lemon zest and juice instead of grapefruit zest and juice, granulated sugar rather than half granulated and half raw or turbinado (1/2 c each), and an "egg product" instead of eggs, and skipped the glaze... the strawberries would bring enough added sweetness.  The Smitten Kitchen recipe calls for buttermilk or plain yogurt.  I have made this cake with both plain yogurt and buttermilk equivalent  (mix 1/3 c - 1 t milk and 1 t plain vinegar, let sit for five minutes).  The choice of a loaf pan, which gives the cake a nice volume, is a good one .

Butter and flour a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl rub together with your fingers:

2 T lemon zest
6.90 oz (~ 7/8 c) granulated sugar
Whisk in:
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c "egg product" or 2 eggs

In a smaller bowl combine:

6.70 oz (~1 1/2 c) all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt (I usually omit)

In a measuring cup, combine:

2 T lemon juice
1/3 c buttermilk (see note above) or plain yogurt

A little at a time, alternately add the flour and lemon juice mixtures to the oil and sugar mixture.


1/3 c poppy seeds

Mix well then pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth top to even.
Cook about 50 minutes or until a small skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Let cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and brush with lemon syrup:

Combine and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves:
2 T granulated sugar
1/4 c lemon juice

(Note: Perelman uses 2 T sugar and 1/3 c juice and pricks holes over the top of the cake so that syrup will be more absorbed by the cake).

Let the cake cool completely while it absorbs the syrup.

After the cake has cooled Perelman adds a glaze made from combining and whisking until smooth:

1 c (4.2 oz) confectioners' sugar
2 T grapefruit [lemon] juice
Pinch of salt

The glaze is poured over the cake and drizzled decoratively down the sides.

* Pages 241-243


This variation makes the third orange poppy seed cake in my repertoire. Orange Poppy Seed Bundt Cake is still my favorite, but is a special occasion cake given its high butter content.  I like this olive oil variation equal to or perhaps even better than Orange Olive Oil Poppy Seed Cake.

Reduce the sugar to 6.6 oz
Increase the flour to 7.0 ounces

Instead of lemon, use zest of one orange
Instead of buttermilk and lemon juice, use juice of 1 orange and add enough buttermilk/milk/orange juice so liquid equals 1/3 c plus 2 T.

Add 1/2 t vanilla

Follow direction given above, then cover with orange glaze:

2 T orange juice
2 T sugar

I served this a few nights ago with a choice of a scoop of vanilla ice cream or vanilla non-fat frozen yogurt, both topped with orange fused olive oil and rosemary.

Revised 5/11/17  REVISED 1/8/22

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