Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Curd

22 Feb

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Curd

the cake in “notes from my food diary” was absolutely gorgeous and the name of the cake sounded delicious so i had to make it. 

Serves 8 to 10

Cake:
2 1/3 cups cake flour
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seed
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Raspberry curd (recipe follows)

Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Fresh raspberries for garnish

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degree F.  Butter and flour two 8-x2-inch round cake pans.

To make the cake:  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, poppy seed, and salt in a medium bowl.  Pulse 1/4 cup of the sugar with the lemon zest in a food processor until the zest is finely ground.

Beat the butter and the zest mixture with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar and beat until smooth.  Add 1/4 cup of the milk and beat until just blended.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the remaining milk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary, and beating just until blended.

Beat the egg whites with clean beaters on medium speed in a large clean bowl until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat just until the egg whites for stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted.  using a whisk or a rubber spatula, fold one-quarter of the whites into the batter, then continue to gently fold in the whites one-quarter at a time, being careful not to deflate the mixture.  Divide the batter evenly between the pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Run a table knife around the inside of each pan and carefully turn the cakes out onto the rack.  Turn them righ side up and cool completely.

Hold the palm of one hand against the top of each cake layer and, using a long serated knife, cut it horizontally in half.  Place 1 of the layers on a serving plate.  Spread the top with a scant 1/2 cup of the raspberry curd, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the edge.  Place another cake layer on top and spread it with a scant 1/2 cup raspberry curd in the same way.  Repeat with another layer, using the remaining raspberry curd, and top with the remaining layer.

To make the frosting:  Beat the butter and zest with an electric mixer on medium speed in a medium bowl until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the lemon juice and beat for 1 minute longer.

Frost the cake with lemon butter frosting.  Cut into wedges and serve with the raspberries on the side if using, or store in a cool place until ready to serve.

Raspberry curd:
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
Two 1/2-pints ripe raspberries or one 12-ounce package frozen raspberries, thawed
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the raspberries, egg yolks, sugar, and salt and cook, mashing the berries and stirring frequently at first and them constantly at the end, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture through a coarse strainer set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Cool to room temperature; the curd will continue to thicken as it cools.  Stir in lemon juice to taste.  Refrigerate, covere, until ready to serve, or for up to 1 month.

Source:  adapted from Luscious Berry Desserts by Lori Longbotham, found at notes from my food diary

thoughts: in my haste that night and trying to make two of these cakes, and using 8×8 square pans, my cake ended up too dry. I also forgot to cut the top of the cakes off of one of my cakes so i ended up with a lopsided looking cake. there’s probably some really simple/accurate way to level and split cakes in order to have a gorgeous result, but it eludes me at the moment. i think if this cake was moist it would have been delicious. i really enjoyed making the raspberry curd, especially since i’d never made curd before. it was surprisingly easy and really tasty. i don’t know how to frost a cake either so i had a bit of trouble there too. all in all, one day i will remake this cake and do it justice by making it correctly.

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