Thursday, 9 December 2010

Lil' Lemon Poppyseed Cakes

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I have a whole heap of egg whites lying around at the moment. The freezer's full of them, the fridge has about 5 containers, each carefully labelled up with number of whites and the date. Despite loving meringue a lot, I had to find another use for them!! (As an aside, I did try macarons, but I'm going to make those a few more times as they're far from photogenic at the moment!). The reason for so many whites? The ice cream maker we were given as a wedding present! Loooooooove it. So awesome and much easier to use than I thought it would be. But this isn't about ice cream - I'll save that for another day (when I've mastered the art of taking photos fast enough that the ice cream is still frozen and not a strange looking puddle). This is about little lemony wonders that are light and a little springy but still moist and cakey. Really yum, in short! And, most importantly, use egg whites.

The original recipe puts the mix into a large ring mould. But I'd just purchased the cutest of mini moulds so decided to test out how well it worked in miniature. Plus everyone knows that cake tastes better when it's dainty. Actually, that's a lie - I'm a firm believer in HUGE slices of cream cheese-laden carrot cake, but it's nice to pretend I'm lady like once in a while!
I would bet this cake mix would work well in almost any cake tin - just adjust the baking times accordingly. I'd also think this would work with oranges or limes too, so there's plenty of flexibility to experiment as you wish. Just whatever you do don't forget the glaze and icing - super easy but it transforms these little bites from a perfectly nice cake to a moist, flavourful treat with just the right citrussy punch.
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Enjoy! Rosy x

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

55g unsalted butter, room temp
190g caster sugar
grated zest 1 lemon
10g poppy seeds plus extra to decorate
110ml whole milk
160g plain flour
1 1/3 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 egg whites

Lemon Syrup
juice and zest of 1 lemon
50g caster sugar

Lemon Glaze
juice of 1 lemon
250g icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 170C/325F. Prepare your chosen tin - I just lightly greased my silicon moulds but regular tins should be greased and dusted with flour. The original recipe calls for a ring mould which looks so pretty in their pics!

Put the butter, sugar, lemon zest and poppy seeds in a stand mixer and beat until well incorporated. Slowly add the milk and beat well - it might look a little split but not to worry, it'll turn out fine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture in about 3 batches and give a quick beat to make sure it's all incorporated and nice and fluffy.

Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold (using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, NOT a wooden spoon) into the cake mixture. Fold carefully until just mixed - you don't want to loose too much air.

Spoon into the tin(s) and smooth. Bake until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed. Little cakes, about 15-18mins. The ring mould apparently takes 30mins.

Lemon Syrup
While the cake is baking, pop the lemon juice, zest, sugar and 100ml water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over a low heat. Raise the heat and reduce by half, until a thin syrup consistency is achieved. When the cakes are out of the oven and still hot, pour over the tops. I poked a few holes in the cakes with a skewer to help the absorption along a bit. Leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Lemon Glaze
Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small bowl until smooth. It should be thick but pourable - add a little water if it's too thick or a little sugar if too thin until the correct consistency is achieved. When the cake is cool, place on the serving plate and pour the glaze over, allowing to run down the side. Finish with a light sprinkling of poppy seeds.