It actually felt a little bit like winter here in California this week. And by that, I mean it rained and was below 70 degrees. The struggle is real. Anyways, I decided to make something bright and happy in my kitchen to balance out the gloomy weather. Yellow is a happy color, so that something was going to be lemony. I grabbed my umbrella, sprinted through the rain to the lemon tree on the edge of our property, then dodged the puddles back to safety with my lemon loot.
I’ve had a jar of poppy seeds sitting in my cupboard for a while (I honestly can’t remember what recipe I’d bought them for in the first place…) so I figured it was a good a time as any to experiment with them. Lemons + poppy seeds seemed like a good combination to fight the rainy day blues. Plus, Berney had been talking to me about the Costco lemon poppy seed muffins he used to eat all the time as a kid, so I think that was just stuck in my brain.
I’m okay with that though because this cake turned out super yum. So thanks, Berney.
My very favorite part about this cake is the little flecks of lemon zest you can see throughout each slice. I’m beginning to think I have a slight obsession with citrus fruit zest. It’s such a simple ingredient, but adds incredible flavor to a recipe. And it’s so pretty in baked things! I mean, just LOOK…
As with any cake, you want to make sure you don’t over-mix your batter. The more you stir, the more you develop the gluten in the flour. The more you develop the gluten, the more dense the cake becomes when baked. A dense cake is not what we’re looking for here. Yes, it will be less fluffy than angel food cake, but the texture definitely shouldn’t resemble a whole wheat bran muffin.
So just remember… Less stirring = less dense = yummier cake = happier cake eaters.
- 1 cup non-dairy milk*, minus 2 Tablespoons
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 Ener-G Egg Replacer egg (1 1/2 teaspoons egg replacer + 2 Tablespoons warm water)
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 4 Tablespoons vegan butter, room temperature
- 1.5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- splash of non-dairy milk* as needed for consistency
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line bottom of one 9” round cake with parchment paper and lightly coat sides with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the milk and lemon juice. Set aside to curdle for a few minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. It should look frothy by the time you are ready to use it.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. Add the curdled milk mixture, canola oil and egg replacer, and gently stir with a large wooden spoon only until evenly moistened. Do not over-mix. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Gently stir in the poppy seeds. Again, be careful not to over-mix.
- Spoon batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35-38 minutes until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, and then remove cake from pan and return to wire rack to allow to cool completely. (Optional: At this point you could wrap the cake in plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator overnight, and then frost the next day before serving.)
- While the cake cools, make the buttercream frosting. Using a stand or hand mixer (I used a hand mixer out of laziness) fitted with a whisk attachment, mix the butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth and creamy, at least 2 minutes. Add milk as needed to achieve desired consistency (I used about 1-2 Tablespoons). Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes to allow frosting to firm up slightly.
- Place the cake rounded-side-down (top-side-down) on a serving plate. Frost with buttercream as desired. If you like, top with fresh lemon zest before serving.
- *I used unsweetened original almond milk.
- Cake will stay fresh stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 4 days. Before serving leftover slices, remove cake from fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
- One 9" one-layer round cake
- (serving size = 1/10 cake with frosting)
- Calories: 322
- Fat: 11g
- Carbohydrates: 56g
- Fiber: 1g
- Sugar: 37g
- Protein: 3g
- Sodium: 295mg