Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend Loafing: Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Yogurt Cake


I must confess, I have a weakness for Meyer lemons. The floral scent! The sweet juice! I nearly squealed when I spotted them at Whole Foods on Saturday.

I really try to buy only local produce, but I simply cannot resist these, even if they come from whatever faraway place (must be paradise.) I love them squeezed into salad dressing instead of vinegar, I love them mixed with fish or shrimp and avocados, I love them in a glass with seltzer, and pretty much any way they can be eaten/smelled/enjoyed. When it's winter (which it is becoming, fast) you just need a little citrus pick-me-up.

Since I spotted cheap poppyseeds in bulk at an Indian grocery this morning, I knew that the second half of my prized Meyer lemon would have to appear in dessert. (The first half did its duty in arugula salad.) This delicately lemony loaf cake would also be a treat with raspberries (or raspberry sauce) on top, if you happen to have any in your freezer. Don't skip the glaze, though, it gives an essential infusion of citrusy brightness. If you have extra lemons you could make the glaze all-lemon. I didn't, so the glaze was a three citrus mix.

If you are a tea-taker, or a cake-for-brunch eater, this loaf would work for that, too.


Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Loaf
Adapted from Ina Garten and Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
one small container Fage Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated citrus zest (I used Meyer lemon and clementine)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 T poppyseeds
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed citrus juice (I used a mix of Meyer lemon, clementine, and lime juice)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 3/4 cup sugar, the eggs, oil, lemon zest, 1 T lemon juice, and vanilla. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, making sure it's all incorporated. Fold in the poppyseeds. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup citrus juice and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to thicken slightly. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the glaze over the cake and allow it to soak in. (Deb suggests using a pastry brush works great for this, and making tiny holes with a toothpick to draw the syrup in better). Cool before serving.

Note: I'm sure you could use whole-milk yogurt to great success. But isn't nonfat Greek yogurt miraculous? Such density and richness.

6 comments:

Heather said...

this looks lovely. lemon and poppyseed is such a classic and delicious combo. i always have trouble when baking with yogurt - rising too much, not enough... but i'll have to try this one :)

informalblathering said...

This reminds me of a bread my family used to beg me to bake for every occasion when I was growing up. It was from the Babe meatless cookbook (yeah, the pig from the movie) and it was actually really good. I've never baked with yogurt, though I've been meaning to, so maybe I'll have to try this one.

Steph said...

I've had two failed attempts at yogurt cake, but with some left over yogurt in the fridge and your pretty pictures, I will definitely have to bake another loaf when I have time.. which will probably mean, not until the christmas break!

erica said...

this sounds delicious. WHY did I leave NY?

EAT! said...

One of the favorite cakes in our house is a lemon poppy seed one. It is gone as soon as I take it out of the oven.

I'm going to make a few loaves of your recipe for holiday house warming gifts.

Laura Lutz said...

Oh, for heaven's sake, that looks amaaaaaazing. It almost makes me want to bake. And you can definitely consider that a HUGE compliment!