Monday, May 10, 2010

Poppyseed cake a la Hugh F-W


This was Huge F-W's Poppyseed lemon cake recipe from Saturday's Grauniad. Let's get one thing completely clear; this cake is, comparatively speaking, a faff and a half to make. It requires no less than three bowls and a jug, where my usual cake recipe requires one bowl and a sieve. But... it's really worth it. So! Creaming butter and sugar, so far so normal. Mixing the flour & poppyseeds seperately, ok... then mixing the egg yolks with yoghurt. Uh, what? Then making meringue base with the whites... ah. Yes, this is a pretty complicated cake.


What made it worse was that the instructions said "add flour to the butter, then egg/yoghurt, then flour, then egg, then flour" and after putting the egg mix on the countertop I promptly knocked the second half of it over, covering the kitchen, me and my camera in glop. I had to guesstimate how much I'd already put in - it certainly wasn't an accurate half - and as any parent will tell you, a small bit of yoghurt can go a long way when it comes to making a mess.

The results, though. Oh, so worth it.


The acidity of the yoghurt with the bicarb and the egg whites both make this an incredibly light cake, with lots of air and a great texture. It could perhaps have done with ten minutes more in the oven at a slightly lower temperature (180C for 40-45mins said the recipe, I had it at 170 for about 50 and it would have worked with 160 for an hour), but it was very good nonetheless. The lemon syrup was fun, too; if you've ever tried to zest a lemon using a vegetable peeler you know it doesn't work (which is why I have a microplane grater) but the recipe wanted strips of peel, so I had to depith the zest. That worked but only because I have insanely sharp knives. The whole thing is really very tasty; the poppyseeds give great texture, the lemon is sharp and sweet, the texture is sublime. As the kids say, this cake is full of win.


So, give it a go! The cake really is worth it but I can't yet vouch for the keeping qualities claimed in the recipe because there's only half of it left.

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