Today, we are celebrating my dad's birthday. He turns 60 next week, but since this week is the only time that people are free for Sunday dinner, we are celebrating it early. Right now, the men are sitting around the table enjoying their drinks and the women are taking care of business in the kitchen. All are having a good time, laughing and sharing stories. Sometimes the random bursts of roaring laughter are so loud I can't hear whatever I'm watching online so I have to rewind.
Finding flavors that my parents will enjoy is difficult. My dad has a sweet tooth, but he has picky taste buds. My mom doesn't like chocolate too much. But I needed this to be special. While browsing my cake bookmarks, I noticed that lemon poppy seed made a frequent appearance. It seems like an unusual flavor for a birthday cake, but I like to make something different from the traditional.
This cake had to feed 15+ people. The usual two-layer round cake was not enough. My mom also suggested I make it look big and festive, so I decided to make a 9x13 with two layers. I doubled the recipe for the cake and the frosting, but not the raspberry curd. I would maybe even triple the frosting next time because I was barely able to frost the cake. It wasn't the prettiest cake I've ever made. The curd made the cake slip and slide all over the place so I had to adjust it constantly, but when I did that, the curd oozed out of the sides. That ended up staining the frosting, but I had enough to fix that at least--thank goodness.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to use this cake when we sang Happy Birthday, but it still got eaten by the guests and they all enjoyed it! I love the lemon flavor in the frosting. And the poppy seeds spread throughout the cake is so pretty. I don't know how I feel about the raspberry curd. On it's own--not my favorite. But it is a nice addition to the overall flavor of the cake. Without the frosting or the curd and a little less sugar, this cake by itself would be a great breakfast or snack.
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Curd Filling
From Fake Ginger
- 2 1/3 cups cake flour
- 2 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk
For the raspberry curd
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 pint ripe raspberries or 1 12-oz package frozen raspberries, thawed
- 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 to 3 tsp fresh lemon juice
For the lemon buttercream frosting
- 16 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
- 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Fresh raspberries, for garnish
1. To make the cake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a bowl; set aside. In the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat just until stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted. Transfer the egg whites to a separate bowl, clean the mixer bowl and reattach it with the paddle attachment.
3. Add the butter to the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated. Mix in the lemon zest. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add 1/4 cup of the milk and beat until just blended.
4. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the remaining milk in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat until just blended.
5. Using a rubber spatula, fold one quarter of the egg whites into the batter, being careful not to deflate the mixture. Once incorporated, add in the rest of the whites and gently fold in until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the outside of pans and gently turn the cakes out. Allow to cool completely.
6. To make the raspberry curd, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the raspberries, egg yolks, sugar and salt, and cook, mashing the berries. Stir frequently at first and then 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. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
7. Layer the rounds with the cooled raspberry curd. Once layered, allow the assembled cake to cool in the refrigerator to help them set. In the meantime, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and zest on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the lemon juice and beat for one minute longer.
8. Frost the chilled cakes with the lemon frosting. Garnish with fresh raspberries as desired.