Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Cake

As described in the book, Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum, this cake can be baked with or without poppy seed and I'm curious to try out the differences. I'm baking this cake using three of my miniature Bundt cake tins and made three different versions of this cake. One has all ingredients in this recipe, another has all except the poppy seeds and the third one has all but using the poppy seed only as the cake topping. 

These cake are very moist and delicious to eat but I reckon they are all too crumbly on their surfaces. Seeing that this recipe contains a large amount of butter and sour cream, I would assume that this cake would has a buttery and compact texture but I was wrong seeing that the cake is quite fluffy instead. As described in the book, the cakes did shrunk from the sides of the pan after removal from the oven, and I reckon this is causing the cakes to be quite crumbly on their surfaces as they withdrew themselves from their pan surfaces. 

For this reason, I reckon the cake that has the poppy seed topping has worked the best for me! Surprisingly, the poppy seed topping has make this crumbly cake easier to un-mold and it looks neater than the other two cakes. Despite all imperfect looks, all three different versions are all nice and buttery-yummy and the one with poppy seed incorporated is slightly different from others with its extra nutty texture. 

The each of us had a go to vote and choose to eat the cake that we prefer the most with our name tags. Not surprising, my son chose the best looking one and it's always mum and dad get the uglier-looking cakes! LOL!

I am baking these mini Lemon cakes for our bake-along with my two baking buddies, Lena, from Frozen wings and Joyce from Kitchen Flavours.



Here's the recipe from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
(with my minor modifications and notes in blue) 

Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake

Serve 12-14

2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
200g sour cream
1 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
250g cake flour or all purpose flour (I used cake flour which has 8% protein content)
250g superfine sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (replace by baking powder)
1/2 tsp salt
5 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
1/3 cup poppy seeds
200g unsalted butter

one 10-cup metal fluted tube pan coated with baking spray and with flour

Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C and set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.

In a medium bowl, whisk the whole eggs, yolk, 1/4 cup sour cream and vanilla, just until combined.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda (I didn't add this), salt, lemon zest and poppy seeds (See my note) on low speed for 30 sec. Add the butter and remaining sour cream. Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 min. The mixture will lighten in colour and texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Starting on low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 sec after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Using a silicon spatula or spoon, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small metal spatula.

Bake for 45-55 min or until a wire cake tester inserted between the tube and the side comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.

Shortly before the cake is finished, make the lemon syrup.

Lemon syrup

Makes 2/3 cup or 200g

Sugar 112g
Lemon juice 6 tbsp

In a large microwavable glass measure, heat sugar and lemon juice, stirring often, until sugar is dissolved. Do not allow it to boil. Cover it tightly to prevent evaporation.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack, poke the cake all over with thin skewer, and brush it with one-third of the syrup. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 min. Invert it onto a serving plate. Brush the top and sides of the cake with remaining syrup. Cool completely and wrap tightly.

Using 1/3 of the recipe, I've divided the cake batter into 3 portions. I've incorporate 5g of poppy seed in one portion, sprinkled 2g of poppy seed into another cake tin as cake toppings and kept the last third of cake batter with no poppy seeds. I've baked 3 mini Bundt cakes (each with 1 cup capacity) at 150°C fan forced for 30 min. 

Happy Baking
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Please note that the linky tool for bake-along is no longer available.


  1. These looks yummy ! That small imperfections can be covered up and the most important thing is still how it taste hahaha Love the cute card flags ;)

  2. Your cakes looks moist and fluffy! It was a hit in my house too, love the buttery texture! Your little tag cards are really cute, perfect with your cute mini bundts!

  3. i like the crunchiness of the poppy seeds in the cake and i'm glad that i did the lemon syrup for the cake giving it a more lemony taste..usually i tend to do the final part due to laziness! LOL! me too, like your poppy seeds ones as topping. haha! children always get the best looking ones!

  4. This cake not only yummy but it is cute with labeling...

  5. Ahh, I should have waited till you post yours before I bake mine, would have save me a lot of mathematical conversion time lol! Love your mine bundt versions and you are so creative! Love the card:D

  6. Mhmm I love lemon cakes! I actually made one a couple days ago, but I forgot to put poppyseed in it. I love how you have the poppyseed sprinkled on the top. Looks great.

  7. Like what i told Lena, I totally forgot about this cake. I have this book but yet to try any..next time next time..

  8. These lemon poppy seed cakes look so lovely! All three look fab especially the one with poppy seed & great idea with the cute tag cards. My teenage boys always WANT the best looking ones except when they don't have a choice & when all my bakes turn ugly! LOL Thanks for dropping my blog, I really appreciated it! :)

  9. Ooh I love the poppy seeds in this! And I absolutely adore the little labels you made! they just make the whoel thing look so much more personal and beautiful!

  10. Wow, I like the cakes & I love the little tags too! 1 for dad, 1 for mum......Looks like you are 1 perfectionist!

  11. I so like the little cakes for presentation! Lemon poppy seed is a classic favorite and yours do look tasty. I like how your experimented to see how different the texture and taste would be with or without the poppy seeds and again with them on top. Sounds like you as well as the family enjoyed this bake along!

  12. The cakes sound Yummy,i never use poppyseed in my cooking,I like on the salad dressing too,maybe i shoul have it sometime,the label are cute and Fun :)

  13. I'll take the one with the bunch of poppy seeds over the top please! I've always loved a good lemon and poppy seed cake. It's also one of the first cakes I learnt to make. Of course I'm hoping I'd have improved a lot more since :D

  14. Very lovely looking bakes, as I commented on Lena's blog, they are too cute to be eaten :)

  15. I love lemon and poppy seeds - either in the middle or on top! these look SO delicious!
    mary x

  16. Looks crunchy n soft inside..yummy ,loved the tags!!

    Erivum Puliyum

  17. Good experiment. Must try this but need to get some sour cream first.

  18. I love citrus flavours in bakes. The cake looks great.

  19. Love those mini pans I have been looking at them when I go to Homesense. Great recipe.

  20. This post has reminded me that I have poppy seeds to use! lol

  21. first time here.... glad to follow you .... very lovely blog ...very yummy cakes ..they look great... visit my blog

  22. what a great flavor for a cake! love this!

  23. Awww...those tags are so cute!! I've always wanted mini bundt pans- they're so pretty and cute too :D Your cakes looks really delicious too- it's so light and fluffy! :)

  24. I have the book and this cake looks interesting. I have only used poppy seeds in lemon cookies and in breads. I would love to make it, time allowing.

    To answer your question about Bake with Bizzy, a new one is opening tomorrow at 4. Each week, there is a new Bake with Bizzy. Thanks for asking about this.

  25. I love lemon cakes, and I love mini bundt cakes! These are adorable and sound so tasty.

  26. Love your mini cakes! My daughter loves lemon poppyseed cake so I need to make these for her :) Yummy!

  27. I would like the one with poppy seeds. I need more lemon recipes I should really make this moist cake!

  28. I love that you tried three different versions of this cake...such a great idea and a great way to experiment. Personally, I think I'd love the one with the poppy seeds inside. I love little "pop" with every bite of the seeds!

  29. Congratulation Zoe! An award is waiting for you at my blog! Have lovely day! :)

  30. They all look good to me, but I guess I will enjoy the one with poppy seeds in it the most!

  31. These are so cute... I love the mini Bundt tins! :-)

  32. Love your cakes as well as the moulds! hehe... They are great!

  33. Awww the cakes are so cute and so delicious-looking! Love the way you present the cakes!

  34. They look really delicious! I love lemon poppy seed cakes!