I love the look of this cake. It reminded me of a beautiful cake I once ate, made by an ex-colleague of Russian origin. It was her birthday and she treated us with 2 types of cakes. Strange but true, I could not remember what the other cake was, maybe because the lemon and poppy seed cake was uncommonly found in the bakeries in Belgium while the other one was too common? It has been 7 years since and the poppy seed cake remained steadfast in my head. Unfortunately, I never got round to getting the recipe from my ex-colleague 😦
I was searching the net for the recipe that once brought a smile to my face. Surprisingly, there are LOADS!!! So, it’s not so common, after all 🙂
Poppy seeds are relatively expensive and their association with opium does not make it a flattering choice of ingredient to use as direct consumption. Instead, I found a better substitute and it’s healthier and a lot cheaper! And not only that, I found the perfect recipe, thanks to Nicole Weston of Baking Bites.
Baking Bites opted to use chia seeds over poppy seeds and I thought that was a PER-FECT substitute, by the way! I have a plastic tub of 500g chia seeds in my kitchen pantry, which I normally used to sprinkle on my yoghurt, salads and soups. They are tasteless but are said to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and are also high in fibre, protein and other nutrients. In other words, chia seeds are packed with nutrional benefits, which I’m always opened to, id est, a supplement in its natural form.
Adapted from Baking Bites.com
(Note: the measuring cups used in this recipe are the US measuring cups)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used ANCO self-raising flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature (or ca 113g)
1 cup sugar (I used granulated sugar)
2 large eggs (I used 3 small eggs)
1 Tbsp lemon zest (of 1 lemon)
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (of 1 lemon)
1 cup plain, greek-style yoghurt (I used 2 tubs of 125g each)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
- Preheat oven to 350F (177C or ca 180C). Lightly grease a round cake pan and line the base with parchment paper (I used a 20cm diameter baking tin)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Stir half of the flour mixture into the lemon mixture, followed by the yoghurt and chia seeds. Stir in remaining flour mixture, stirring just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain and seeds are well-distributed throughout the cake.
- Pour batter into cake pan and spread into an even layer.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. (Note: the length of baking time depends on the type of oven you own. At 45 minutes, my cake was not set completely. I lengthened the baking time to another 5 minutes which turned out perfect)
- Allow cake to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the parchment paper, then reinvert the cake on the wire rack to cool completely.
Nicole Weston recommended dusting the cake with icing sugar. I’m totally impressed with the result!
Verdict: The usage of yoghurt as part of the cake ingredients, moistened the cake beautifully. The tartness from the lemon cuts through an otherwise overly sweet cake. Yoghurt and lemon go so well together and the chia seeds made a most wonderful substitute to poppy seeds. I loved the little black spots. It made a mundane-looking lemon cake into something more eye-catching 😉
Please give this recipe a try. For all I know, it’s a keeper!
Have a great week !