Don't be deceived. This isn't a lemon cake. This is a poppy seed cake. It has the nuttiness of the poppy seed, the crunchiness and the very distinct flavor. You may not think poppy seeds have much flavor because you're used to them being used sparingly. Well this cake is LOADED. No, overloaded with poppy seeds. So face it, if you don't like poppy seeds, you're not going to like this cake.
Honestly, I think it needs more lemon. Haha I first took a bite and expected the flavor of a lemon poppy seed muffin. Nope. Not even close. The original recipe calls for only 1 1/2 Tb lemon zest... I would add at least 2 Tb.
So, if this cake isn't anything to brag about why am I putting it up here? Well, it isn't one of my top favorites, but it was still good.
Plus the whole recipe structure is SO unique!!!
A cake comprised of a TON of egg yolks, equal parts flour, cornstarch and poppy seeds, as well as a whole cup of butter. Have you ever heard of such a thing?! It's madness. So, needless to say the texture of this cake is nothing that you have probably ever tried. And since poppy seeds aren't as ubiquitous in America as they are in Europe, the flavor is probably new to you too.
The recipe calls for an 8" bundt or tube pan. I used a 10" tube pan so it was done maybe ten minutes sooner. You have to play it by ear.
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2/3 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt (edited to add this)
2 sticks (1/2 pound or 1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
1/2 cup poppy seeds (I got this from one 3-ounce spice bottle)
Preheat the oven to 325°F Butter and flour an 8" fluted bundt or tube pan generously. (This cake very much wants to stick. Don’t let it!) Butter the dull side of a 10-inch piece of foil.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the sugar with the egg yolks and whole egg at medium-high speed until the mixture is pale yellow and very fluffy, about 8 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest. Sift the flour and cornstarch over the egg mixture and fold in along with the pinch of salt with a rubber spatula. At medium speed, beat in the butter, then beat in the poppy seeds.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and cover tightly with the buttered foil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the cake pulls away from the side of the pan and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the foil and let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely before serving, at least 30 minutes.