In my college years, I started every morning getting up with just enough time to get my books and things together for the day, get dressed and drive to campus just early enough to pick up a latte and muffin at one of my favorite stands then sit in my first class for about a half hour before class actually started in the complete silence of the room and the building, pouring over a crossword puzzle in a book that I always carried while enjoying my coffee and muffin. It was the best way to start each day.
Unless of course, I had to last minute cram for a test or quiz… then I would have to forego the crosswords… but I loved that every morning, the most important decisions to start my day came down to which of the three lattes that I love do I have that morning and which kind of muffin? And no matter how early I got to the coffee stand, almost always, there were no more lemon poppyseed muffins left! What was going on? Everyone that frequented these coffee stands just had a thing for lemon poppyseed? Did they not appreciate any other flavors of muffin? Either way, it was rare day when I could get one of those, so I usually went for an caramel apple or banana nut. Then I would usually eat just the muffin tops, unless I was hungrier than that because the muffin tops are the best part. Doesnt everyone know that?
lemon zest sugar... the best way to incorporate zest into your baked goods! Rub a dub dub!
Since I have graduated and left my college town, it is a rare thing that I get a muffin with my coffee anymore – maybe not the first year out of college, when I was still working a full-time job that often began early in the morning, but as we left Seattle and certainly after moving to England I can’t find a coffee stand to save my life. And I’m not counting Starbucks people, I’m a true Seattle-ite! I need my flavored latte! And done right, made with a good coffee bean! I don’t know what it is about Seattle, but it is really hard to find a good latte or cup of coffee outside of Seattle. And I know my fellow Seattle-ites would agree with me here… even in the continental United States, it’s hard to find a good espresso stand!
It makes me both sad and proud of what I consider my “hometown,” being a Navy brat,… that’s saying a lot! Of all the places my family have lived over the years, and all the places I have been with my husband since marrying him with his own career in the military, Seattle and Virginia have made the largest impressions on me. Something I am very proud of. In fact, this post is not only hilarious but a kind of “inside joke” that true Seattle-ites can appreciate!
Back to the muffin,… in loving memory of my coffee and muffin punctuated college days, I decided to make lemon poppyseed muffins! I found one recipe that suggested making a simple lemon syrup to pour over the finished and cooling muffin or cake to give it a bit more zing and ensure a super moist cake – so I did just that with a recipe I had been eyeing for awhile. And since I am always seeing pretty bundt cakes with a drizzling, shiny white glaze I thought – why not? I had made a great lemon glaze to dip my zucchini cake muffins in and being perfect on those, then it would certainantly taste good on this one too!
I’m happy to say that the first bite, with a well-prepared cup of tea hit the spot, so to speak. I was happy with the tiny blue-black balls of poppyseed shining through a ridiculously sunny, cakey interior (I rubbed the zest into the sugar…I suggest you do the same) but I would leave out the lemon syrup. It seemed to make the bits that really got soaked well with the syrup rather bitter with a sharp bite which is unusual since it started out as a very sweet syrup. But other than that? Amazing!
Again, we made it in the middle of the night, so the husband unit awoke to a delicious lemon poppyseed cake and Mei gobbled up her share and shared the last of my tea that had gone cold once she had finished. I’m not a proponent on giving children under ten soda or caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee but I give into that sweet face and give her my milk laden, last couple sips of tea once it is stone cold and it’s a little ritual after our midnight snack that we both love… don’t you love moments like that?
Ingredients for Cake:
- 85 grams unsalted butter
- 245 grams caster sugar
- grated zest of one lemon
- 15 grams poppy seeds
- 165ml whole milk
- 235 grams cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 egg whites
- 1-3/4 tsp vanilla
- 1 whole egg
Ingredients for Simple Lemon Syrup:
- juice of one lemon
- 50 g sugar
Ingredients for Lemon Glaze:
- juice of one lemon
- 250 g powdered sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
Cream the butter, sugar, poppyseeds and zest in a bowl. If you would like to take the extra step of rubbing the zest into the sugar, do it before you cream these four ingredients together.
Slowly add the milk to this mixture, beating well.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three stages, beating well after each addition.
In a separate, clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold it into the cake mixture and pour into the greased and floured mold, baking for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and the surface springs back when touched.
Make the lemon syrup while the cake is baking, reducing half of the liquid and until thickened.
Remove the cake and spoon the syrup over it while still in the mold and warm. Cool in the mold for 10-15 minutes. Turn out on a wire rack and let cool.
Make the glaze and pour the glaze over the cake, allowing the glaze to drizzle over the sides, top with more poppyseeds if desired.