Easter Lemon and Poppy Seed Loaf

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When life gives you lemons you don’t make lemonade, you make a lemon and poppy seed loaf with added lemon for oomph. Duh.

Before I go on I can’t take full credit for the recipe. This is from the fantastic Hummingbird bakery book – one of my favourites, with an added Easter twist of my own. (Check out my top tips below)

Ingredients
For the Sponge:

190g unslated butter
190g plain flour
190g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1tsp baking powder
4tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp lemon zest
25ml whole milk
80g ricotta cheese

For the soaking syrup:

Juice of 1 lemon
50g caster sugar

 What to do:

  1. First preheat the oven to 170˚C/325˚F/Gas mark 3.
  2. Then grease the loaf tin with butter.  Then in a mixing bowl cream together the butter and caster sugar. I’d suggest using a hand-held electric mix for the best result, plus it saves so much time and arm ache.
    Continue to mix, adding the eggs one at a time and mixing well between each addition.
  3. Seperatly, sift together the flour and baking powder before mixing in the poppy seeds and lemon zest (see top tips below).
  4. Proceed to mixing the dry ingredients into the wet in three batches, adding the milk after the second batch. Then mix in the ricotta cheese until the batter is smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and pop it into the oven for 50-60mins (quite a long time I thought, but works a treat!). Check with a skewer to be sure it’s properly cooked through, just incase.
  6. Whilst the loaf is baking, add the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan with about 100ml of water and bring to the boil, allowing the mixture to reduce around a half.
  7. When the cake is cooked and hot, pour the syrup mixture over it allowing it to soak into the sponge. Leave the loaf to cool for a while before turning it our of the tin and letting it cool on a wire rack.

At this point I was tired so decided to take a break and resume decorations the next day. This was a bit of a regret because I actually didnt have much time and ended up rushing around like a chicken. When will I learn?!

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For the topping: 

I won’t be putting down ingredients and a method for this because it would only be a disappointment. I was hoping for a cream cheese frosting, I’m not sure what I ended up with but there were obvious signs of issues.

I didn’t have time to change it so on the loaf it went, followed by a bag of Mini-eggs to distract from the icing and hide what I could. That seemed to work quite well thank-goodness!

 

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I’m pleased to say the loaf was a hit, and it was up against some pretty good looking cakes and cheesecakes too.

Top Tips:
For the lemon zest do not, I repeat, DO NOT use a soft squishy lemon. It just doesn’t work. I think I could have grown a lemon in the time it took me to get about a spoonful of zest. A firm lemon is the way to go.

Luckily I had both so it took me an hour on the squishy lemon and 10 seconds on the other.

It doesn’t take a genius, but having not followed my own advice already it feels worth saying, follow the recipe. I took a more ‘wing it’ approach to my icing because I know the gist of making it. Annoyingly the butter didn’t smooth out and I was left with a lumpy coating – not a good look. Note to self – find a recipe and use it.

Final top tip – toppings. I love how toppings can make a cake go from a tasty 7 to a full on amazing 9.5 if not a 10 depending what toppings you go for.

As it was Easter I chose Mini eggs. I love how their pastel colours work so nicely with the loaf.

 

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