I felt like baking something and had some homemade yogurt in the fridge that needed to be used up, so I decided to bake a cake. I had just bought some lemons to squeeze in my water, so I settled on a lemon cake. I usually make a Lemon Thyme Cake, but wanting to try something different, I decided to go with poppy seed. Then it occurred to me that the other day, while cleaning out my freezer, I realized that the cork on the bottle of Limoncello I was storing in there had leaked, so I took it out. That made me think to go with the Limoncello.
I washed my lemons very well - not crazy about the thought of wax and pesticides in my cake - and dried them equally well so they wouldn't gum up my microplane, then I zested all four of them. I used some of the zest and juice in the cake, then froze the rest of the zest and bagged the naked lemons to keep in the fridge for my water. Whenever I'm zesting citrus or chopping parsley, peppers, etc., I freeze them in snack-size zip-lock bags for future use. No need for water or ice cube trays like most people seem to do.
Because I had a box of cake flour on hand, I used that, but you can certainly use AP flour. The texture will vary slightly, but it won't have an adverse effect.
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temp
1 1/2 c sugar
4 T lemon zest
3 T Limoncello
1 c yogurt (or sour cream)
3 T poppy seeds
3 c cake flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3T sugar and 4T lemon juice for outside of cake
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
- Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated
- Mix in the lemon zest, followed by the Limoncello, poppy seeds, and yogurt
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed, then add to the wet mixture, a little at a time, until incorporated
- Pour into greased/sprayed bundt pan and bake at 350° for 55-60" until a toothpick inserted into the center [of the cake, not the hole in the pan ;) ] comes out clean
- Let cool for 10-15" in pan before turning out onto a cooling rack
- While the cake is cooling, heat together the 3T sugar and 4T lemon juice until the sugar has dissolved
- Brush the lemon/sugar all over the outside of the cake to soak in for extra flavor and moisture
- Serve plain, dusted with powdered sugar, with a dollop of mascarpone or creme fraiche ...