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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mom/Baker: Why I rarely bake

Several days ago I decided to try out a recipe found in the Penzeys Spice Catalog, previously mentioned before in this post.  It was for a lemon poppy seed cake with berries. Now lemon poppy seed is one of my favorite cakes from childhood so I couldn't pass the recipe up. It was pretty simple and looked pretty in the magazine. It went together pretty easily, and got into the oven without any problem. Changes I made to the recipe included leaving out the poppy seeds and substituting blackberries for strawberries since that was the fresh berry I had on hand. I had meant for the cake to be poppy seeded but somehow between when I placed the baggy of poppy seeds in my cart at the grocery store and when I checked out they disappeared. The problem began with the baking. The recipe said to use a metal loaf pan not a glass one, but guess what, I only own glass loaf pans, so glass it was. Also the recipe said to place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the loaf pan, which I did not do, I just buttered the pan really well.  The recipe is pretty vague on times, it said anywhere between 55 and 65 minutes of baking time, so after 55 minutes I checked the cake and found it still really jiggly, so I baked it 10 more minutes. After 65 minutes of baking I checked the cake by inserting a knife into the center of the cake. It was still really wet, so I baked it 10 more minutes. After all of that the cake finally tested done but it had sunk in the middle! I pulled the cake out and cooled it for 15 minutes then tried to turn it out of the pan. It stuck on the bottom and when it finally did come out the edges crumbled. Still, the cake is delicious, moist and lemony and the berries add a nice sweetness. I will definitely make it again.

Lemon berry cake, you can see the edges crumbled, the blackberries sunk and the center of the cake sunk as well.
The problems with this cake reflect the reasons I rarely bake. I suck at it. Even basic recipes require much more careful concentration from me than their equivalent savory recipes. I can throw really good savory food together without much fuss, but baking takes me twice as long and often something comes out just slightly off. Not sure why I can't bake but luckily my mother is an expert baker. She can turn even basic dessert recipes into amazing things, plus she makes up her own recipes, which I would never dare do. Maybe like highlanders there can be only one baker per family?
Anyway, I suggest you try this recipe, perhaps yours will come out prettier than mine did.
Berry Surprise Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
1 1/2 cup AP Flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp. plain yogurt
1 1/2 cup sugar
6 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
2 large strawberries, washed dried and sliced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a metal loaf pan or bundt pan. If using a loaf pan, add parchment paper on bottom of pan.
Sift together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside. Mix milk and yogurt together in a separate bowl, set aside. In mixing bowl cream together butter, sugar and oil until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Begin adding dry ingredients and alternate with milk mixture until all is combined. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and poppy seeds. Pour half of the batter into the pan. Carefully layer the strawberry slices on top of batter and then top with remaining batter. Bake for about 55 - 65 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes and then turn out and cool completely. Serve with whipped cream and more fresh berries.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the compliment, honey but sometimes I even suck at baking. Like the first time I made zucchini bread and it was hard as a rock because I forgot the eggs!