Best dessert of your life – go! For a sweet-lover like myself, you might think it’d be hard to choose between the tiramisus, the French silk pies and the eclairs of the world. But you’re wrong here. My heart belongs to one dessert and one alone: Delicately Delicious’s almond poppy seed cake. I don’t know how this bakery does it, but they make the lightest, fluffiest whisper of a cake, and I can’t get enough.
I also literally cannot get it enough. I never get to the bakery on time for a slice. What’s a girl to do? Turns out a girl just makes it her damn self.
And that turned out to be quite the task, but one totally suited for my Great American Baking Resolution. It seems the world doesn’t really make this kind of cake. The internet let out an exasperated did you mean lemon poppy seed cake? every time I searched. Or Pinterest would cough up some halfhearted pound cake recipe. Not what I was looking for.
So I decided that not only would I have to make the cake myself, I’d have to create a recipe too. So I returned to Pinterest, pinned the recipe that looked most like what I wanted and went from there. What did I start with? A very pretty looking lemon poppy seed cake recipe that inconveniently used the metric system – horror of horrors to an American that’s not in the mood to use math.
What I ended up with was risky: inexact conversions, subtracting ingredients, substituting others, a higher baking temperature. Would it ever turn out?!
This wonderful, sweet cake turned out beautifully. Not quite as good as its professionally produced sister, but so, so, so close, especially for just winging it. And close enough that I consider this a real success 9/10 for sure. The cake is light and moist, just they way I wanted it. And it’s all topped off with Swiss meringue buttercream and some toasted almonds.
Now let’s get baking. Here’s what you’ll need for the cake:
- 3 cups flour
- 1½ cups sugar
- 15 tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp. buttermilk
- 5 egg whites
- 4½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. almond extract
- 3 tbsp. poppy seeds
Start by mixing the flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl mix your buttermilk and egg whites together. Set these aside for the moment.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and pale. Add your almond extract. Now alternate adding your dry ingredients and your wet until you have a nice, creamy batter. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of your bowl as you alternate to make sure every bit gets blended in.
Divide the batter between 3 8″-cake pans. Be sure that your pans are greased and lined with parchment or waxed paper on the bottom. Pop into a 325°F oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool briefly in the pans and then remove and cool on a wire rack.
And for the frosting:
- 8 egg whites
- 2½ cups sugar
- 3 cups butter
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
To make the frosting, place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water on the stove making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk the egg whites and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is about 160°F.
When that mixture has hit temperature, pour it into the bowl of your mixer and beat until room temperature using the whisk attachment. The mix should form soft peaks (this will take about 6-10 minutes). Then switch to your paddle attachment and gradually add in tablespoons of butter until the mix is creamy and frosting-y. Finally add your vanilla extract and you’re done!
I let my cakes cool overnight before frosting. I definitely recommend letting these cakes cool for a few hours. A touch of heat on that Swiss meringue frosting and it’s as good as butter. As for the actual frosting of the cake – I’m no professional. Just swipe it on there and smooth it out, though you could definitely use this frosting with a piping bag for some nice swirls and what-have-you.
She’s a beaut of a cake, and it’s a real shame that I didn’t take a picture of it sliced like a good blogger, but you live and you learn. Now I’ve gotta run and think about what my March baking challenge will be. I was thinking ganache in some way, shape or form. What do you think?