I had just returned from a week long stay at my hometown and had brought back with me a kilo of Kaji nemus – a variety of lemon found in Assam, the scientific name for which is Citrus limon – along with some other native stuff that is not available in my current city where I reside. In Gurgaon, we don’t get these lemons but we get lime instead which I am not too fond of. So, I didn’t quite mind when I had to pay 2K for the extra check-in baggage at the flight counter. 😀 This has got to be the most flavorful lemon I have ever tasted. Just a drizzle over our plain rice and dal (cooked lentils) and aloo pitika (mashed potato drizzled with mustard oil) is enough for a simple meal. It is commonly used in preparing the sour tomato-based fish curries which we natively call Masor tenga jhul. Another common use for it is in preparing the Nimbu Pani or Lemonade on a hot, summer day.
But I remember, during my childhood years, when my dad used to work as a medical officer in the Tea Gardens in Upper Assam, we used to have this customary High Tea spread on Wednesdays, when the club members would come over to the club to play Lawn tennis and other sport activities like Golf and Badminton, or even Table tennis, snooker, billiards and card games in the evening. This High tea spread was prepared by each club tea member on a rotation basis as defined in the circular. We used to wait eagerly for this spread to be served after we were hot, sweaty and ravenously hungry from playing Lawn Tennis. After sampling many tea spreads of members, we get to know the ones to anticipate a great spread from. And so, members would enquire about the caterer who would be offering the spread for the next Wednesday High Tea and would accordingly plan to either skip or attend it. 😛
My memory is getting faint here so I am unable to recall the exact names of the food items that were served for this High Tea, but I do remember that we would be eagerly waiting for the different varieties of home-baked cakes and one of these cakes used to be a Lemon Cake, which was surprisingly very refreshing and delightful to have on a hot and humid summer evening. Ofcourse, there would be the usual sandwiches, Kathi rolls, samosas and the Mayonaisse open sandwiches too and a whole lot of other items. Mom’s Mayonnaise was always a hit with the Tea Club members, I remember as not many ladies knew or cared enough to learn to prepare it properly.
My mother, although was a very popular caterer for the lunch and dinner spreads, I don’t really remember her doing much of baking. But, I do remember Dad baking cakes, cookies and cheese straws. I remember him baking this amazing Lemon cake with lemon zest and he had frosted and garnished it with lemon zest. I somehow loved the unusual taste of this cake. I guess my love for baking is inherited from him. 🙂
So, with the surplus of lemons and the brand new Bundt pan, I knew what I wanted to bake – a Lemon Cake!
I had saved this amazing Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake recipe from my favorite go-to blog, some days back with the intent of baking this someday. So, that day had come and I was excited!
I really enjoyed this entire process of preparing the cake batter as I was baking again after a fortnight. So, I took my time and eventually got very late for office but as no project was assigned to me yet, I could get away with it – this time. 🙂
It took me about 45 minutes to bake this huge cake and towards the end I had to cover it up with aluminum foil as it was browning while the cake was not completely done in some places.
A bite into this cake transported me back to that same day when Dad was baking this cake and I was tasting the left-over batter – that same incredible taste – wow! The poppy seeds add a little crunch to each bite which is kind of fun. And the wonderful health benefits of poppy seeds is an added plus point. 🙂
The original recipe included a lemon syrup and a lemon glaze but I skipped both as I felt just the cake by itself was enough – avoiding unnecessary indulgence. 😛
So, here is the recipe below:
Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
- 2 and 3/4 cups (343g) all-purpose flour (or simply use 3 cups cake flour and skip the cornflour)
- 1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- 1 cup (230g) butter, preferably unsalted, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- zest of 4 large lemons (about 1/3 cup, packed)
- juice of 2 large lemons (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, at room temperature (if you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tbsp of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to 1 cup measuring cup and add milk till it comes up to 1 cup)
- Place the oven rack at the lower third position and preheat the oven to 176-degree celsius. Grease the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan thoroughly with butter. Set aside.
- Prepare the cake batter: Sift the flour and cornstarch together into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and the poppy seeds. Set aside.
- Using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together fairly well. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Add the eggs and the vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Beat in the lemon zest and lemon juice.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition until just incorporated. Do not overmix. The batter will be slightly thick.
- Pour the batter evenly into the bundt pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cover the cake loosely with aluminum foil if you begin to see the top browning quickly. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes inside the pan.
- Invert the slightly cooled bundt cake onto a wire rack set over a large plate and let it cool further.
- You can store this cake by wrapping in a cling film and or slicing the cake and storing the cake slices in a tissue paper-lined airtight container. This usually keeps for 4-5 days at room temperature or you can keep it for longer in the refrigerator.
Hope you enjoyed this recipe and plan to bake this amazing cake soon before the winter arrives. I am sure you will want to make this more often. 🙂 See you till next time. Press the Like and share buttons to share this recipe with your friends. Do leave your comments in the comments section below.