Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Curd and Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Fluffy Cake Batter!

I must start this post with a confession. I completely forgot to take a picture of the completed cake. It may have been partly due to the fact that I iced it when it was way too hot (yes, it was awhile ago that I made this and I keep blogging other things instead of catching up) and it was therefore not very pretty but I should have at least made sure to get a picture of inside the cake so you could see how pretty it looked to have the delicious raspberry curd layered between the fluffy lemon poppy seed cake. And then you could also see the fun flecks of vanilla bean in the buttercream. Instead you will have to picture it in your head! I have the pics of the building the “dam” to hold the curd in, and I have pictures of how I used the 2nd “layer” as a separate cake that I just piled high with raspberry curd & no buttercream but that is it. Oh well. This will have to do!

The important thing is actually how good it tasted anyways! The lemon was perfectly fluffy & lemony without being over powerful and the raspberry complimented it perfectly. And the buttercream had the sweetness to contrast with the sour of both the lemon and the raspberry. And more importantly, my friend’s lemon poppy seed obsession was quelled for a few days! We often have seminars at work that serve muffins and I have many coworkers that are seriously addicted to the lemon poppy seed muffin. Myself, I am quite loyal to the blueberry bran muffins but I understand that the lemon poppy seed ones are amazing. So for my friend’s birthday, I figured I had to make this cake!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

  • Beaten egg whites!

    2 1/3 cup flour

  • 2 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablepoons of lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  1. Grease cake pans: either one 13×9″ or two 8×8″ or two 9×9″ (I did one 9×9″ and one 7″ round and took them to separate parties that did not require big cakes!) Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds) in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter, sugar, lemon extract and lemon zest until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes).
  5. With the beaters on low add 1/4 cup of the milk, then half of the dry ingredients, the rest of the milk, and finally the rest of the dry ingredients.
  6. Fold 1/4 of the egg whites carefully. Next, fold in half of the remaining egg whites. And finally the rest.
  7. Bake 24-26 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack at least 15 minutes before removing from pan(s) to cooling rack.

Beautiful, delicious raspberries!

Raspberry Curd

Note: As mentioned above, I made this cake for a birthday and took the other “layer” to another party. For the second layer I made raspberry curd in the same way I made strawberry curd previously and it turned out almost as good.  Either one will work well – just depends if you want to use up those 5 yolks you just separated from the 5 egg whites above!

  • Bubblin' Curd! Let it thicken.

    8 Tablespoons of butter

  • 12 oz (1 pkg) raspberries
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add everything else while stirring.
  2. Mash the berries and continue to cook (stirring frequently) until thick, about 10 minutes.
  3. Strain into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Stir in 2-3 tsp of lemon juice.

Straining the raspberry curd

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons of cream or milk
  1. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter for 5 minutes on medium speed. The butter will become pale and creamy.
  2. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time while the mixer is on low. Add vanilla and then enough cream until desired consistency is reached.

    Prepping for the 2nd layer: build a dam and fill with the curd

  3. Beat on medium for 5 minutes.
  1. Slice cake layer in half.
  2. Pipe a “dam” of buttercream around the edge of the layer. Add the raspberry curd to the centre and spread out evenly.
  3. Cover with next layer of cake. Repeat if you are using two layers for a tall cake.
  4. Cover entire cake with the rest of the buttercream & decorate as desired.

The 2nd cake with just cake and curd! No icing...


Wedding #2: Cupcakes were on order!

Wedding treats!

So after the success of wedding #1, it was on to the easier and less stressful task of wedding #2 this summer. This bride, a friend of mine, wanted cupcakes and had requested chocolate with coconut frosting and whatever else I wanted to make. Well I already posted the chocolate-coconut cupcakes and the other ones I chose to make were a variation on the strawberry cupcakes I previously posted as well. I won’t repost the recipe but rather just some notes on them since they were actually what I called “Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes”.

My stacked fridge! It was hot so I had to make space!

Since the couple was aiming for a “desserts & appies” type of night, I figured cupcakes weren’t enough and made two other creations for the evening, which were Caramel Macchiato Whoopie Pies & the all time favourite Lemon Squares. Of course the Whoopie Pies will have to make an appearance on Let’s Make Whoopie rather than this blog! As for the lemon squares, well I think I will post a couple pics on here but I had a bit of a problem with the lemon squares… I made a double batch of them and therefore made two pans of them. Now here is the weird thing, when I went to cut up the first batch, the entire pan was “inverted”. So the lemon was on the bottom and the crust was on the top. The second pan of them was

about 80% completely fine but at the one end, the same thing had happened – crust on top! So so strange! I have no idea why this happened or what went on but I have found that other people have had the same problem! My only guess is that

upside down lemon squares!

you have to put the lemon filling in the crust while the crust is still hot (it is prebaked). Since I was taking forever to squeeze the lemons, I wasn’t ready with the filling when the crusts were done so they were able to cool. That is the only thing I can think that I did differently from the first time that I made the recipe and they came out PERFECT! So I will not post the recipe here until I know that it works perfectly. I still did take them to the wedding though – the ones that didn’t make nice squares because of the less-than-sturdy base weren’t served there and instead were flipped over, slightly smoothed and taken to my less-than-picky friends! They still tasted amazing but they didn’t look pretty!

More Cupcakes!

I got a little carried away with wanting to do lots of different designs! It was kind of fun but maybe two designs for each flavour would have been better! My favs are the little mini chocolate ones with the little orange rose, or the pink minis with the 2 orange apple blossoms or the ones that just look like big roses (see the pics below! There are big white ones and mini pink ones! I added glitter to them too 🙂 )

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Raspberry cupcakes: these were made using the recipe for the strawberry cupcakes found here but instead of strawberries, I used raspberries. 

Cheesecake Filling: I made a cheesecake filling (beat together 4 oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg , 1 tsp vanilla) and added a little less than 1 tablespoon to each cupcake prior to baking. The cupcakes don’t look nicely domed after and some end up a little odd shaped, but they taste good!

White Chocolate Buttercream: melt 6 oz white chocolate and allow to cool. Beat on low 1 cup room temp butter, 2 cups of icing sugar, melted white chocolate, and 3 Tb milk until combined. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

The tiered display

An assortment of minis!

My First Fondant Cake! Lemon Blueberry Delight!

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake with Lemon Curd and Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

The time had come: it was time to try fondant! I have been watching all the fabulous cake shows on the Food Network and TLC for years but I had never tried it myself. Once, I bought a small package with intentions to try it but never did get around to it! I am not sure if it was out of fear of the unknown or just laziness? I think partly I just didn’t quite know what to do with it! So finally after these many years of baking, I learned how to at the cake decorating class. I went a little wild with the colours and would maybe tone it down next time but it was fun! Generally I find that I need more colour than I would expect to get the colour I want so cake covering I added quite a bit only to find that the pale green that I was hoping for was instead an intense shade that made the cake look like a play-do creation! Oh well! I made the flowers all ahead of time (and I wanted them to be intensely coloured) so it was just a matter of putting it all together.

The completed cake

I have to confess, by the time I was done, I wasn’t sold on fondant cakes. I do like how perfectly smooth the cake can look and some of the fun things you can do with it, but I sort of like the more rustic look of piping icing. And there is something fun about piping that you just don’t get from using cutters for flowers. Maybe this also stems from the fact that I don’t really like making cut cookies – the rolling, the cutting, the re-rolling, more cutting, the sticking, the flour everywhere… and on and on. It gets kind of irritating by the end so fondant flowers seem to feel about the same (except you feel like you have shortening everywhere instead of flour!)

One delicious slice! Because the cake was so moist and there was so much amazing curd, the cake started to collapse a bit almost as soon as it was cut.

For the cake itself, I went with a recipe from one of my new favourite blogs. I say “new favourites” when in reality I have just recently actually started following people’s blogs more. I had used recipes from blogs before but I have never actually subscribed to any or frequently checked any one in particular. Anyways, my new favourite one for phenomenal cakes is Sweetapolita. She makes these amazing looking cakes with beautiful layers and takes gorgeous pictures of each of them. Although I am pretty sure my cakes taste as fantastic as hers, I need to learn a lot from her about taking pictures! Mostly I have figured out that I need some white kitchenware! And I need to pay attention to the backgrounds that I use to take the pictures. Although I took the pictures of the process at home (at night… with a light bulb burnt out), the final product was only photographed at work so there wasn’t too many options for backdrops!

Now onto the baking. As I said, the cake recipe is from Sweetapolita (slightly modified) and can be found here. It varies ever so slightly from a recipe found on Epicurious. I filled the cake with lemon curd. For the icing, I went with a Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream rather than my usual buttercream as often people find buttercream too sweet. I am going to say now that this was a delicious cake! Super moist and the lemon curd was amazing (although I already knew it would be!)

A little extra lemon!

No low fat here!

So to start: the ingredients. Normally I wouldn’t have whole milk but I bought some for baking purposes. Plus the full-fat sour cream and an organic lemon. I used to buy low fat only but have decided that if you are baking, what difference does it make if you buy low fat or high fat? It is DESSERT! May as well make it to its best!

For the Lemon Curd and the Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, I went to Martha… the recipes are adapted from her cupcake cookbook.

Here is how I did it – although you could definitely do it differently. I decided to make three 9″ layers and put blueberries in 2 of them while leaving the third just lemon. You could do 8″ pans and you could do just 2 layers as mine were pretty thin. With the cooled cakes, I then wrapped them tightly in Saran Wrap and put them in the freezer for awhile. I think this is supposed to make them so they aren’t as crumbly when you ice them. I left them too long though and so they were so cold that when I went to ice them, the buttercream went harder than I would have liked. Anyways, start with the bottom layer, then pipe a layer of buttercream around the outside to create a dam to hold the lemon curd in. Scoop in half the lemon curd. Top with your next layer and repeat the dam/lemon curd treatment. Top it off with your final layer and then ice the entire cake. From there you can decorate it however you wish! Like I said, I went with the fondant!

Dam & Lemon Curd on the first layer

Adding the Final Layer!

The iced cake ready for fondant

Lemon-Blueberry Layer Cake

Mmm... the delicious batter is ready!

  • 2 cups plus 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • ~1tsp lemon zest from one lemon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter (and use parchment paper if your pans stick frequently) three 9″ round cake pans.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) in a medium bowl.

    The blueberries & flour

  3. In another bowl, put your washed blueberries and then add 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture and stir to coat them. This keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the pan I think!
  4.  Stir together milk, sour cream, extracts and lemon zest. It doesn’t matter if it is perfectly mixed though.
  5. In a stand mixer (or with hand beaters), beat butter briefly and then add sugar. Beat a few minutes until pale yellow and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until well combined.
  6. Mix in flour mixture alternating with milk mixture. Add the flour in 3 batches and the milk in 2 (so add flour, then milk, then flour, then milk, then end with flour). Mix until just combined.
  7. Gently fold in blueberries (I divided my batter into 3 and added the blueberries to only 2/3 as mentioned above but you can do it as you wish).
  8. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick poked into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Cool cakes in pans on racks for 10-20 minutes and then remove from pans to cool completely.

The layers ready for baking!

The baked layers - cooling beside my cat oven mitt! I am not a crazy cat lady, I just like to pretend!

Lemon Curd

  • 2 whole eggs plus 8 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (or mix of fresh and bottled)
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter, room temp, cut into small pieces
  1. Combine eggs, yolks, sugar & lemon juice in a bowl of a double boiler. Set over simmering water.
  2. Cook whisking constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  3. Remove from heat and add the butter a few pieces at a time. Stir well between each addition.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap – pressing it directly against the surface to prevent a film from forming – and refrigerate several hours.

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Note: Sweetapolita has some great tips for Swiss Meringue Buttercream 

  • 1 cup + 2 Tb sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cups unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd
  1. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, heat the sugar and egg whites. Whisk while heating until 140°F. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
  2. Whip the meringue by beating on low to start, until foamy, and then increasing the speed. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form and the mixture is cooled completely (test by touching the outside of the metal bowl). This takes about 10 minutes.
  3. Mix in the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Beat between each addition until the butter is fully incorporated.
  4. Don’t worry if it looks kind of curdled during the process, keep beating as it will come together at the end.
  5. Beat in the extracts and lemon curd.
  6. To finish, switch to the paddle attachment and beat a few extra minutes to reduce air bubbles.
This can be stored in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Just bring it to room temp again and give it a few beats to fluff it up nicely.

Lemon Blueberry Cake Delight!