Tuesday, January 17, 2012

101 in 1001 #66

On Saturday, I realised that I hadn't done any baking since New Year's Eve. Okay, so it's only like two weeks - hardly the end of the world. But I felt the need to rectify the situation all the same. And for some reason, I got it into my head that I wanted to make a lemon and poppy seed cake, and put cream cheese frosting on the top.

For once, all my cookbooks failed me. The only lemon and poppy seed cake recipes they contained were for syrup cakes. And making a syrup cake without the syrup seemed risky. So I turned to the internet. The recipe I ended up using (which I've since lost the link for. I AM SO SMART, S-M-R-T!) said something at the bottom about how you could double the frosting recipe and use half of it to fill the cake. Which is how I ended up crossing #66 (make a filled cake) off my Day Zero list.

I've attempted to make filled cakes numerous times in the past, and they've always ended up looking something like this:

Clearly, my MS Paint skills are spectacular and Google failed me with decent pictures, and my cake cutting skills in the past have been...squiffy at best. (The candles were to make it look more like a cake and less like a cylinder with a crack in it.) Anyway, I figured it was about time to see if I could do any better. Oh, and technically, this recipe is for an orange and lemon poppy seed cake. It worked out much the same, really!

Here's what you'll need:

(Plus, 250g block of cream cheese, a ton of icing sugar, and some lemon juice for the icing, all of which I forgot to put in the picture. #FAIL)

Start with 1/3 cup of poppy seeds and put them in a small bowl:

Add 1/4 cup of milk:

And leave them to soak. Meanwhile, grease and line a 20cm round tin.

Chop up 125g of softened butter:

Add 1 cup caster sugar:

And cream them together.

Try not to just eat it with a spoon. Then zest one orange and one lemon:

Add the zest into the creamed butter mixture, along with 3 eggs, added one at a time. Beat in between each egg.

Then add in 2 cups of self raising flour (If you're doing what I did and using gluten free flour, don't dump it in like you would with regular flour. Because it will go EVERYWHERE)...

...1/2 cup of sour cream...

...1/4 cup orange juice (I juiced the orange that I'd zested)...

...and the milk/poppy seed mixture:

Beat it until it's just combined:

And then pour it into the tin.

Now, the recipe said to bake it at 160 degrees C for 40-45 minutes. I'm not sure if the recipe is CRAZY WRONG or if it was the gluten free flour that did it, but after 40 minutes, it was still about 40% liquid. I think all up, it took an extra 15-20 minutes before a skewer came out clean. So basically? Don't be surprised if it's not done after 40 minutes!

Here's the (FINALLY) cooked cake:

Let it cool for 10 minutes, then turn it out of the tin. Once it's cool, slice the cake in half. One of my cookbooks has a double page spread on cake splitting techniques. Considering how poorly I've faired in the past, I thought I'd avoid just using a knife. So I got some thread and used that instead. It took a bit of effort to get started, but after that it was SO much easier to keep it straight! And I imagine if you used dental floss instead of thread, it wouldn't be as hard to get going.

I'm not sure I'd use this frosting recipe again for reasons that will become apparent. But here it is anyway.
250g block of cream cheese, softened:

1 cup icing sugar:

4 tablespoons lemon juice:

Beat it all together. Use half as filling:

And half as icing, then sprinkle the top with poppy seeds so it doesn't look really boring:

Okay, the reason I wouldn't use this recipe again? It was INSANELY runny. I had to use an extra 1/2-3/4 cup of icing sugar just to get it to a consistency that would stay on the cake. Even then, it was kind of...custardy?...in texture. And then I had to transfer the entire cake to a cake carrier rather than just covering it with cling film because the ICING DIDN'T SET. EVER. So if I'd cling filmed it, the icing would have just stuck to the cling film and not the cake.

So I think in the future, I'd use a different frosting recipe. One that had at least a small amount of butter in it so that it would set.

ANYWAY. Despite the baking time debacle and the frosting dilemmas, this cake was pretty damned good. As evidenced by the fact that we demolished the entire thing in two days!

So there you have it. I'm pretty sure I'll be attempting filled cakes more often in the future!

K xx


  1. I just made a cream cheese frosting over the weekend and mine called for 1/2 cup of icing sugar, 1 T of lemon juice and 250 g of cream cheese and it set perfectly and was spreadable!

    So maybe just too much lemon juice?

    1. Yeah, I think the lemon juice may have had something to do with it... I might try making half the quantity of THIS frosting for the filling, and your frosting for the actual frosting (if that makes sense!) next time!

  2. Between the two of you, your readers are covered! I love anything with poppy seed. I might give this a go, not sure about splitting the cake though. I'd probably make a real mess of it!

    1. Now, now, Vanisha. If *I* can split a cake (I wasn't exaggerating in that Paint drawing!), then you can too! I HAVE FAITH IN YOU!!! Go - split a cake! Hell, even if you make a mess of it, it'll taste good so it doesn't matter that much ;)

  3. I don't even know what a lemon poppy seed cake would even taste like, but, um, I like cake!

    Also, using thread/dental floss is pretty genius.


    1. Lemon poppy seed cake tastes like NOM. You more commonly find it in muffin form. But in my opinion, muffins are just ugly cupcakes. And why make ugly cupcakes when you could make a cake?! ;)

  4. This looks great. I like the icing as filling idea.
    Question: what is a syrup cake?


    1. Yeah, I thought it was a pretty good idea too. I usually steer away from filled cakes because I'm not a huge fan of cream. And a syrup cake is where you bake a cake that's quite dry. Then you mix sugar and (in the case of a citrus-y cake) juice together. And then you slowly pour it over the top and let the cake absorb all the syrup. So it ends up really moist and delicious but without having to stress over whether it's cooked or not! (It was the dry part that made me hesitant to make a syrup cake without the syrup)

  5. Clearly the major success of this baking adventure was a BEAUTIFULLY EVEN FILLING LAYER, unlike your previous attempts (or so your doodle leads me to believe.)

    1. THANK YOU FOR NOTICING!! My doodle was (sadly) not an exaggeration. Your high five is much appreciated :D


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