You know those cloudy, dreary, sometimes wet days that come with springtime? The ones that leave you wanting to snuggle on the couch with a blanket all day?
We’ve been having a few of those here lately. I’m thankful – we desperately need the rain – but it doesn’t mean that I don’t wish for sunshine as well. But when the sunshine won’t come from outside, we have to make it ourselves. And what better way than to make something with lemon?
I had a gorgeous large Meyer lemon in my refrigerator, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to become something great. Apparently, it was destined for cake. Not a fancy, extravagant cake, however. This lemon wasn’t destined for a birthday or a holiday. Instead, it was destined for something humble. You can make this cake anytime it feels dreary out and you’d like to brighten someone’s day. It’s an “everyday” cake – the type my grandmother often bake when we would come visit, so we had a special treat to enjoy after lunch. It’s not too sweet, and there’s no fancy frosting or layers. But there is a light lemon flavor, the pop of the poppyseeds, and a tender, moist crumb. It’s also great with an afternoon tea, or even for breakfast.
In my mind, it’s a happy-making cake. And on any spring day, dreary or otherwise, who couldn’t use a little happy?
Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Poppyseed Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free)
2/3 c sweet white rice flour (I like Mochiko)
2/3 + 2 T c superfine brown rice flour (I like Authentic Foods)
2/3 c tapioca starch
1 T baking powder
1/4 t kosher salt
1 1/2 t unflavored gelatin (I like Great Lakes)
2/3 c milk (dairy or non-dairy variety of your choice)
1/2 c olive oil (any variety)
1 t vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temperature
1 c + 2 T granulated sugar
1 T Meyer lemon zest (from one large or two smaller Meyer lemons)
1/3 c Meyer lemon juice (from one large or two smaller Meyer lemons)
1 1/2 T poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9-inch round cake pan and dust with brown rice flour. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, and gelatin.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, olive oil, vanilla, eggs, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until well-blended and a bit frothy.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until smooth. Add the poppy seeds and whisk again.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Rap the pan against the counter once or twice to prevent bubbles in the cake. Place on center rack in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it.
Remove and let cool on a wire rack. Can serve slightly warm.
Makes one 9-inch cake.