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Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

January 6, 2007

Makes 1 loaf cake

This is a special treat any time, although I love it for tea and have been known to eat it toasted for breakfast. Rose Levy Beranbaum, from whose book The Cake Bible I adapted this recipe, says, "This is perhaps my favorite way to eat pound cake!" Indeed, this one stays fresh for a long time because of the tangy syrup poured over.

The Cake
2¼ cups cake or soft winter wheat flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons grated or chopped, no white at¬tached, lemon peel
4½ tablespoons poppy seed
1¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon un¬salted butter, soft at room temperature
5 large eggs, beaten to mix
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup lemon juice

Grease and flour a 9- by 5- by 3-inch loaf pan, line the bottom with wax paper or parchment paper, grease the paper, and flour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make the cake: Sift together the flour, sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon peel, poppy seeds, butter, 1/3 of the beaten eggs, and the vanilla and mix together on the low speed of an electric mixer until moist. Turn up the speed and beat for 1 minute. Add another 1/3 of the eggs, scraping down the sides of the bowl, and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl again and add the remaining eggs, beating for 20 seconds more. Turn into the prepared loaf pan. Bake 1 to 1¼ hours, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Meanwhile, make the syrup: In a small pan combine the sugar and lemon juice over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove the cake from the oven and place pan on a wire rack. Prick top with a toothpick or needle, and brush top generous¬ly with the room temperature or warm syrup, allowing lots of it to run down and soak into the sides and bottom of the cake. Cool slightly in the pan before removing cake to rack to finish cooling. Wrap tightly with freezer plastic wrap or foil and let rest a day before serving. Will keep nearly 1 week at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

The cake freezes well.

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