MEYER LEMON CAKE WITH GINGER & POPPYSEEDS
MAKES 1 LOAF
I know that some people live lives in which it is possible to just walk out the back door and casually pluck a few perfectly ripe meyer lemons straight from the tree whenever the mood or the recipe calls for it. I, unfortunately, am not one of them. (And…this is the point at which I must remind myself that while swoon-inducing citrus may not be among them, the city outside my backdoor is nonetheless very good at satisfying all sorts of other cravings…)
But anyway, as I was saying, here in the 11231, meyer lemons are a rare treat — as in, one that causes a 5-minute interior monologue in the produce aisle of the fancy new grocery store, while the impulse-shopping devil on my left shoulder explains to the stick-to-the-list angel on my right shoulder why we really neeeeeed to spring for them at a dollar a pop. Because they are Just. So. Pretty!!!
Needless to say, the devil won this time. (Ok, she usually does.) But still, I did try to be restrained, and instead of dumping a dozen lemons in my basket, settled for 4. I didn’t have a plan, exactly, but after the success of the grapefruit marmalade last week — and since, um, it’s now almost gone — I was considering a variation on that theme. But then that pesky little devil piped up again and proclaimed: “Bor-ing!” (Now that I think about it, that devil sounds a lot like me when I was 15.) So the meyer lemon marmalade became meyer lemon cake with some leftover greek yogurt from breakfast, a nose-tingling sifting of ground ginger, and the poppyseeds I’d re-discovered when I was cleaning the pantry.
It was heavenly. No regrets here.
1 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated ginger
7 oz Greek yogurt
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for syrup
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons poppyseeds
zest of 2 meyer lemons, peeled and minced
1/3 cup meyer lemon juice (about 2 lemons) plus 1/4 cup for syrup
1. Heat oven to 350*. Lightly grease a loaf pan.
2. In one large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ginger. In another large bowl, combine the yogurt, 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, oil, zest, and 1/3 cup lemon juice. Whisk gently until combined. Then, little by little, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, working carefully until the mixture is just incorporated. Add the poppyseeds and stir. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes.
3. While the cake is cooling, combine remaining 1/4 lemon juice and tablespoon sugar in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup is clear. Remove from heat.
4. Using a toothpick, evenly pierce the top of the loaf 10-15 times, then pour the lemon syrup over top so that it drizzles into the crevices of the cake. Let cool another 5-10 minutes. Then, eat.