Poppy seed-studded baked goo
ds are a divisive subject. You’re either a lemon person or an almond person. For most of my life, I’ve been staunchly pro-almond. I’ve only recently come around to citrus in general, but it took me longer still to come around to lemon-flavored sweets. I’d still pick an almond
poppy seed muffin over a lemon one almost any day, but I’ve learned to appreciate the sweet and sour alternative. I’m an equal-opportunity poppy seed eater now. If it has poppy seeds in it, I’m on board. Do poppy seeds serve any purpose other than providing a delicate “crunc
h” with every chew? And getting stuck in your teeth?
Even if they’re just for show, poppy seeds sure do make for delicious muffins, cakes, and quick breads. This one included! The base is a simple lemon quick bread lightened up with greek yogurt, and I topped it off with a lemon-vanilla bean glaze that’s made with a little cream cheese. The glaze is totally optional, of course, but its sweetness—combined with the slight tang of the cream cheese—is a perfect complement to the tart lemon flavor. The cake itself has a dense crumb but isn’t heavy, and it’s super moist. And the glaze keeps helps to keep it that way. The beauty of quick breads like this is that they’re satisfyingly sweet, but also light—so you can enjoy a slice as a snack, for breakfast, or dessert. I do love a triple threat.
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
Adapted from Allyou
Yields 1 9×5″ loaf, 12 slices
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup nonfat greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- ¼ cup 1% or skim milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1½ tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ⅓ cup sifted powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- Splash 1% or skim milk (as needed)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with baking spray or line with parchment paper. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Using electric mixer, cream unsalted butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium-high speed until fluffy. Beat in greek yogurt until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in vanilla bean paste. Mix in dry ingredients alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in lemon juice and poppy seeds.
- Pour batter into pan and bake in center of oven until a tester inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Let loaf cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out onto rack. Cool completely.
- For glaze, combine cream cheese, lemon juice, and vanilla bean paste in a small bowl and stir until combined. Whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in a splash of milk if glaze becomes too thick. Pour over cooled cake.