The strawberries are in! The strawberries are in! These ruby hued jewels have heralded the arrival of beloved summer on our island. Yesterday was the first day for pick-your-own strawberries at one of the island's farms and we promptly made our way to their organic fields for our first taste of local berries this season. It was a beautiful foggy grey day and the mist rose up from the farm fields as we walked to the strawberry patch. Iley picked a few, but mostly ate a lot, and I was happily reminded of a favorite childhood read, Blueberries for Sal. But thankfully, no bears were involved in our picking adventure.
Midsummer (summer solstice) falls on this Sunday (June 21) and what more perfect way to celebrate the change of seasons than with fresh picked seasonal fruits and a cake, of course. I'm not gonna lie, I had a very bad failed attempt at making a pink cake with white chocolate ganache, which came out more like a "50 shades of grey" cake and cocoa butter soup. Yeah, it was looking pretty grim in the kitchen yesterday. Then I turned it around with my tried and true lemon poppy cake. It was a farmers market best seller and I'm happy to share it with you today! I usually make it with almonds, but Iley seems to have an aversion to them, so I omitted them here. If you want to add almonds, replace 1/2 cup of the flour in this recipe with 1/2 cup of ground almonds (almond meal).
Happy summer to you all! and happy picking!
Recipe after the jump...
Midsummer Lemon Poppy Cake
makes one 8" round cake
- 1 1/2 cup white whole wheat four (or whole wheat pastry flour)
- 1/2 cup fine ground cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt (optional)
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons ground flax seeds (flaxmeal)
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- zest from 1 lemon
- juice from 1/2 of lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla beans or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Cut an 8" diameter circle of parchment paper. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8" round cake pan and layer parchment round into bottom of pan. Dust sides of pan with flour and tap to remove excess.
In a large liquid measuring cup whisk together milk and flaxmeal until frothy and let sit while you prep other ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds. Add maple, oil, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla to milk/flax mixture and whisk wet ingredients together until incorporated.
Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir gently until evenly incorporated, do not over stir, some lumps are ok. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake on center rack for 40-45 minutes. Cake should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of cake should come out clean.
Transfer cake to cooling rack and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a butter knife along the inside edge of pan to loosen cake from sides if necessary. Invert cake pan onto cooling rack and tap bottom to release cake. Lift up cake pan, remove parchment paper and let cake cool completely to room temperature.
- 1/2 cup organic confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Whisk sugar and lemon juice together until smooth. Pour glaze over cooled cake and let it drip down the sides.
Decorate cake with fresh seasonal summer fruits like farm strawberries and cherries. Dust with confectioners sugar and add edible flowers and leaves to garnish.
Serve with maple syrup macerated strawberries. Simply cut up strawberries, pour a bit of maple over them, and a splash of rum or bourbon, a dash of vanilla extract, and optionally add fresh mint or basil. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and spoon over slices of cake. Also delicious with a dollop of whipped coconut cream!
You can substitute 1/2 cup of the flour in this recipe with 1/2 cup of ground almonds, which is my original recipe, and is actually how i prefer it.