When you see a yellow cake that is speckled with little black seeds, you are likely to assume that those are poppy seeds in there, since lemon and poppyseed are a very common combination. You’ll probably be surprised to find out that the seeds in this lemon cake aren’t poppyseeds at all – they’re chia seeds. Chia seeds are edible seeds that look quite similar to poppy seeds and are very popular as a nutritional supplement right now. They are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and are also high in fiber, protein and other nutrients. They’re easy to incorporate into baked goods and give a little nutritional boost to whatever you put them in.
This Lemon Chia Seed Cake is an easy cake to make and it is exactly the kind of cake that I like to keep around the house to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee. It’s moist and just sweet enough that it doesn’t need any frosting or glaze to finish it off (although I do like a touch of powdered sugar to make it look pretty). The cake is a butter cake that is made with yogurt, lemon juice and lemon zest. Yogurt and lemon go very well together, and the yogurt is what really helps to keep this cake moist. Make sure to use fresh lemons for the best flavor in your cake.
Like poppy seeds, chia seeds are very small and spread out easily in a cake batter. You don’t need many of them to give the cake a lovely speckled look. If you’re going for a nutritional boost, however, you can certainly add more chia seeds than I’ve included in the recipe so that you get slightly more per serving of cake. And if you are a traditionalist, you can easily stick with the poppy seeds when you bake your own.
This cake keeps very well for a few days when it is stored in an airtight container. If you want to dress it up a little bit, a lemon glaze (lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar) or a little bit of lemon cream cheese frosting would make a nice finishing touch instead of powdered sugar.
Lemon Chia Seed Cake
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup plain, greek-style yogurt
2 tbsp chia seeds
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line the base with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by lemon zest and lemon juice.
Stir half of the flour mixture into the lemon mixture, followed by the yogurt and chia seeds. Stir in remaining flour mixture, stirring just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain and seeds are well-distributed throughout the cake.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Allow cake to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the parchment paper, then reinvert the cake on the wire rack to cool completely.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.