Archive for: poppyseed
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.
Edible seeds – such as chia and flax seeds – are becoming more and more common, with the potential health benefits of adding them to your diet touted loudly by their packaging. But although they are small, the little seeds are something of a mystery to many bakers and chefs who often aren’t sure how they’re supposed to use them! Fortunately, these edible seeds are actually very easy to work with and you don’t have to take any unusual measures to enjoy their benefits if you want to start incorporating them into your baking.
Flax and chia seeds are two seeds that are very popular right now. They have very little flavor, especially in small amounts, and can be incorporated into anything from smoothies to breads simply by stirring them in. Flax seeds are difficult to digest, however, so you will get a bigger nutritional boost by grinding them up (or just buying flaxseed meal) before using them. Chia seeds are easier to digest and can be used whole.
Poppy seeds are another small seed that is commonly found in the kitchen. Although they don’t get the press that flax and chia seeds do, they can still be a good source of protein and fiber. They have very little flavor in small amounts and can be simply stirred in to any recipe that you might want to add them to, just like flax and chia seeds. Since they are a bit larger than those two seeds, they give baked goods a very attractive speckled look when incorporated.
Sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds are more familiar to most of us as ingredients, mostly because they have much more distinctive flavors than smaller seeds do. You can actually treat these seeds a lot like nuts. They can be toasted to deepen their flavor, which is much stronger than the flavor of smaller seeds. They can be stirred in to cookie dough and other baked goods whole. They’re a great addition to granola or other snack mixes, too. And both sesame and sunflower seeds can be pureed into tasty versions of peanut butter (called tahini in the case of sesame seeds).
Mini muffins always seem like slightly more fun to bake than regular muffins. This is mostly because these bite-sized baked goods are so cute, but it is also because these little muffins can pack a lot of flavor into just one or two mouthfuls. These Mini Citrus Poppy Seed Muffins are a miniature version of the ever-popular lemon poppy seed muffin, but kicked up with the flavor of both orange and lemon.
The batter for these muffins is very easy to put together and mixes up in just a few minutes. They’re moist and fluffy inside, with a lot of flavor. The key to getting a good flavor in the muffins is to use fresh lemon and orange juice, and fresh lemon and orange zest. When you get all that zest and juice together, you end up with a muffin that tastes a lot bigger than it looks. The muffins are packed with poppy seeds and get a little crunch from them. They also have a slightly crunchy top, thanks to a generous sprinkling of coarse sugar that I added to each one before baking.
This recipe bakes a big batch of mini muffins – three dozen, to be exact. That may seem like a lot of mini muffins, but keep in mind that these little guys are only about two bites each. It’s not difficult to munch your way through a batch of these, and extra muffins can be frozen and defrosted for later snacking. It’s also a perfect recipe to bake up when having a big brunch or other get-together. I have big mini muffin pans that can handle up to three dozen at a time, but if you only have one or two smaller pans, you should know that it is fine for the batter to sit in the bowl while you bake them one batch at a time.
I typically use canola oil when baking, as it has a very neutral flavor, and works with all kinds of different flavors. These muffins, however, work particularly well with extra virgin olive oil and I often use it when baking up a batch of these. Olive oil has a slightly savory, fruity quality to it that balances – and even enhances – the citrus in this muffin very well. Citrus-infused olive oil can be even better, if you have something like that in your pantry. Otherwise, regular canola or vegetable oil will turn out excellent results and very tasty muffins.
Every time that I bake a batch of mini muffins, I tell myself that I don’t make them nearly enough. Mini muffins take a bit less time to bake than regular muffins and since you get about three mini muffins with the amount of batter that would make one regular muffin, you get a huge batch that is perfect for sharing at home, at parties or at the office. They’re smaller, of course, but no less satisfying than their bigger brothers.
These are lemon poppyseed mini muffins, which I made using lemon zest from some of my last Meyer lemons of the season. Regular lemon zest works just as well and will, if anything, give them an even brighter lemon flavor. The muffins also get some of their flavor from ground coriander, which is a spice that usually appears in savory dishes but actually has a nice lemon tang to it (as well as a bit of a yellow color). There are, of course, plenty of poppyseeds in here, too.
The finished muffins have a nice lemony flavor and a little bit of crunch from the poppyseeds. They’re just firm enough that you could spread them with butter but tender enough that you’ll still be satisfied munching them on their own. They’re not too sweet, so if you want to infuse a little bit of extra sweetness, give all of the mini muffins a generous sprinkle of coarse sugar on top before you bake them.
It’s a bit hard to say what makes lemon poppyseed such a good combination in baked goods. Zesty lemon flavors are always good, of course, but the poppyseeds don’t contribute much in the way of flavor. They do, however, add a hint of additional texture to a cake or muffin and that crunch is a nice break from otherwise soft pastries. Perhaps it’s the subconscious idea that the teeny tiny amount of opiates in the seeds will make you feel good (and fail a drug test, if what I’ve seen on Seinfeld is true!). In reality, it’s probably a combination of some of these things: a bit of crunch from the seeds, a bright acidity from the lemon and the sweetness of the dough that surrounds them.Anyway, the combination is a good one and that’s all you really need to know before baking these lemon poppyseed cookies. The lemon flavor in the cookies comes from fresh lemon zest. It’s fairly subtle at first, but really pops once you add a lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar glaze to the top of the finished cookies. The cookies are soft and a little bit cakelike, rather than crispy. They remind me a little bit of scones or teacakes and go great with iced tea.
These are drop cookies that come together very quickly. There isn’t a whole lot of juice called for in the recipe, and one lemon is really all you need. You’ll get a better flavor with fresh zest than with lemon extract, so it’s worth picking up a fresh lemon if you don’t have one on hand. You can also try these cookies with lemon, orange or other citrus fruits for a little variety.