Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lovely Lemons- Baking Traditional Home's Cake and Gardening

It's been a while since I've done a cooking post, probably because I've not done much cooking of late! Over the weekend though, I used our cul-de-sac Easter Egg Hunt party as the perfect excuse to try out the Lemmon Poppy Seed Coconut cake featured in this month's Traditional Home Magazine. Truth be told, the recipe did not actually appear in the magazine and readers "lit up" TH's Facebook page. (I wonder if that means Traditional Home will no longer feature fabulous food photos or if they'll start offering recipes? Design and good food seem to go along so well together. Remember Met Home's fabulous recipes?)

It's a slightly complicated, yet not terribly difficult recipe. And the results are worth it. Here it is, interspersed with my pictures.

Lemon Poppy-Seed Layer Cake

Prepare Lemon Curd filling the day before you bake the cake. Chill overnight.
Note: Forgot to make ahead of time. Put in fridge for the initial stage of cooling and then the freezer for a bit. Worked fine.

Lemon Curd (see recipe)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons finely shredded lemon peel (from 3 large lemons)
4 large eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon extract
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons poppy seeds

Coconut Buttercream Frosting (see recipe)

4 cups natural raw chip coconut (about 5 to 6 ounces), toasted*
Note: I used regular bagged coconut and it was fine!
Fresh strawberries

Prepare Lemon Curd. Cover; chill at least 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two (9x1-1/2 inch) round baking pans. Set aside. In very large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, and lemon peel on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon juice and lemon extract. (Mixture may look curdled.)
Note: it looked very curdled. Not to worry!

In another large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Fold in poppy seeds.


Divide cake batter evenly between prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; cool completely. When cakes are cool, trim tops of cakes if necessary to make them flat. Split cakes in half horizontally to create four cake rounds.

Note: Mr. Southern did a fabulous job. I am miserable at cutting in a straight line, be it a cake or wrapping paper.

To assemble, place one cake round on cake plate. Spread with 1 scant cup Lemon Curd. Top curd with another cake round and another scant cup of curd. Repeat with third cake round and the remaining curd. Top curd with last cake round.

Note: Use more than a "scant" on your first layer or you'll have lemon curd left over. Better yet, divide it into thirds so you know how much to use! I added a bit of the frosting in the middle layer as well.

Frost top and sides of cake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top of cake and press into sides of cake. Serve immediately with fresh strawberries, or store cake in refrigerator.

Let chilled cake stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

So while my cake is not quite as beautifully styled as the one featured in the magazine, it looked pretty good! (I think).

Lemon Curd:
In large saucepan stir together 1-1/3 cups sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Stir in 1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel, 3/4 cup lemon juice, and 1/2 cup water. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly.

In large bowl lightly beat 7 egg yolks. Slowly stir about half of hot lemon juice mixture into eggs. Return lemon-egg mixture to saucepan. Cook, stirring continuously over medium heat until mixture comes to gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until melted and well combined. Cover surface of curd with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill curd at least 8 hours or until firm. Makes a scant 3 cups lemon curd.

Coconut Butter Cream Frosting:
In large mixing bowl beat 1 cup softened butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually beat in 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat in 3 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon coconut extract. Gradually beat in 4 cups additional powdered sugar until smooth, with spreading consistency. If necessary, beat in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make spreading possible. Makes about 3-1/4 cups frosting.

*To toast coconut: Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread coconut in shallow baking pan. Heat about 5 minutes or until coconut is fragrant and just barely toasted, stirring once. Cool completely.

For the Gardening portion.... let's take a look at my Improved Meyer Lemon tree, which we just moved outdoors. Ahhh, beautiful flowers (and they smell fabulous!)

Unfortunately, you can see that the leaves aren't as healthy as I'd like...
I believe we have an infestation of spider mites(??). So off to get Horticultural Oil and get rid of those nasty buggers. Oh how I long for a green thumb.

Oooh and I almost forgot- our little Easter Bunny! We have a big adoption weekend coming up, so I'm training her to look as cute as possible.
Have a Happy Week!



  1. That Lemon Curd looks fabulous! I will have to try that one for sure! Hope your having a great day! xoxo

  2. I saw this recipe and have it torn out and saved, awaiting Dave's birthday next month. I'm so excited that you've tried it and given it the thumbs up! Can't wait to take a shot at it myself now.

    (And the puppy is precious! Adoption should be a snap. How can you say "no" to those eyes?!)

  3. I will be coming to visit Kaylee at the Sweetwater 420 Festival. Looking forward to meeting her!

  4. the cake looks scrumptious and your dog is too cute with those ears!

  5. That looks delicious. I can't wait to try it.

  6. This cake looks luscious. It just sings spring! Thank you for the great recipe. I am always on the lookout for keeper recipies. What is not to love about lemon poppyseed and lemon curd?
    In Pa. we cannot grow lemons, very sad! But your cake is something that I'll make soon.
    Thanks for the beautiful photos and great recipe.
    It was lovely to meet you today!

  7. That cake looks amazing! How did you get so many blooms on the Myers? Mine probably had half that many, and they all flowered like a month ago. i tried to pollinate them myself with a paintbrush. Ha, we'll see if that works :)

  8. OMG, lemon and coconut sweets rank very high on my list, and your cake looked like it was amazing to eat! Dying over here!

  9. That looks DELICIOUS! I think you made a layer cake with lemon curd on one of my trips, I'm so impressed!

  10. AH-mazing!!! This looks so good! I have to try it. Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. Oh, this is nothing but trouble to a lemon lover like me. I'm definitely trying it and soon. Thanks. Great pics!

  12. oh yummy! i have been looking around for a good summer/spring cake recipe... something I can just whip up, I really want to try this!

  13. wow Emmie, truly incredibly looking, tasty cake. I feel like I can taste it through my screen! I miss having a lemon tree bad. When we lived in San Diego we had a huge one that produced more lemons that I could give-a-way. You've inspired me to go to the nursery & track one down. Happy, glorious weekend to you xx

  14. oh i am going to be dying to eat that!

  15. npt sure if you saw but you won the giveaway on my blog for the green stripe shirt.

    Email me your info.

  16. This looks (and sounds) fabulous! Lemons make me think of spring and sunshing ~ what a great combo.


  17. that poppyseed cake looks delicious. too bad i'm not a big fan of lemon, because i LOVE cakes and cookies (maybe a bit too much!).


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