Lemon Poppy Seed Cake (& skill building)

Cake is special.

Cake is decadent.

Cake is comforting.

Cake is hard.

To be honest, I’m not very good at cake. Even though it’s tattooed on my arm, I still kinda suck at it. I regularly make cakes that are dry. Or gummy. Or too dense. This weekend I attempted to make a larger version of my Lemon Raspberry Cake and failed. Twice.

But, I’m trying to get better. Which sucks. Let’s be real for a second – not being good at something but doing it anyway is pretty awful. Being good is what’s great – it’s the getting there that can be skipped. Why else are movie montages so appealing? Three and a half minutes of trial and toil (set to a killer song) leads to wild success? Yes, please!

But, until I get one of those fancy remotes like in “Click!” (what a crapfest that was) and can fast forward through the hard parts – I’m going to have to do the work in real time. Even if it’s frustrating. I’m going to have to fail. Even if I don’t want to. I’m going to have to cry. (Ok, maybe not have to cry – but it’ll definitely happen.) Even if I’m wearing fancy mascara.

I’m going to have to remake a lemon poppy seed cake because the first attempt had waaaaaaay too many poppy seeds and someone was going to lose a filling taking a bite out of it. Even if I don’t love poppy seeds that much. Because I love cake. And love is work. Work is love.

Lemon Poppy Seed Sheet Cake

1 cup whole milk

2 TBSP poppy seeds

1 ½ sticks (12 TBSP) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 lemon, zested and juiced

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. almond extract

¼ tsp. lemon extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with baking spray and set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the milk and poppy seeds and warm to nearly bubbling. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.

In the bowl of a stand mixer rub the lemon zest into the sugar until fragrant, cream the lemon sugar and eggs until light and pale yellow, about five minutes. Stir in extracts.

While the eggs and sugar do their thing, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture alternating with milk mixture, ending with dry ingredients.

Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated over for 25 minutes, until golden brown along edges.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on rack before frosting.

For the frosting, I made a half batch of this recipe and it worked beautifully!

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