I finally made my choice, mainly because the more sweet recipes I perused, the stronger became my cravings for two things: a buttery cakey texture and the tartness of lemon. Thus, the evening before our meeting, I creamed butter and sugar, whisked flour with poppy seeds, zested and squeezed lemons and baked my favorite lemon poppy-seed loaf.
Of course it was a big hit, and aided our artistic inspiration considerably. The key to the loaf's tartness and moistness is the glaze that I brush on while it’s still hot--sugar dissolved in lemon juice that soaks through the loaf--so that what you end up getting is a buttery cake with the tart sweetness of lemon. Who could resist that oxymoron?
LEMON POPPY SEED LOAF
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ cups flour
3 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
½ cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/3 cup lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease an 8- X 4-inch loaf pan.
2. Beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, poppy seeds, lemon rind, baking powder and salt; stir into butter mixture alternately with milk, making 3 additions of flour mixture and 2 of milk. Spread into loaf pan.
4. Bake in centre of 325° oven for 1 hour or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Place pan on cooling rack.
5. LEMON SYRUP: In saucepan warm together sugar and lemon rind and juice until sugar dissolves. With skewer, pierce hot loaf in 12 places right to bottom; pour lemon syrup over loaf.