There was something about that sunshine last week that had me craving a pretty floral-decorated cake. Emphasis on the decorating… as I actually can’t take credit for the baking part. Instead, my girlfriend Suruchi (who writes the amazing food blog: This Brown Kitchen), showed up with this gorgeous citrus and poppy seed cake (that I’m terribly sad I didn’t snap a photo of the inside of before we devoured it because it was the prettiest part)! So back to my gf who made the cake, I told her I had been craving decorating a pretty spring cake and she adapted a vanilla cake recipe and came up with this sweet citrus infused bite (we agreed that felt perfect for spring) just for the occasion. And with a lighter cream cheese frosting because we also agreed cream cheese frosting was the way to go over buttercream. I picked up a bunch of flowers–just from good ol’ Trader Joes–and my mini cake decorating assistant and I got to it. I had to include the photo of Rex standing on his tip-toes to help so you could see his dirty little feet. We ran straight inside from hanging in the yard once the cake arrived and were too anxious to be bothered with cleaning our toes. Which made it feel even more like the perfect spring / summer night. Hand washing did happen though (although looking back at these photos I’m not 100% sure if Rex’s got washed or not, ha).
So jump to the bottom for this delicious recipe… it’s the perfect spring dessert to wow your friends or guy with during your next dinner party. Upon first bite Tanner said, “wait, is Suruchi single?” And he has a serious sweet tooth so you know it’s a winner.
You can’t go wrong with cake decorating when flowers are involved, it’s just going to be pretty no matter what. But one thing I have learned is that it’s nice to buy a variety of flowers–color and size. Clip at varying lengths to create height. My theme was garden inspired–what do you think? I was pretty pleased! Ready to decorate another one…
Citrus and Poppy Seed Cake (adapted from Molly Yeh‘s Vanilla Cake)
for the cake ::
1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups of AP flour
1/4 cup of almond flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup oil (flavorless, like canola)
1 tbsp vanilla
zest of 1 1/2 lemons
zest of 1/2 orange
3/4 cup water
2 tsp poppy seeds
for the frosting ::
8oz of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup of butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1/2 orange
16oz powdered sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 6 inch cake pans and line with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and whisk together.
3. In another large mixing bowl, add all of the wet ingredients (except the water) and the citrus zest, together.
4. In three parts add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring to combine. Slowly stir in the water, it will be a thin batter. Add the poppy seeds, stirring to combine.
5. Fill the cake pans up 3/4 of the way with batter. If you have leftover batter, you can use it to make extra cupcakes!
6. Bake in oven, beginning to check for readiness at 30 – 40 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean and the tops of the cake should be lightly golden brown.
7. Remove from oven and set pans on a cooling rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then turn the cakes out on the cooling rack to finish cooling at room temperature.
8. While the cakes cool, prep the frosting. Add all of the ingredients except for the powdered sugar into a stand mixer or large mixing bowl and beat to combine. Slowly add the powdered sugar to the frosting mixture until smooth.
9. To assemble, wait until the cakes are fully cooled. Level the cakes and stack with a layer of frosting in between. Frost the top and the sides of the cake, smoothing with an offset spatula. Decorate as desired. Enjoy!
Photography | Myself + Dani Weast