Test Kitchen - Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake

An onion bread recipe I recently decided to try called for a single tablespoon of poppy seeds.  As it was for Christmas dinner, I was not inclined to leave anything out and thus bought the biggest jar of poppy seeds I've ever seen in my life. Much like cilantro, it turns out that poppy seeds are sold in only one set quantity which is most certainly far more than I'll ever need in a week, let alone a lifetime. Now laden with literally more poppy seeds than I knew what to do with, I decided to look around for other recipes that could put these seeds to work.  Not surprisingly, my google search came back with all things lemon poppyseed.  From cakes to muffins to loaves, it was all a bit overwhelming and every bit under-inspirational.  Aside from using a different baking pan, it was hard to tell any of the recipes apart from each other.  In desperation, I eventually clicked on a recipe from the New York Times in hopes that it would provide something noteworthy. While it was a recipe for a lemon poppy seed pound cake, which admittedly didn't inspire much hope at first, I was later intrigued to find that it didn't call for any butter (aside from greasing the pan) but rather 2/3 of a cup of olive oil.  A pound cake that doesn't use butter?!?!  It sounded like just the challenge I was looking for.    

While I haven't made any specific resolutions to eat any healthier than we have been, a pound cake sans butter sounded like it could be a good start to the new year.  The recipe being pretty straightforward and simple, didn't call for any amendments or future notes-to-self and I have to say I was quite pleased with the end result.  The texture, though not quite Sara Lee, was still pretty fantastic.  T likened it to a great home made birthday cake: incredibly moist and airy, but firm.  As I still haven't quite figured out the mystery of all the ways high altitude effects baking, I don't know how much of the texture was due to us being over 5,000 feet above sea level.  Either way, we were more than happy to start our days with a slice and a cup of tea for the rest of the week. 



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