I hit 200 likes yesterday on Facebook! It was so exciting for me! I told you folks on Facebook that I’d make cupcakes, but then I decided I wanted to make mini-heart cakes with lemon as a flavour. And then I thought about one of the commenters on my Vegan Lemon Donuts, who mentioned adding poppy seeds to the lemon donuts and I had a eureka moment. But unfortunately despite my epiphany, these cakes turned out to be a terribly epic failure.
First, came the batter. The original batter I had didn’t have any liquid in it, no milk, no yogurt, nada. When I was mixing it up, it was almost like a cookie dough, which I knew would not lead to a light and fluffy cake. So I looked in my fridge and saw a tub of greek yogurt I didn’t want to eat, and I thought hey, why not. So it added a bit more body and fluff to the batter. It wasn’t your typical cake batter, which is pretty light and a little runny, but it was more like a loaf/muffin batter. Good enough. I baked it, no problem. It looked good.
Looks great right? The next part came to me in a dream. I dreamed that I had used my new heart cookie cutters to cut little heart shapes, which I would ice then stack into a 3-layered mini cake. Adorable, right? I loved it. And it would have totally worked out if I didn’t totally mess up the lemon curd. And the buttercream. I know it was me and not the recipe, because I used recipes that I had definitely used before on my Lemon Poppyseed Macarons. Those worked fine last time, so this time it was all me.
So I stacked. I iced. And it looked AWFUL. The shape did not frost well. It just kind of looked like a weird, oblong circle thing with a point. And the buttercream somehow was totally messed up. I have no idea what I did wrong. My lemon curd did not thicken up the way I wanted it to. The buttercream had itty bitty lumps of unbeaten butter no matter how long I kept my stand mixer on. I streamed some melted buttercream back in so that it wouldn’t be as lumpy, but then it went straight back to being pancake batter. I had no idea. Not to worry though, while the consistency of the lemon curd and the buttercream were off, everything tasted delicious. So I thought, what do you do if everything TASTES delicious, but looks awful?
You turn it into cake pops. Naturally. And boy, was that the greatest idea ever. The lemon flavour wasn’t even that overpowering with the addition of the lemon curd and the lemon buttercream to the lemon cake. It tasted amazing. The only issue was that because of the addition of the lemon curd, it was a pretty soft mixture, unlike my usual red (or purple) velvet cake pops, which only have half of my favourite cream cheese icing recipe. So I had to refrigerate the mixture to be able to make the cake balls for dipping.
Maybe in the future you can remove the addition of the lemon curd so that it’s not so soft. I just didn’t want to waste the lemon curd so I used it. Feel free to omit it. And since it’s almost Valentine’s, I thought I’d use the pink Candy Melts I got and some of the Valentine’s sprinkles to be festive. That’s one thing I love about the food blogging world. The second you add sprinkles, it becomes festive. Red/green/white sprinkles? Christmas. Black/orange? Halloween. Red/pink/white? Valentine’s. Green? St. Patty’s. (I bought some green sprinkles by the way. Get stoked!) It’s so ridiculous, but hilarious. Look guys, I made lemon poppyseed cake pops for Valentine’s. Tooootally on purpose.
And it’s so pretty too! The pink and the yellow go very well together, especially with little dots of poppy seed? Gorgeous. I may have gone a little picture happy. THEY WERE JUST SO CUTE. Also I was running out of daylight because there’s a blizzard outside and the reflection of the light through the clouds off the snow only lasts for so long =P
I also ran out of lollipop sticks (and room on my styrofoam make-shift cake pop holder) so I turned the rest into cake truffles, as you can see from the first photo. I definitely like the sticks better though. Much cuter. And less messy, cause it’s easier to dip, to eat, to dry… I’m just a big fan of cake pops. Actually that’s not true, I find cake pops that other people make are way too sweet. The only cake pops I’ve ever liked are the ones I’ve made myself =P My brother doesn’t really like sweets but he LOVES my cake pops. It’s weird, he’s 8 years old, and from what I can tell he only likes two sweets that I’ve made: my chocolate chip cookies and my cake pops (he asked for cake pops for his birthday last year, specifically not cake, he wanted cake pops.)
So feel free to make a bouquet of cake pops for your Valentine this year. The red velvet recipe is a lot easier to make, especially because this recipe was intended for a stacked cake, but it doesn’t make it any less delicious! I hope everyone has a great weekend, and I want to say a BIIIIIG thank you for all of you who liked my page on Facebook! It’s so exciting every time I get a notification for a new like, or a new comment on a picture. It makes me feel special that you took a couple seconds of your day to glance at my picture/failure/random food tidbit I found interesting. As Juno McGuff says, “I like being a piece of furniture in your weird life”.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cups vanilla greek yogurt
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream from Beantown Baker (http://www.beantownbaker.com/2011/02/my-favorite-swiss-meringue-buttercream.html)
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 lb unsalted butter (I used about 450g), room temperature
- 2 tsp lemon extract
- Optional: yellow food colouring
- Lemon Curd adapted from My Kind of Food (http://mykindoffood.blogspot.com/2009/02/what-to-do-with-egg-yolks.html)
- 3 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup sugar (add more if you like it a bit sweeter. I like sour things)
- juice from 2 lemons (about ½ cup)
- zest from lemons
- 4 tbsp butter, separated
- Cake Pop Coating:
- 1 bag of Candy Melts + a bit more (I’d say about 16 oz. for this entire batch)
- ⅓ cup vegetable shortening (to thin out the coating so it’s not so thick when it goes on)
- To make the cake, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, lemon zest, and greek yogurt and mix until incorporated.
- Add flour, baking powder, poppy seeds, and salt
- Spread into a lined, greased then floured jelly roll pan (or two 8×8 round pans if you’re making a layered cake) and bake for 20 minutes if using a jelly roll pan, 30 minutes if two 8x8s. Use a cake tester for sure; the edges will be a nice golden brown, and a cake tester/toothpick will come out clean if you poke it in the middle.
- Let cool. See Summary for instructions if you’re planning on making a layered cake, cake pops, or cake truffles.
- To make the lemon curd, stir egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice over a pot of simmering water until thickened. It’ll coat the back of your spoon.
- Add the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, and mix until incorporated.
- Let stand for about 10 minutes for the curd to thicken, then transfer to a jar or cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
- To make the buttercream (from now on referred to as SMB), gently stir the egg whites and sugar in a metal mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water. Remove once the sugar has dissolved (it’ll be kind of tepid and if you rub the mixture between your fingers you won’t feel any granules of sugar)
- Using a whisk attachment (or just a whisk), whip the meringue on medium-high speed until doubled in volume. It should be around stiff peak stage, or if you can’t tell, then it won’t slide around when you tilt the bowl. Switch to the paddle beater instead of the wire whisk.
- One by one, add chunks of the butter (1-inch/tablespoon chunks) and beat until incorporated. If your icing is kind of lumpy looking, take about ½ a cup of it, heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds until liquidy, and then stream it back into the icing while beating the rest of it. Your butter was probably too cold going in. HOWEVER, if your mixture is too liquidy, put it in the fridge for about half an hour to cool down the butter and try beating it again.
- Add the lemon extract and poppy seeds and beat on low until incorporated.