Sounds like a healthy snack, right? I mean, I passed up chocolate and sugar for citrus and seeds! Weeeellllll, not so much. While I have no clue what really made up either of the cafeteria’s jumbo muffins, you can bet that there was a lofty dose of the white stuff (both sugar and flour) and more than a few glugs of oil lurking under even the tangy crispy crowned option. Granted, given the lurid yellow tint they possessed, I’m sure there were far more heinous nutritional crimes than simple sugars and fat being committed. Since mom’s schedule barely allowed for preparing cookies once every two months when it was my turn at donating bake sale goodies, any muffins we had at home were a rarity, and out of a box mix at that.
Unfortunately, most homemade recipes for lemon-poppy seed muffins and cakes aren’t a whole lot better if you’re looking at fat, sugars and the like. Where the freshly-concocted recipe flies high above any other option of course is the quality and creative control you have. Need or want a vegan version of your favourite cookies? Done and done. Want to make sure those oranges in the screwdrivers you’re going to serve on Oscar night are organic? No problem. For me, I took control of the creative aspect of it all and turned the more or less even dispersion of poppy seeds in the traditional cake into a blue-black vein running through the centre of the loaf. The end result looked amazing, and smelled way better than anything I’ve found in a Starbucks!
Poppyseed - Layered Lemon Loaves
Makes 2 medium loaves, 10 slices each
¼ cup poppy seeds
2 tbsp icing (powdered) sugar
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
½ cup hot water
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking soda
½ cup shortening (or vegan margarine)
1 cup sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon extract
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1 ½ cups buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350°F, grease a large loaf pan.
- Whisk together poppy seeds and icing sugar. Set aside.
- In a small cup, whisk together flaxseed and hot water, let stand 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar.
- Add lemon juice, lemon extract, lemon zest and flax mixture, beating well.
- Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternate additions of flour and buttermilk mixtures, beating well after each.
- Portion ¼ of the batter into the bottom of each pan and sprinkle with ½ the poppy seed mixture.