Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

Gear up for the week by baking this cake on a Sunday afternoon. You might want to play Dolly Parton's "Nine to Five" while you do. The syrup keeps this homey citrus cake moist for days, so if it manages to last until Wednesday, it will still be delicious. Alternatively, take this all-rounder to work to celebrate a colleague's birthday or farewell.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: one 9-inch round cake
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Ingredients

Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake:

Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the pan

2 1/4 cups (290g) all-purpose flour 

3 teaspoons baking powder  

1/2 teaspoon salt 

2 eggs, at room temperature  

3/4 cup (180ml) grapeseed oil or any neutral oil like canola or vegetable 

1 cup (230g) plain Greek full-fat yogurt 

Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon  

1/3 cup (80ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar  

2 tablespoons poppy seeds 

Citrus Syrup:

1/3 cup (80ml) freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

1/2 cup (50g) granulated sugar  

Directions

  1. For the poppy seed yogurt cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Line the sides of the pan with a strip of parchment paper that rises above the edge of the pan. Grease the paper.
  2. Place a large sifter or a sieve in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and sift.  
  3. In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, yogurt, zest, lemon juice, and sugar until combined.  
  4. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth. Fold in the poppy seeds. 
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed. Cover the top with tinfoil after 30 minutes if it's browning too quickly or turn the oven down slightly.  
  6. For the citrus syrup: While the cake is baking, make the citrus syrup. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir the juice and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved. (The longer the syrup simmers, the more it will reduce and thicken.) For a syrup that really soaks into the cake, keep it reasonably runny. Stir the mixture often to make sure it doesn't smoke or burn.  
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the cake to gently release. Peel off the parchment paper from the sides. Turn out the cake onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet or dinner plate to catch any drips when you add the syrup. 
  8. Poke holes about an inch apart in the top of the cake with a skewer and slowly spoon the syrup over the top of the cake, gradually letting it soak in.