Lemon Poppy Seed Squares: Part of a Well Balanced Wardrobe

(thanks to the amazing Will Mann for the above photo)
One of my besties, Joanna, celebrated her b-day on Saturday night and her husband Will threw a wonderful little soiree in her honor . The food was amazing - everything from sushi to stuffed peppers. So yummy!

Will tasked me with bringing a dessert. Originally supposed to be a "bundt" (insert My Big Fat Greek Wedding joke) cake, I realized halfway through the recipe that I had left my bundt pan somewhere in my travels.... Oops. I dug around in my "pan cabinet" and found a recent purchase that looks like a cupcake pan, but is actually a "square" pan (see here). It's kind of a genius invention that I will use for brownies and other yummy bars at some point in the future. It creates the most perfect squares! 

 This recipes comes to us by way of my fave foodie blogger Smitten Kitchen. Pure heaven! I added a lemon glaze to the top because I didn't think it was quite lemony enough....

Poppy Seed Lemon Cake (or squares as seen above)

2/3 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
1/2 cup poppy seeds (I got this from one 3-ounce spice bottle)
FOR THE GLAZE: 2 cups confectioner's sugar and 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (or more depending on how much lemon you like)

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F Butter and flour an 8-inch* fluted Bundt or square bar pan.
  • Butter the dull side of a 10-inch piece of foil.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the sugar with the egg yolks and whole egg at medium-high speed until the mixture is pale yellow and very fluffy, about 8 minutes. 
  • Beat in the lemon zest. Sift the flour and cornstarch over the egg mixture and fold in along with the pinch of salt with a rubber spatula. 
  • At medium speed, beat in the butter, then beat in the poppy seeds.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and cover tightly with the buttered foil. 
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes if you do the squares (checking periodically) and 45 minutes for the bundt cake, or until the cake pulls away from the side of the pan and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  • Remove the foil and let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake/squares onto the rack and let cool completely before serving, at least 30 minutes.
  • GLAZE: when cakes are cooled, mix the confectioners sugar and lemon juice together until it creates a thick glaze - drizzle over the top so it creates fingers down the side of each bar (or the cake). Place on plate and sift confectioner's sugar gently and lightly over the top!

Do ahead: The cake can be wrapped in plastic and foil and left at room temperature for up to 3 days

The result is a nutty, savory, lemony treat! Now pour yourself a big glass of milk or a nice cup of hot tea and enjoy a delish bar!