Truly, I am light and yummy.

Okay, let’s get to the obvious question: What is half-pound cake? In order to understand that, we have to go back in time (cue wavy screen effect) to the other night, when I was looking for something new to make for the Hubbins to take to work for a snack. (He’s burned out on my go-to, banana walnut bread, and he’s too clever to be fooled by the addition of chocolate chips to “shake things up.”) An answer came quickly: It’s Meyer lemon season. I had some poppy seeds on hand. So… Uh… Oh yeah, lemon poppy seed pound cake!

I have such great memories of eating this with cafe con leche when I lived in Miami. I also remember gaining about ten pounds during that time. And when I looked up recipes for LPPC, I found out why: Most of them called for about four (4!) sticks of butter–for ONE pound cake. Now that’s truth in advertising right there. When you’re eating pound cake, you know exactly what’s going to happen.

So, I did what I usually do–ignored instructions and adapted. This tactic doesn’t work well with electronics or medication, and possibly not for training for a half-marathon (but that’s another post). However, it can work well for baking. To wit: my recipe, below, for a cake adapted from Gale Gand’s recipe for lemon poppy seed cake. She already endeared herself to me by using vegetable oil, and not that much of it, as well as two eggs to the others’ call for five (5!!).

But still, I must tweak, because I am a born tweaker, and I swapped out the refined sugar for the much-healthier agave nectar and low-fat yogurt for full-fat milk. The result is a lighter cake that may only make you gain a half-pound instead of a full one. Hence, the name. Enjoy.

So, since it's a half-pound cake, that means I can have two slices! Right? Right?


Lemon Poppyseed Half-Pound Cake
(Makes one gorgeous loaf)
Ingredients:
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 to 1/2 cup agave nectar, depending on your sweetness addiction

Directions:
Combine yogurt, poppy seeds, and lemon zest and let this hang out in the fridge while you do everything else.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a loaf pan.
Combine dry ingredients and mix together.
Get your yogurt mixture from the fridge and add extracts. Mix, then add to dry mixture. Beat in eggs and oil.
Now you’re ready for the sweet part. Agave nectar is 25 percent sweeter than sugar, so start with your quarter cup and go from there, according to how sweet you want your cake. Breakfast snack? Not as sweet. Dessert? Go for the half cup.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 and 1/4 hours. Top should be golden and cracked and gorgeous, but test with toothpick or my personal cake-center-testing favorite, a shish-kebab rod. If pick or rod comes out clean, your LPHPC is done. Let cool before tearing into it. And then let me know how you liked it.

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