My daughter left her apartment in NYC and came back to California due to the Covid-19 shut down — I’m grateful that she is safe and with me for the moment! One of the things she misses from her life on the east coast is a lemon poppy seed muffin made by a cafe next to her work. We decided to recreate the muffin she was missing.
We’re all looking for a little comfort during this time of staying at home, and enjoying a homemade treat is a welcome touch. Snack cakes are especially easy to make, as they are usually one bowl recipes, no mixer needed. This batter was ready to go before my oven heated up.
This perky little snack cake packs a bright, clear lemon flavor thanks to fresh zest and lemon extract. The texture is enhanced with the subtle crunch of poppy seeds. Bake it in muffin tins or an 8 inch baking pan – it’s up to you. Drizzle with lemon glaze to enhance the lemony deliciousness of this treat, or enjoy it plain for a more delicate flavor. Makes one dozen cupcakes or a single small cake. Enjoy!
Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes
(makes one dozen cupcakes or one 8 inch layer)
7.5 oz (1 1/2 cups) unbleached, all-purpose flour (1:1 GF flour will also work well)
6 oz (3/4 cup) sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
scant 1/4 tsp sea salt, fine
1 TB poppy seeds
1 tsp lemon zest, fine grate
1/2 TSP pure lemon extract*
3 oz neutral flavor vegetable oil
5 oz buttermilk
Mix all ingredients, blending with a whisk just until the batter is smooth. Scoop batter into a prepared 8 inch baking pan or into a muffin tin, lined with papers. Bake at 350 for 28 – 30 minutes (20 – 22 minutes for cupcakes) or until puffy and the top springs back when touched. These muffins will not get browned tops, so don’t rely on color to determine when they are baked.
Cool the cupcakes, then top with a quick lemon glaze, if desired.
For the glaze: mix 1 cup powdered sugar with enough fresh squeezed lemon juice to make a thick but pourable glaze. Garnish with poppy seeds and a little lemon zest for flare.
*if you don’t have lemon extract, substitute an additional teaspoon lemon zest