July 16, 2011

So excited!

It's finally here! The last installment of the Harry Potter movie series.  It has been a long journey for Harry Potter and the millions of fans out there.  I became a fan back in 1999 when I was drawn to a display of books in front of the cashier at the Indigo book store at Scarborough Town Centre. Unbeknownst to me, I picked up a book that ended up launching a global reading revolution. Although the book seemed to be recommended for kids, the blurb at the back of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone drew me, a first-year university student, in and I quickly passed it to my older sister, who read the back of the book, and then proceeded to line up and buy it.  And so our love for "the boy who lived" began and has continued for the past 12 years.

My sister and I eagerly waited for the new books in the series to be released and watched the first two movies in the series together.  Shortly thereafter, we both got married and life moved on.  At that point, I carried my love for Harry Potter into my new life and began going to midnight book release parties and movie releases with my two sister-in-laws Z and S. And sometimes my husband and brother-in-law would come and join in the fun!
My husband hasn't watched all the movies, so before going to the movie yesterday, I had him read a summary of all the movies on Wikipedia, and we watched the first part of The Deathly Hallows in 30 minutes- I had to forward through some parts- just so that he would understand the second part!

I wish the recipe I'm going to share with you is one related to Harry Potter, but instead it's my lemon poppy seed disaster of a cake that I managed to salvage. 

When I went back to TO in June, my close friends and I scheduled our monthly meet up at Shiva's house.  Right away I said I would make dessert because this gave me the opportunity to test out a few recipes on my friends.  Normally when I make a dessert-style dish, I end up with so many left overs because my husband and in-laws enjoy more savory things then sweet.  This girls' night guaranteed me no left overs!

The first recipe I made was the Double Chocolate Cupcakes and the second was Sprinkles of Parsley's Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.  The two changes from the original recipe that I made were that I used cake flour instead of all purpose flour because I wanted a lighter texture to the cake and I added more lemon juice to the icing. The mistake I made was using the same all purpose flour measurements for the cake flour when in reality one cup of all purpose is equivalent to 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour. Another mistake I made while making this cake was not greasing and flouring the bunt pan enough. I only realized this when I was trying to release the cake from the pan and half of the cake got stuck while the rest came out, resulting in a horribly broken up cake.  The way I managed to present this cake was to slice it in half width-wise and serve the "half-slices" on muffin tin liners.

Lemony Poppy Seed Cake

3 cups cake flour  (So that you don't repeat the same mistake I made, add 6 tbsp to this, so it'll be 3 cups and 6 tbsp cake flour)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup buttermilk
4 large eggs (I used vegetarian feed, hormone-free eggs)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fresh baking soda

1/2 tsp salt
grated lemon peel from 2 large lemons, make sure you wash and dry the lemons prior to using

Lemony Icing:
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
juice of two lemons

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Mix together all of the ingredients in a large glass bowl using a hand mixer. Mix on medium speed until the dry and wet ingredients are combined to create a smooth batter. Butter and flour your bunt or cake pan liberally. Pour in your batter and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour or so.

Remove the cake from the oven when it's ready and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Use a small knife and run it around the edges of the pan, say a quick prayer and flip the cake over onto a cooling rack. Hopefully, the cake will release and you will have a beautiful dessert.

Stir together the icing sugar and lemon juice until smooth.  Taste the icing to make sure it's not too tart, add more icing sugar if necessary.  Drizzle over a cooled cake, and slice and serve with a cup of coffee.

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