10 June 2010

Lemon Souffle Cakes with Poppy Seed Cream

Distraction is a big theme in my cooking. Why make something twice when there are so many new things yet to try?  This is the constant thought that goes through my head whenever out of town guests arrive, when attending a BBQ or birthday party or occassion of any sort where I might be bringing some sort of salad or baked good.  Despite my mother's admonition that you shouldn't experiment on your guests, I can't help myself.  Which is how, now in my mid-thirties, and despite a comfort in the kitchen bred from years of standing too close to a warm oven, I have very few 'standards', and every so often it occurs to me that I should make strides toward cooking like a grown-up. 
These lemon cakes are a manifestation of such a thought process, though I can't say what motivated me to cook a lemon dessert in the first place.  Lemon in sweets always seems a bit of a waste unless accompanied by chocolate, however the pure alchemy of these little souffle cakes, which magically separate in the oven into a thick lemon curd and fluffy lemon souffle cake was impressive.  
Even more so, the poppy cream.  The addition of a few globs of creme fraiche to whipped cream seemed pretty ingenious to me, changing the consistensy, as it did, and flavor from boring old whipped cream to something ever so slightly thicker and with a pleasing tang.

Lemon Soufflé Cakes, adapted from Food and Wine
Serves 6

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup cake flour, sifted

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp crème fraîche
2 tsp poppy seeds

Make the Cakes: Preheat the oven to 350°. Oil six 2/3-cup ramekins with vegetable oil. (I did not have six 2/3 cup ramekins, but rather two, and used smaller pyrex prep bowls for the rest - not as presentable but worked fine) In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until pale, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Working in 2 batches, at low speed, beat in the milk, lemon juice and flour, alternating.

In a large, super clean bowl, beat the egg whites to firm peaks. Fold the whites into the batter until just combined and spoon among the prepared ramekins. Place ramekins in roasting pan or deep cake pan high enough for hot water to reach halfway up the sides. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cakes are slightly puffed and just set. Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight. This is key. 

Make the Lemon Syrup and Poppy Cream: In a small saucepan, combine the lemon zest, juice, and 1/4 cup of sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar has melted, about 3 minutes. 

In a bowl, beat the cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar to soft peaks. Beat in the crème fraîche until firm. Stir in the 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds.

Run a thin knife around the edges and dip each ramekin in a bowl of very hot water for 10 seconds. Invert the cakes onto plates, spoon the lemon syrup around the cakes and top with the poppy cream. Wow guests.  


  1. These guys are gorgeous!

  2. Wow, these look fantastic. The blog is fantastic and looks beautiful too! Well done, looking forward to following it.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.


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