wherein we all test positive for heroin, or csb cake: may

20 May

Fear, people.

That was my first reaction when I saw that this month’s cake selection for the Cake Slice Bakers was from the Sky High book of cakes cookbook. Don’t get me wrong, these cakes, from what I’ve seen are delicious and oh-so-pri-tay, but they also involve FROSTING a CAKE.

And we all know how well that goes for me.

Because of my now DEEP! FEAR! AM SKERRED! of frosting cakes, I hemmed and hawed and basically put off making this cake for as long as I could. Okay, a lot of that procrastination also had to do with me being busy and traveling a couple of times this month for work and play, but still. There was a lot of walking in circles in my studio box apartment and wringing of hands and turning over and over in my head the idea of scratching the triple layer cake aspect of it in favor of cupcakes. Again.

But no! NO! I told myself. You need to get over this fear of frosting cakes. You need to get past your issues. You need to move on. YOU NEED TO MAKE THE CAKE AS INSTRUCTED.

Except Interwebers, do I ever do anything as directed? Do I ever do what people tell me to do? Well, yes, actually, sometimes I do. But not in the kitchen! The kitchen is my headquarters, and I am the CEO! AND I MAKE THE RULES!

Plus, I’m still sort of scared about the whole frosting thing. And I don’t want my cake to turn out all fugly and shit.

But I did make the cake as instructed, with one teensy…tiny…miniscule modification on the frosting aspect.

But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Let’s talk about how it tastes.


And poppy seedy!

(Do poppy seeds really taste like anything?) (And I really hope there isn’t some sort of surprise drug test tomorrow.)

Tasty! If you like lemony and poppy seedy things!

I’m helpful!

The frosting was quite sweet, what with the almond extract, but the cream cheese balanced it out nicely, so it wasn’t cloying. And as far as processes go, it’s a pretty easy cake to make and assemble.

Before we get into pictures, let me just say one thing: I’m sorry for the shitty picture quality. I’m just…it’s just….yeah. I’m sorry. My kitchen lighting blows.

So. As I mentioned, I frosted the cake, but I didn’t exactly frost the cake.

There…see what I did there? I didn’t frost the sides. It helped greatly in relieving my fear of frosting cakes. (And no, the cake is not crooked [entirely], I just have problems, apparently, keeping my camera straight when taking pictures.) And it still looks tasty! Is Art!

I debated leaving it like that, all nekkid on top and whatnot, but when I saw how much frosting was leftover, I realized that would have been a crime against humanity.

And I’m not one to be okay with crimes against humanity. Particularly when they involve cream cheese.

I also added some sliced almonds on top of the frosting between layers, as well as on top of the cake (as you can see). I’m not sure if I would do this next time, but it’s certainly not a bad thing. Added a little crunch, but nothing, IMHO, really to the overall almond flavor of the dessert. But it’s pri-tay! IS ART!

Obviously I have overall alignment problems. Whatever! It looks better standing up!



And I think it’s safe to say I’ve gotten over my fear of frosting cakes. For now. As long as I don’t have to frost the sides. Or make it look neat and pretty.

Maybe I should just stick to stuffedcakes.

May’s Cake: Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Almond Frosting

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Almond Frosting

(Recipe from Sky High Irresistible Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne)

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

3 cups cake flour

2 cups sugar

4½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

3 tbsp poppy seeds

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter

1 large lemon, zest and juice

1¼ cups buttermilk*

5 egg whites

1/3 cup water

Poppy seeds or flaked almonds to decorate

Almond Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter

5 cups confectioners sugar

1 tbsp almond extract

* If you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own by stirring 3 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice into each cup of milk and leaving for 10 minutes.


To make the cake, heat the oven to 350F. Grease three 8 inch cake pans and line the bases with parchment paper. Combine the flour, 1¾ cups sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix gently to combine.

Add the butter, lemon zest and 1 cup of buttermilk to the flour. Beat on low until completely mixed. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes until lighter in colour.

In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining ¼ cup buttermilk, whisk to blend thoroughly. Add the egg white mixture to the batter in 2-3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only enough to incorporate the mix. Divide the batter between the three pans.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the centre, and a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out.

While the cake layers are cooling, make a lemon syrup. In a small pan combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Generously brush the cakes with the lemon syrup while they are still warm. Then allow the cakes to cool completely.

To make the frosting, in a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the almond extract and then continue to beat well for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.

To complete the cake, place one layer, top side down, on a cake plate and spread about a fifth of the frosting over the cake to cover evenly. Repeat with the second layer and place the third layer on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish with your choice of flaked almonds or poppy seeds.

Makes 1 x 8inch triple layer cake. Serves 12-16


13 Responses to “wherein we all test positive for heroin, or csb cake: may”

  1. Katie May 21, 2010 at 2:32 AM #

    Well done for conquering your fear of large frosted cakes. I think your cake looks beautiful and not frosting the sides means there is more yummy filling. Well done, it looks fab!

  2. Steph May 21, 2010 at 7:57 AM #

    Ok that looks delicious. Please tell me you will have leftovers to bring to the office on Monday? No? Darn.

    BTW, I had a huge poppy seed bagel yesterday, so if there is a surprise drug test, we can sit in the holding cell together. Score!

  3. Megan (Best of Fates) May 21, 2010 at 9:00 AM #

    Brilliant! I can’t believe I haven’t thought of not frosting the sides before… this is clearly the beginning of a revolution.

  4. Swede May 21, 2010 at 11:03 AM #

    This cake was all things that bakery should be…. pretty to behold and even better on the tongue. The cake itself was moist – not quite light, but not heavy – delectable, I would say – heavily infused with bright lemon flavor.

    The frosting was all the better, fluffy and almondy and great mounds.

    Please make more! I would be happy to make their acquaintance,

  5. steph (whisk/spoon) May 21, 2010 at 12:48 PM #

    that totally counts as frosting the cake! looks beautiful, i think!

  6. Monica H May 21, 2010 at 10:44 PM #

    Molly, what are you talking about? Your cake is definitely NOT “fugly and shit”. It looks great and I’m loving that last picture!

    • mollystrz May 22, 2010 at 9:51 AM #

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Okay, for some reason this totally made me laugh out loud when I read it last night. Thank you for that, Monica! And thank you for the compliments!

  7. Annie May 22, 2010 at 9:38 AM #

    While your cake looks pri-tay, I think you have only half-conquered your fear, young Jedi. Frost an entire cake you will. There is no “try”, only “do”. May the frosting be with you….

    • mollystrz May 22, 2010 at 9:51 AM #

      I have absolute power, ye-eeess….

  8. Denise May 22, 2010 at 9:54 AM #

    All I can think of is a Portillo’s muffin but with cream cheese icing…delish!

    And tell Karl to stop being so descriptive! I’m jealous that he gets to be the taste tester!!! lol

  9. Allison May 23, 2010 at 10:15 AM #

    I happen to like the rustic look of a cake that isn’t frosted ‘traditionally’. And hey, if it still tastes good, what does it matter how it looks? 😉

  10. natalia May 26, 2010 at 12:39 AM #

    Ciao ! I love your tower of goodness !


  1. csb cake june: shenandoah valley blueberry cake « McPolish.com - June 20, 2010

    […] and pleased in reading this month’s recipe to learn that there was no frosting involved, I couldn’t just let it be…plain. Fanciness is my middle […]

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