Sourdough lemon poppy seed bread cake with lemon icing

The summer has finally and fully settled in. Endless and optimistic warm nights and fresh and serene mornings that I wish I could store in a bottle to smell them later and to feel the focus and power of the new day's beginning. But as much as I feel everything is purposeful, my thoughts are often dispersed in the summer. As though the sun energy needs balancing to bring those thoughts back to me - with bare feet, fresh mountain air, blueberry popsicles, lavender scent and gatherings.

Couple of weeks ago, Saghar from the Lab Noon blog (did you know that Noon in Persian means bread?) invited me to her blog's 1st birthday party. I admit, I had no idea what to bring to the party. /Monologue start/ Sourdough bread? Well, sure, who wouldn't want to have a slice of delicious sourdough bread? But Natasa, it's the birthday party. You know, birthday party - with cakes?  /dramatic pause/ I know, I'll make sourdough bread cake! And to make it even cooler - I'll make sourdough lemon poppy seed bread cake with lemon icing! How party and summery-like is this? /Monologue end/.

So, here it is: spelt sourdough lemon poppy seed bread cake with dairy-free lemon icing - tender and fresh with velvety crumb. Summer at its best.

Happy 1st blog birthday, Lab Noon, to many more! :)

Sourdough lemon poppy seed bread cake with lemon icing

Check out at the bottom of the post who also came to the party and brought delicious cakes + there's a giveaway too! Head over the Lab Noon's birthday post and you might win a pair of handmade cups (shipping available only in Europe).

Now, let's hop to the recipe :)

Sourdough lemon poppy seed bread cake with lemon icing

Lef: poppy seed capsule. Right: poppy flower.

Spelt sourdough lemon poppy seed bread cake with lemon icing
Yields: for 4 people, goes perfect with a cup of tea

Baking schedule:
The dough for sourdough lemon poppy seed bread cake was mixed in the morning, left to rise for 4 hours until doubled in volume, then rolled and left to rise for the second time for another 1.5 hour. Sourdough starter was mixed a night before and left to rise overnight.
TIP: If you would like to make the cake during the week when you are at work, mix and knead the dough in the morning and then just make sure you leave the dough to rise at the temperature to have the dough doubled in volume when you come home from work. Afterwards, continue as written.

Ingredients for the dough:
225 g white spelt flour
100 g active white spelt sourdough starter
80 g milk (or any other milk of your choice - walnut, almond, oat)*
2 tablespoon honey (I used acacia honey which has quite neutral taste, you could also use floral honey)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon lemon peel
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
35 g fat (I used 20 g of butter and 15 g of lemon peel infused olive oil that tastes like a liquid lemon peel :))
4 g fine sea salt

* Pay attention to how much water your flour absorbs. In my experience, white spelt flour absorbs less than white wheat flour. I advise you to start with less flour and continue to add more if necessary. The dough should be more relatively soft and kneadable.

Ingredients for the vegan and refined sugar-free and dairy-free lemon icing (adopted from here):
6 tablespoons melted coconut oil
70 g almond milk at the room temperature
few drops of liquid stevia or sweeten to your taste (with honey)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut flour (I powdered shredded coconut in a coffee grinder)

Other: 10 ice cubes for steam during the bake
lemon peel for decoration

Instructions for the bread cake:

1. The night before preparing the walnut swirl bread, mix 50 g of white spelt flour, 50 g of water and 1 tablespoon of your active sourdough starter. Leave to ferment overnight or until risen and bubbly on the surface.

2. In the morning, dissolve all of your starter in the milk. Add honey, lemon juice, lemon peel fat, salt and mix well. Add 225 g of flour and knead the dough until all ingredients come together. The dough will be quite soft.  Then knead the dough for 6-8 more minutes until the dough becomes smooth. Transfer it to a clean and slightly greased bowl and leave to rise until doubled in volume. It took 4 hours for my dough to double at the 26°C/78°F - that's in the summer, it might take longer in the winter. If you want to speed up the fermentation, add more starter or place the bowl to a warm place like quickly heated and switched off oven.
+ I like to use cylinder shaped bowls/containers, because I know exactly when the dough has doubled in volume and it is ready for the next step.

3. Just before you see your dough getting doubled in volume, prepare your baking dish - coat it with fat (butter, coconut oil) and sprinkle it with flour.

4. When the dough has doubled, use a plastic scraper to take it on a working surface and shape it into a ball - dust the dough's surface, turn it upside down and fold it in half, than use your palms to rotate the dough. Leave it to rest for at least 10 minutes so you will be able to roll it easily as the dough will not shrink back.

5. Roll the dough on a floured kitchen cloth to be about half centimeter thick and to be as long as the inner perimeter of your baking dish (use a piece of string to measure it). Start rolling the dough tightly at the longer side near you. When done, carefully transfer it to a baking dish seam-side down and make sure you tuck the ends together.

Sourdough lemon poppy seed bread cake with lemon icing

7. Leave the dough to rise again. It took my dough 1.5 hour to be fully proofed. How will you know the dough is ready to be put in the oven? Make an indent with your finger and observe the reaction - if the indent springs back quickly, leave it to rise a little bit more. If it comes back slowly, you will know it's ready to be put in the oven.

8. At least 10 minutes before the bake, preheat your oven to 200°C (392°F) along with baking pan that you put on the lower rack.

9. When ready, place the baking dish into oven, throw ice cubes on the baking pan and close the door. Bake the roll for 15 minutes at 200°C (392°F), 20 minutes at 180°C (356°F) and for another hour at 160°C (320°F). The top crust should be brown, but most importantly make sure the bottom is also baked. My oven is quite tricky, so I had to take the roll out of the baking dish after one hour and bake it on a baking pan afterwards to brown the bottom as well.

10. When baked, let it cool for at least an hour before you decorate it with the lemon icing.  The crumb should be soft and airy with small bubbles and the bread should feel very light in your hands. These are the signs your dough was perfectly fermented.

Instructions for the lemon icing:

Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend well until smooth. Pour over the cooled sourdough lemon poppy seed bread cake and enjoy every slice of it ;)


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Foodistan | Cherry clafoutis (French & English)
cocinayletras | Torta della nonna. Lab Noon's Birthday (Eng-Ita)
Celeste Cucina | Ciambelline alla lavanda con glassa alle more
Foolproof Living | Summer Berry Tart
My kitchen kiosk | Mini chocolate pavlovas with blueberries
Gourmet Project | Earl Grey Tea Mousse & How Food Bloggers Celebrate Birthdays
La Panificatrice Folle | Syllabub ai frutti di bosco
Rustica Retro | Passionfruit Sponge
Vermilion Roots | Pandan coconut cake with kaya
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Persian Foodie | Orange blossom cupcakes

4 thoughts on “Sourdough lemon poppy seed bread cake with lemon icing

  1. Oh dear dear! You know, I’ve had my sourdough starter for 2 years now. I used to bake (at least) once a week. Now almost never, but I’ve managed to keep it alive. I incredibly miss baking with sourdough. Reading your post made me feel like a musician who leaves their instrument behind and then misses it. I really hope I can get the time/mood to get baking again.
    I will start with this recipe. I love it, really. Thank you so much for taking part in Lab Noon’s birthday party. I feel really honored :) <3

  2. Hi Natasa,
    I can’t see when do you add the Poppyseeds? I’m very excited to make this. I have sprouted whole Spelt Flour, have you ever noticed the difference in moisture absorption between sprouted vs. whole or all-purpose flour? Thanks for posting this, I just love lemon poppyseed baked goods! I usually only find almond poppyseed muffins or quickbread which just isn’t as delicious.

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