The flavours of almond and lemon merge beautifully in this soft and fluffy Almond Lemon Poke Cake. This perfect Spring treat is just what you need for your next gathering.
I’m onto a winner here. I had never heard of poke cake until I started Sugar Salt Magic but when I did, I was intrigued. A poke cake starts with, well cake of course, and only an inch or so thick. When it finishes baking, you poke holes all over it and while it’s still warm, pour over some kind of glaze / frosting / gooey thick, oozy syrup, then top it off with some tasty buttercream / ganache / meringue frosting. Take your pick. Seriously, there are a myriad of possibilities. I’m not going to do the math, because quite frankly, it’ll just make my brain hurt.
Side note, I learnt how to use myriad in a sentence. Yay for me! Learning something new every day. Now I can put that confusion over “Is it a myriad or just myriad?” to rest. Am I the only one who has always been confused by that word and never worked out how it should actually be used? Instead, skirting around it and finding any other adjective possible to avoid the dreaded ‘myriad’? Surely not. Well, case solved. You can use either. Are you for real????? All this time and I could have used either! If only I’d known. All those lost opportunities to use a word that it seems everyone around me can comfortably use without a second thought. OK, I feel better now. Thank you for listening 🙂
Back to Almond and Lemon Poke Cake. Let me tell you, if you want an easy, delicious go to afternoon tea cake, then this is it. The sky’s the absolute limit. So, what’s your favourite flavour, what’s your favourite colour and what’s your favourite sauce? You can put it all together in one fabulous little poke cake. Actually, it’s a big cake because this recipe makes a sheet cake about 25cm x 40cm (otherwise known as 24 mouthwatering lemony, almondy slices). You can thank me later 🙂
So you can’t see the poke holes with the lemon glaze oozing down in the photos but I promise they are there. See?
My poke cake recipe uses a combination of almond extract and sliced almonds for topping, but strangely I didn’t add any almond meal / almond flour to the cake batter. It doesn’t need it, though. The extract and crunchy almonds on top do the trick perfectly.
The cake batter is a vanilla and almond combination. See all those lovely little black dots in the cake above. I normally use Queen vanilla paste but for this one I found this gorgeous little jar of black gold in my favourite deli! A bit pricey but wow, this stuff is intense. Neither of these companies know I exist by the way, I just thought it may be helpful for you to know what I use.
The lemon comes in 2 forms –
- The glaze that tops the cake when it is straight out of the oven and
- Zest in the creamy frosting.
Now let’s talk about this frosting. This is my most favourite EVER frosting. Ermine frosting. AKA flour buttercream, cooked milk frosting or boiled milk frosting. Whatever you want to call it, you must make it. It’s the creamiest, silkiest frosting. Like fluffy clouds of frosting. It’s not as sickly sweet as traditional buttercream either so no sugar comas here. That’s because it uses a cooked milk and flour paste as a base along with the butter. Just hang in there. Give it a try. I promise you’ll understand once you taste it. I plan to do a post just on Ermine frosting in the near future and you can see me banging on about it more here in my Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes and here in my Cookies & Cream Cupcakes. Good stuff.
Anyway, who wants the recipe? Please read on. Also, I’d love to hear what your favourite flavour combinations are. Maybe I could set myself a little challenge to test as many of the flavour combinations you all provide (now be sensible, please 🙂 ) and then post the results. Sounds fun.
For the cake
- 1 cup (230g / 2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) white sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- 2 2/3 cups (340g) plain (AP) flour (spooned and measured carefully)
- 1/3 cup cornflour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temp
For the Lemon Glaze
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
For the Topping
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoon plain flour - (note 1)
- 230 g butter, at room temp
- 1 cup caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 teaspoon lemon zest (split in half)
- ¼ cup sliced natural almonds.
- Start with the cake: Grease and flour a large baking tin approximately 25cm x 38cm. Line the base with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 160C (320F).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Scrape down the bowl from time to time. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well between each. Add the vanilla and almond extracts.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cornflour, salt and baking powder. With the stand mixer on the lowest speed, add 1/3 of the flour mix until just mixed. Now add half of the buttermilk. Follow with flour again, then buttermilk and the last of the flour mixing only until just incorporated. (if you overmix at this point, the cake won't be light and fluffy). Pour the batter into the prepared tin, smooth out and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the edges are golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice to make the lemon glaze.
- As soon as you take the cake out of the oven, make holes all over with the end of a wooden spoon or I used a couple of skewers held together and wiggled them around to make the holes a little bigger. Pour and spread the lemon glaze all over and make sure it seeps down into the holes. Set aside to cool.
- For the frosting, whisk the milk and flour together in a small saucepan over a low heat. Keep whisking until it thickens. It needs to be quite thick like a thick custard. Cool this mix completely before using it in the frosting. You can cool it quickly by pouring it into a cool bowl (cover with plastic wrap so that it doesn't form a skin) and placing in the fridge or freezer.
- Once the milk and flour mix and cake are all cool, beat together the butter and sugar until really light and creamy. About 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl a few times through the process. Add the milk mixture to the butter and sugar and beat for another 5-7 minutes. If it looks like it separates near the start, don't worry, just keep on beating. It will all come together into a beautiful, almost whipped cream looking frosting. Finally add the almond extract, vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest and pinch of salt and beat until incorporated.
- Spread the frosting all over your cake and then sprinkle the top with sliced almonds and the rest of the lemon zest.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml Tablespoon