1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon extract
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 cups flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand 3 6-by-3-by-2-inch loaf pans. Grease them lightly and dust them with flour, tapping out the excess.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl, or until the batter is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon extract, lemon rind, and poppy seeds.
Add 1 cup of flour to the batter and beat well. Add the buttermilk, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat in the remaining 1 cup flour until the batter is just mixed.
Divide the mixture among the prepared pans and transfer to the hot oven. Bake the cakes for 35 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
Make the syrup.
1/2 cup lemon juice
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and lemon juice and warm them, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat.
When the cakes are done, transfer them to a rack. Leave them in the pans. With a cake tester or toothpick, poke holes all over the tops of the cakes. Brush the tops of the cakes with half of the syrup and let the cakes cool for 15 minutes.
Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and set it over a plate.
Brush the bottoms of the cakes with the remaining syrup and let them cool. Turn the cakes right side up to cool completely.
Wrap the cakes individually.
Makes 3 Small Cakes
By Sheryl Julian and Julie Rosenfeld