Okay, so the honest truth is that I had to make this cake a total of four times. Yes, you read that right. Four times before I got it right. I was ready to scream, pull out my hair, denounce pound cakes for life and give up on everything because a little ol’ pound cake was defeating me. This is why I never make pound cake by the way, because I feel like they’re always so difficult, for some unknown reason. It’s not like they require a lot of ingredients or attention for that matter. In theory, they’re kind of simple to make. Yet it’s my baking kryptonite. For those of you that think I never mess up in the kitchen, think again. Even I, with all of the baking experience I have, still make mistakes from time to time. It’s totally normal. In fact I’d be worried if I didn’t mess up because those little hiccups humble me and make me a better cook/baker. So don’t be hard on yourself if things don’t always come out right the first time. Just keep trying.
The very first attempt of this cake, I forgot to toss the blueberries in flour so they all sank to the bottom of the loaf pan, causing a not-so-pretty wet mess at the bottom, forcing me to lose half of the cake to moisture. No good. I clapped my forehead and called myself a dummy for forgetting such a crucial step. Sure I was disappointed, but I started all over again without thinking twice about it. So off Julian went to the grocery store for me and got more blueberries and cream cheese and almonds so that I could go in for round two. I made the cake again, this time a bit faster since I didn’t have to photograph it step by step. I was thankful for that. The second time was also a failure. When I removed my precious pound cake from the oven, the center had completely caved in. I started laughing (masking the irritation) because I haven’t had a cake cave on me in many years since I started baking. I don’t know what happened, maybe I opened the door too soon or maybe there was a movement or loud bang by the oven at some point and it scared my cake into ruin? Who knows. Anyhow, I was ready to give up at this point but Julian (and my mother, through various frustrated phone calls all made by me to her) kept telling me to try again. Believe me I didn’t want to. So there I went off again to the grocery store to buy yet another box of blueberries and cream cheese and almonds and butter this time around and I got home and did it once again. Mind you it’s like 11:30 at night at this point and I’ve made this cake for a total of three times now.
This time around I felt really confident. I told myself this was it, this time it would work. So I made it all again (with my eyes closed practically), poured the batter into the pan, topped it with the streusel and popped it into the oven. I even kiss the pan and said a little prayer before closing the oven door. I crossed my fingers and continued with some other work. I made sure to not make any sudden movements by the oven door, tip-toeing when I needed to, nor did I open it prematurely. This time around, I waited until the time was up. I open the oven door and all I saw was horror. Complete and utter horror. Low and behold, it was the biggest disaster of my entire career. Not only did the cake batter bubble over out of the pan and onto the baking sheet, but it also caved in (big time) and the blueberries sank once again. The trifecta of cake mishaps. I threw the cake away, with the pan, slammed everything shut and went to bed. I lost hope. I started looking at other jobs, getting ready to stop blogging and photographing and baking and cooking altogether—I exaggerate for the effect. Before bed Julian (and through one last phone call with my mother) convince me to not give up and just try again. Take it slower and do it carefully, they said.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I already shared some photos of the process and got you all excited about this cake on instagram, I would’ve just scratched the entire idea and done something else. I realized though, that I couldn’t just leave you guys hanging. I promised you a blueberry pound cake and by George I was going to deliver one. So I woke up super early the next morning, took one last trip to the grocery store for some more blueberries—which I single handedly have kept the blueberry growers rich—and more cream cheese and almonds and a lemon. I get home and start for the fourth time. Although this time around I changed the recipe a bit by removing an egg, adding more butter, losing the baking powder and baking soda and calling it good, making sure to toss those blueberries in flour. I poured it into the pan, topped it with streusel and put it in the oven without much hope. One hour and a half later I had the most perfect pound cake I have ever made/seen. I let it cool (in a kitchen cabinet above the sink because Napoleon has gotten into the bad habit of trying to eat anything in sight) and did the biggest celebratory dance ever known to mankind. That is the story of my adventure of making four pound cakes in less than 24 hours. I have to say though, it all paid off. This cake is pretty epic.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, poppy seeds and spices.
**Note: The spice blend I used was cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, all-spice, cloves and cardamon. They’re the perfect blend for a loaf cake that compliment the blueberries and lemon really nicely.**
Set the dry ingredients off to the side and in a separate bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar. Beat on high for about 3 to 5 minutes or until fluffy.
Stir in the eggs (one at a time) and the vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix until well incorporated, stopping a few times to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Then add in the flour and stir until just incorporated. Save a bit of the flour mixture (about a quarter cup) to toss the blueberries in before adding them to the cake batter. Don’t miss this step or you’ll end up making it again…like I did.
**Tip: Do not over mix the flour at this point because it’ll cause your cake to get tough and dry. I recommend just folding it in with a rubber spatula to make sure you don’t over mix.**
Toss the blueberries in the reserved quarter cup of flour mixture and fold them into the batter. Again, just fold until mixed in evenly.
**Note: Ignore the fact that these blueberries aren’t tossed with flour. This picture was taken during my first attempt at this cake. Let’s pretend that they’re coated in flour.**
Pour the batter into a greased and floured (9-inch) loaf pan.
In a small bowl, make the streusel topping by combining flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, almonds and butter. Rub the butter into the other ingredients with your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Top the cake batter liberally with the streusel topping, making sure to coat the surface completely.
**Note: If you’re making this for someone who is allergic to nuts, or if you simply don’t like nuts in your desserts, or just don’t have almonds, you can totally omit them or use oats instead!**
Bake in a 325ºF oven for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. I’d check it at an hour and 10 and see where it’s at.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about one hour.
After an hour, carefully run a butter knife along the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Then invert it onto the rack (you’ll lose some of the topping, but that’s okay) and then flip it over.
Continue to let it rest on the rack until completely cooled.
**Note: As tempting as warm cake sounds, I promise you that it tastes better once it’s completely cooled. Trust me.**
In the meantime, why not make the cream cheese icing to go on top of the cake? In a medium bowl, whip together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, milk and powdered sugar until fully combined and somewhat pourable. You want it somewhat thick still.
Pour the icing/frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a tiny plain tip, or into a food storage bag and snip off the end. Drizzle the top of the cooled (completely cooled) cake.
As torturous as it sounds, allow the icing to set before slicing. You’ve waited this long to dive in, a little more time won’t hurt.
Cut the cake into thick slices (because no one wants a tiny slice of pound cake) and serve with a bit of coffee, tea or milk for breakfast or an after dinner dessert.
I like serving this cake for dessert because it’s not too sweet, and sometimes after dinner you want a little bit of dessert, but you’re too full to have anything super sweet and decadent. This cake fits the bill nicely, so much so that for the same reason, it’s the perfect breakfast as well. It’s a great treat to have first thing before you start your day, with a cup of coffee as you contemplate about how you don’t want to go to work.
The cake will keep well-wrapped at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you wish to keep it longer, you can either freeze it for later down the road or you can place it in the fridge (well-wrapped) for up to 4 days. Just rewarm it in the microwave for a few seconds or let it come to room temperature.
Who would’ve thought that this Lemon, Poppy Seed and Blueberry Pound Cake was going to cause so much trouble? Don’t let me long story deter you though, I’ve tweaked the recipe and have made it enough times to guarantee you that it’s perfect. It’ll be your new favorite breakfast cake. And if you’d like to share some of you kitchen mishaps, I’d love to read them. Leave a comment down below. Enjoy!
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon all-spice
- ⅛ teaspoon cardamon
- 4 ounces (½ block) cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup blueberries
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- pinch ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces (½ block) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 to 4 teaspoons milk
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease and flour a 9-inch loaf pan, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, poppy seeds, salt and spices. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar on high for about 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, and add in the vanilla and almond extract. Stir to fully combine. Add all the flour mixture (reserving ¼ cup) to the batter and fold in with a rubber spatula until just combined. Toss the blueberries in the reserved flour and add them to the batter. Fold once more. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set aside.
- To make the streusel topping, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on top of the batter and bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 1 hour. Run a knife along the sides of the pan and carefully invert the cake, placing it back on the wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the glaze, cream the ingredients together in a large bowl, adding the milk in 1 teaspoon at a time and mixing until the desired consistency is reached. Drizzle on top of cake and allow to set for a few minutes before slicing. Slice and serve. Cake will keep well-wrapped at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days. Can also be frozen. Enjoy!