If you've ever been to the Czech Republic, you'll know the joy of kolache, buns or pastries stuffed with poppyseed paste. It's a glorious, unusual filling that once you've tried, you won't be able to get enough of. This recipe came about from weeks of my housemate complaining that lemon and poppyseed cakes just aren't the same without the wonderful, buttery kolache flavour: so here's a cakey hybrid to satisfy those cravings. Czech it out! (Groan, I'm so sorry...)
Ultimate Lemon & Poppyseed Cupcakes (Makes 12-14 depending on size of cases)
For the paste:
- 50g poppy seeds
- 100ml milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the cakes:
- 250g butter, softened
- 250g caster sugar
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 250g self-raising flour
- Zest of 1 lemon
For the topping:
- 250g cream cheese
- 2-3 tbsp icing sugar (to taste)
- Lemon zest to decorate
- Tip the poppyseeds into a small saucepan with the remaining paste ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Heat gently for 15 minutes until reduced and thickened to a syrupy texture.
- Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease the paper cupcake cases and place in a cupcake tin.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, with a tablespoon of flour to stop the mixture from splitting.
- Sift in the remaining flour and fold in gently until just combined.
- Stir in the half of the poppyseed paste (keep the rest for the frosting) and lemon zest.
- Dollop into the paper cases, filling them 2/3 full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and risen and a skewer comes out clean.
- Place on a wire rack to cool.
- Using a sharp knife, cut an inverted cone into the top of the cupcakes. (Oh no! Left over pieces of cake! *scoffs*)
- Place the cream cheese in a bowl along with the icing sugar and beat together.
- Stir in the remaining poppyseed paste.
- Use a piping bag or flat knife to frost the cakes, and decorate with a little lemon zest.