Should you soak poppy seeds before baking? Or are there other ways to soften them?
It’s not a requirement to soak poppy seeds before baking, but it does have several benefits. The seeds have a hard outer shell that many people find hard to digest; soaking helps to soften that shell. Softening that shell also allows for better release of flavor and nutrients. If you do choose to soak your seeds, use water, milk or the same oil that the recipe calls for (canola oil in this case). Heat the soaking liquid first, then add the seeds and let them sit for at least 30 minutes.
What other lemon bread variations can I try?
Lemon goes beautifully with almost anything, so you have lots of options! The bright zing of lemon provides nice to earthy flavors like the poppyseed here, nuts and herbs. Try our Pecan Lemon Loaf
or Lemon-Thyme Tea Bread
. In the summer, when blueberries are in season, Lemon Blueberry Bread
is a delicious treat.
How can I make this recipe without cake mix?
This recipe calls for a cake mix from a box, but if you don’t have a mix—or just would rather work from scratch—you can use our homemade substitute for a commercial mix
using pantry ingredients (shortening, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt). The recipe makes 11 cups of mix, enough for three cakes, and keeps in your pantry for up to three months, so you’ll be set to make this recipe again whenever you like. —Hazel Wheaton, Taste of Home Editor