Greek Yogurt Lemon Cherry Poppy Seed Loaf

Lemon Cherry Poppy Seed Loaf surrounded by cherries.

Guys, can you believe it’s almost mid-August? Which means that September is right around the corner!! Where did the summer go?

Cherries and lemon zest.

On the radio today they were talking about Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Costco has their Halloween merchandise on display already, and so by next week, I’m sure we’ll have to start thinking about hanging Christmas lights.

Lemon poppy seed batter with cherries.

Even with all the focus on future seasons going on around us, we still wanted to pay one last tribute to one of our favourite summer fruits. Cherries! We’ve brought you a cherry recipe before in the short time that we’ve been friends here, but they are so good we couldn’t resist bringing you one more before we say good-bye to them until next year.

This recipe is slightly more reserved on the sugar side than our previous one, but it’s definitely no wallflower when it comes to flavour! Packed with juicy cherries, lemon zest, poppy seeds, and a cinnamon cardamom streusel, this loaf is the perfect ode to BC summer cherries.

Now, we’re going to be honest here, and mention that the original recipe labels itself as a cake, but if you bake it in a loaf pan, and it looks like a loaf, then chances are you’ve got a loaf on your hands and therefore, something that is perfectly acceptable to eat for breakfast. Right?

In actual fact, this loaf does have a fairly reasonable amount of sugar in it, and gains added moisture from Greek yogurt not oil, so it’s not a complete right-off in the breakfast department. You could totally leave off the streusel, but we thought that the crunchy topping perfumed with cardamom and cinnamon was the perfect finish.

If you’re looking for a baked good to have with your next cup of tea or coffee, or just a way to re-purpose some old cherries that you have hanging around in your kitchen, this is the perfect recipe! Ok, we’re off to research pumpkin spiced baked goods (just kidding!).

Go bake.

Greek Yogurt Lemon Cherry Poppy Seed Loaf

Ingredients:

Streusel:

1/4 cup (35 g) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and cardamom

pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

Loaf:

1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

grated zest of 2 large lemons

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 cup (225 g) plain 2% Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from roughly 1/2 a lemon)

1 1/2 cups (210 g) pitted fresh sweet cherries

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. Make the streusel by mixing 1/4 cup flour, oats, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons poppy seeds, cinnamon, cardamom and salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and stir together until the steusel is in small bits. Set aside.
  3. To make the loaf, whisk the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds and salt together in a small bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and lemon zest with a spoon, encouraging the lemon oil to saturate the sugar (it should smell heavnly at this point). Whisk in the oil, eggs, yogurt, and lemon juice. Add the flour mixture all at once, stirring with a large spoon or rubber spatula until it’s almost completely incorporated. Fold in half of the cherries and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Dot the remaining cherries over the top of the batter and then sprinkle with the streusel. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown on top and it feels set in the center, about 45-55 minutes.
  6. Let the loaf cool on a wire rack. When cool, run a knife almong the outside of the cake to help it release from the pan and tip the loaf gently out of the pan.

Inspired by this recipe.

Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake with Blueberries

We have been going through a major heat wave here in Victoria. Temperatures have been in the 30 degree celsius range which means that by 3 or 4 PM everyone is just barely hanging on to their patience and you’re doing your best not to have your legs stick to your chair too badly. Cheesecake helps.

Also, if you can get to a lake or the ocean it is absolute bliss. Thankfully, we live on an island so there is (almost) always a breeze that takes the edge off the heat.  In addition, if you haven’t heard, there is also a depressing amount of smoke here that has been blowing over from the wild fires burning on the mainland. It’s an absolutely tragic situation; however, at the same time the smoke is also serving as a buffer to the intensity of the heat. As much as we may appreciate this slight respite from the heat, our thoughts are with those effected by the fires.

Now, let’s move on to something a bit more light-hearted! We were talking about cheesecake earlier, right?! We need to chat about the absolutely divine combination of lemon and blueberry- especially, when you have as many local blueberries available to you as we do here on the west coast. These two flavours complement each other to no end, and make for the perfect dessert when paired with creamy mascarpone and whipped cream.

Our original intent when we made this recipe was for a pie, but once we had doubled the crust recipe (because the crust is obviously one of the best parts!), we quickly realized we were going to have to take some more drastic action and whipped out our 9” springform pan. Then, things got serious.

We whisked together lemon zest, lemon juice, and sweetened condensed milk until a deliciously creamy and tangy mixture was formed.

Then, we whipped heavy cream and icing sugar until it reached billowy peak level, and took things to the next level by adding mascarpone cheese. If you’ve only ever tried mascarpone in classic Italian desserts like tiramisu, you’ve been missing out! It adds a lovely creaminess without the tang of cream cheese, and goes incredibly well with the tartness of lemon.

The filling gets poured into your prepared graham cracker crust, and then guess what? You don’t have to turn on your oven!! You simply put the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours to set and voila! Dessert is served!

Cheesecake on weathered wood.

Go bake.

Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake with Blueberries

Ingredients:

3 cups (400g- 1 pkg.) graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup (52 g) granulated sugar

14 tablespoons (196 g) salted butter, melted

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2  tablespoons lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)*

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup (115 g) icing sugar

340 g (12 oz.) mascarpone cheese

1 pint of blueberries for decorating

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, and melted butter in a medium bowl and mix until combined.
  3. Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom and about 3/4 up the sides of a 9″ spring form pan, then transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. We did not grease our pan and had no trouble getting the sides off; however, if this is something you’re concerned about a little non-stick spray never hurts! Once finished baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest and set aside.
  5. In another large bowl, add the heavy whipping cream and icing sugar. Whip on high speed until very stiff peaks form (about 5-8 minutes depending on what kind of mixer you’re using).
  6. Add the mascarpone cheese to the whipped cream and whip on medium speed until just combined, then continue gently folding together until well combined.
  7. Add about 1/3 of the lemon/sweetened condensed milk mixture to the whipped cream and gently fold, using a spatula or large spoon, to combine. Add the remaining lemon mixutre and gently fold again until it is fully incorporated.
  8. Carefully pour the lemon filling into the cooled pie crust. Smooth out the top and then decorate the top with as many blueberries as you’d like. Cover with plastic wrap and then refrigerate until firm, 4-5 hours (or overnight if you want to play things really safe!).
  9. To serve, gently release the sides of the pan and cut into slices. Enjoy!

*We found that the zest from 2 lemons to be perfect in this cheesecake; however, if you like things really lemony, you might consider using the zest of 3 lemons.

Inspired by this recipe.