Around mid-February, when it feels like the winter will never end, I get a craving for all things fresh, bright, and summery. Enter the lemon poppy seed pound cake. This bread is moist and bursting with lemon flavor. The poppy seeds add a fun texture and the glaze adds an extra punch of lemon. It’s perfect for breakfast, a mid-morning snack, or any time you’re craving a sweet treat. As always, we love ours paired with a good cup of coffee.
Lemon poppy seed pound cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of 1 1/2 large lemons (~2 tablespoons)
- Juice of 1/2 large lemon (~2 tablespoons)
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
Preheat oven to 325 F and grease and flour an 8″x4″ bread pan.
In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine softened butter and sugar and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy (~3-4 minutes).
Mix in eggs one at a time until just combined. Then mix in vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Alternate adding in half the flour mixture and half of the yogurt, scraping down the sides of the bowl before adding in the remaining. Do not over-mix.
Pour batter in prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove from pan and allow to cool completely.
- Juice of 1/2 large lemon (~2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Add additional juice or sugar as needed to achieve the desired consistency. I also added some lemon zest, because you can’t have too much lemon flavor.
Once cake is cooled, drizzle glaze over the top.
Whenever we don’t feel like packing up the car and driving to the mountains, we explore neighborhoods around town and call it urban hiking.
Mt. Tabor is a park on a dormant volcano located in Southeast Portland. We venture over here every once in a while to walk around the trails and let the dog run around. There are about 5 miles of trails throughout the park and plenty of green space. Cars are only allowed in the lower area of the park and aren’t allowed at all on Wednesdays, so it’s the perfect place to go for a relaxing walk. On a clear day, you get a beautiful view of Mt. Hood from the top of the park.
St. John’s Bridge
We initially planned to walk across the St. John’s Bridge and hike some of the northern trails in Forest Park. We made it about halfway across the bridge before deciding that we’d actually rather walk around the neighborhood since it’s a place we’ve never been before. The bridge itself is a gorgeous piece of architecture, and the area around it was surprisingly lively. We were right near Cathedral Park, which is nestled in an old industrial area of the city right on the Willamette River. The park got its name from the Gothic arches supporting the bridge. We walked along the beach and Snickers had a blast running in the sand and wading in the water. We ended up walking around abandoned warehouses and an eco-industrial space called Green Anchors.
Washington Park in the fall
International Rose Test Garden
Mt. Hood from Washington Park
Washington Park is another large green space in Northwest Portland. We walk here often from our apartment and wander through the neighborhoods on our way to and from. There are amazing houses in the Goose Hollow neighborhood, and you can’t beat an ice cream cone from Salt and Straw in the Alphabet District. Washington Park is also home to the arboretum, the Oregon Zoo, and the International Rose Test Garden to name a few attractions. We haven’t explored the whole park, but we like walking along the trails and through the gardens.
Hoyt Arboretum and Pittock Mansion
At the northwest end of Washington Park lies the Hoyt Arboretum – 190 acres of trees and gardens with 12 miles of trails winding throughout. Portland got a dusting of snow in early February, and we headed here on a Sunday morning while there was still snow on the ground. There are plenty of well-marked trails throughout the park, and we did the 1-hour loop (didn’t actually take us 1 hour; it was about 1 mile long) followed by a 1.5 mile hike on the Wildwood Trail up to the Pittock Mansion. The arboretum and trails were not too difficult and are a great way to get into nature without traveling outside of the city. The Pittock Mansion is a gorgeous structure that sits atop a hill with a magnificent view of downtown Portland and the mountains. It was built in 1909 and purchased by the city of Portland in the 1960s as a historic site.
Or Valentine’s Day, if you celebrate ☺️. Here’s a virtual chocolate strawberry cake – filled with strawberry jam and topped with strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache drips.
We have not done a lot of hiking lately. Between travel and minor surgery (for the dog, she’s fine) we just haven’t gotten out of the city much. We’ve still spent a good amount of time on the trails, but they’ve been ones we’ve done many times before – a perk of living in a city surrounded by great trails. Hopefully we can get back in the swing of things in February.
In mid-January we ventured out to the coast to do a long hike. The weather ended up being perfect – it was sunny and so warm we had to keep shedding layers. The trail is a 7 mile, moderately trafficked out-and-back with an elevation gain of 2,200 ft. It is accessible from both a north and south trailhead; we started on the south side which has the steeper climb. The trail climbed 1.5 miles to the peak where we were treated to sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean before winding down to to an overlook. Even with the elevation, the trail is moderate and the view at the top makes the burning legs worth it.