In the summer, decadent chocolate cakes, or rich treats aren’t very appealing to me. Baking seems hot and bothersome, but I still end up doing it. So, instead of making heavier flavoured snacks, I opt for fresh flavours. Incorporating fruit is an easy way to add some extra vitamins and minerals into a teatime snack, but lemon has to be one of the best ingredients for making desserts taste like summer.

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One of my favourite cakes that my Mum makes is her lemon poppy seed cake. It can instantly transport me back to my childhood, as it’s one of the cakes that seemed to always be around. The combination of lemon and poppy seed is definitely a match made in heaven. In an effort to still have relatively healthy treats in the house, I wanted to try to recreate the flavours into muffin form. Using whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, and less sugar than most recipes called for, they are an excellent replacement to a sugary cake.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

INGREDIENTS

½ cup sugar
2 medium lemons (you’ll need the zest of both and the juice of one)
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
¼ cup poppy seeds
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine-grain sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¾ cup plain yogurt (Greek yogurt works too)
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ tsp lemon extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 . Grease your muffin pan using butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl. Use your fingers to rub the zest into sugar until the sugar is fragrant and pale yellow throughout.
  3. Whisk in the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a separate, smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, yogurt, egg, vanilla, lemon extract and the juice of one of the lemons.
  5. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use a large spoon to mix the two together. Stir only until the flour is fully incorporated into the liquid.
  6. Divide batter evenly between the 12 muffins cups. The batter will be thick but don’t worry, it’s supposed to be. The cups should not be more than three-fourths full.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  8. Let the muffins cool for five minutes in the muffin pan, then carefully transfer the muffins to a baking rack to cool completely.

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