Myth Busters taught me that eating too many poppy seeds can actually cause a false-positive reading on a drug test. Thus proving the plot of countless sitcoms to be more plausible than previously imagined. But I have yet to meet anyone personally effected by the potent little seeds (if you failed a drug test because of poppy seeds- please, please let us know! comment!). Drug tests be damned, I love poppy seeds.
Growing up in a Polish family in Chicago, they most often arrived in products from our favorite bakeries: poppy seed kolachky, paczki, coffee cakes. They were all delightful. The most common application in baking is probably the ubiquitous lemon poppy seed muffin, which I can take or leave. My favorite pairing is poppy seed and almond, which this cake recipe expertly showcases.
This poppy seed cake is so crazy delicious that I almost didn’t know what to do. Well, I ate it. All of it! In like two days! You are probably starting to understand what I like in a cake. This beauty, the caramel cake and Edna Lewis’ Busy Day Cake are all variations on each other, but each is amazing in its own way. I don’t need heaps of frosting or multiple layers to make me happy.
This will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. Enjoy!
Poppy Seed Cake (recipe from Lauren Chattman via Food & Wine)
- 3/4 cup poppy seeds
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the poppy seeds and cover. Let stand for 1 hour. Scrape the seeds into a blender and pulse until lightly crushed.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/3 cups of flour with the baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with the granulated sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the poppy seed mixture and beat at medium speed until just combined. Add the eggs to the batter one at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar, cut into squares and serve.