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Let’s Get High! (on Poppy Seed Cake)

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 [1] and Edna Lewis’ Busy Day Cake [2] 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])

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.