Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fredelle and Nina's Poppy Seed Cake

If you're looking for something to win your honey's heart on Valentine's Day, do consider this moist, delicious and oft-requested poppy seed cake.  But you need to comfortable enough with your beloved to engage in a flossing duet, as this cake is so packed with poppy seeds as to make that task de rigueur. (My friend Allen said he counted and found 11,234 poppy seeds in the tiny slice he enjoyed. Not sure how many yards of floss he required.)

This recipe is not from a vintage hand-written card in my collection.  I got it from Joyce Maynard in the 1990s in exchange for signing up for her newsletter or buying one of her books -- the details escape me. And, as there often is, there's a story with the cake. The exact details also escape me, but I think she originally got the recipe from a friend (Nina), made a few changes (adding sour cream and maple syrup) and then made it numerous times for her mother (Fredelle) and family friends while caring for Fredelle during her last weeks and days.

To begin the cake, bring to the boil one cup of poppy seeds and one cup of whole milk.  Take it off the fire, and let the seeds absorb the milk while you prepare the batter.

During the penultimate step of the batter, add the seeds (and whatever milk has not been absorbed). 

This is one of those cakes that require the separation of yolks and whites -- kind of a pain as it involves using an extra bowl to beat the whites, but the technique does lighten the cake enough to make it worthwhile.  I always add some cream of tartar to the whites to ensure they are not overbeaten (and therefore too dry). Fold the whites in, gently, using a spatula.

Spoon or pour the batter into a bundt pan which you've coated with baking spray or greased and floured.

When done, place the pan on a rack for about ten minutes before flipping it over to cool.


Sometimes the cake releases perfectly from the pan (as above).  If it doesn't (as below), don't worry.  

Simply -- and carefully -- remove the cake stuck to the pan and get it back to where it once belonged (can you tell  I'm watching a Beatles special?)

The repaired cake, made a few weeks ago for the DD's birthday, below. At her request, I punched the cake with a lemon glaze (lemon juice and sugar cooked to a syrup).

And now, without further ado, the recipe.  I followed it exactly, but only used a tablespoon each of sour cream and maple syrup.

1 comment:

  1. This might possibly be my father's favorite cake. Thanks for the surprise he will have!