Saturday, May 12, 2012

deborah madison's poppy seed cake

When I got home from work yesterday, the first thing I did was bake this cake.


Actually, that's not entirely true. First I tidied up the apartment, showered, roasted romanesco for dinner, and had Daniel fix me a Campari and soda. And then I baked this cake.

I read about Deborah Madison's poppy seed cake on Luisa Weiss's blog The Wednesday Chef and for some reason, I instantly fixated on it. Odd, because up until yesterday I don't think I'd ever even had poppy seed cake and poppy seed muffins (usually lemon flavored and cloyingly sweet) always left me cold. But for whatever reason, this cake spoke to me. Not a lemon poppy seed cake, but a vanilla poppy seed cake, with a full cup of tiny black seeds that made the batter look almost blue.

We ate big wedges of the cake for dessert and then again this morning for breakfast in bed, with big cups of tea. It was equally good in both circumstances.


Deborah Madison's Poppy Seed Cake, via The Wednesday Chef
Makes one 9-inch round cake
1 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup  unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the poppy seeds and the hot milk. Set aside until needed. Heat the oven to 375ᵒF. Butter and flour a 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high until firm but moist peaks form. Transfer the egg whites to a small mixing bowl. Using the same bowl as for the egg whites, but now using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, then beat in the egg yolks, adding one at a time and beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, as needed.
4. Drain the milk from the poppy seeds, discarding the milk. Add the buttermilk and the drained poppy seeds to the batter. Beat until well combined, then again scrape down the sides of the bowl with the rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture to the batter, in thirds. Again scrape the bowl with the rubber spatula, making sure it’s all well mixed. Fold in about a quarter of the beaten egg whites with the spatula, then fold in the rest, mixing gently until just combined.
5. Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula. Bake until golden and firm, with the sides just beginning to pull away from the pan, about 40-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Carefully run a sharp, thin knife along the sides of the cake, just against the pan, then gently remove the rim and allow the cake to cool to room temperature before slicing.


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