This is my husband’s favorite cake that his mom made for his birthday every year. The recipe comes from his family, even his grandmother made it and it is now my favorite cake, too. I’m so glad I got the recipe before my mother-in-law died so I can continue this tradition and now my kids like it too. When I talked to his cousins they all raved about this cake, the poppy seed cake … it was so funny to hear. No surprise they all think it is the best cake on Earth … it is moist, crunchy and delicious …
This cake takes some time and patience to make but is not too difficult. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature, it should be around 70F. The recipe has three parts: the dough, the vanilla creme (creme patisserie) and the chocolate ganache. Please read the following notes on how to make the cake.
The dough requires sifted flour. Sifting flour is an easy process, cooks generally use a flour sifter. If you don’t have one no worries, you can use a strainer or a wire wisk. The idea is to get air into the flour. Then once sifted, measure out the 2 cups and return the extra flour into the flour bin.
You need a 9″ round cake form. For a long time I only had one cake form and I was fine. I just had to wait until the form cooled off after baking the first batch. I ended up buying a second one a few years ago. It is nice to have two but you can get by with only one.
The vanilla creme is pretty straight forward. I used a double boiler to cook the ingredients. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a metal bowl that fits on the top of the bottom pot securely but does not touch the bottom of the pot.
The chocolate ganacche is what brings all the ingredients, the cake together. I like to make it a little softer than it is usually made. It should stick to the surface but does not have to be hard. Also, the sweetness of the chocolate is a personal preference. I like the semi-sweet chocolate personally but you can use whatever you prefer, of course.
Makes about 10 slices
- 2/3 cup whole poppyseed
- 1 cup milk, divided
- 12 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 -1 cup of sugar (to taste)
- 2 cups of SIFTED flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 egg whites (save 3 yolks for creme)
- 1 cup milk
- 3 egg yolk (saved from earlier step)
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 6 oz baking chocolate
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Please check notes above for more info on how to make this cake.
Making the dough
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Have all ingredients at room tepmerature (70F).
- Soak the poppy seed in 3/4 cup milk for 2 hours.
- Cream butter with sugar. Set aside.
- The amount of flour used is for sifted flour. Sift flour, baking powder, salt.
- Add poppy seed mixture, butter/sugar mixture, vanilla and the remaining 1/4 cup of milk to the flour gradually. Do not overmix. Set aside.
- Beat the four egg whites on high speed untill stiff.
- Gently fold egg whites into the dough.
- Seperate dough between two seperate greased and floured 9″ cake forms.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted tooth pick comes out clean.
Making the vanilla patisserie
- In a double boiler, bring milk to a boil over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, wisk the three egg yolks, sugar together. Add flour, mix. Add warm milk gradually and mix.
- Pour mixture back into the double boiler pot and cook over high heat. Wisk continuously for about 5 minutes or until mixture thickens.
- Take off heat and add vanilla.
- Let it cool.
Making the chocolate ganacche
You can use the clean double boiler here again. Melt the chocolate and add the heavy cream. Mix.
Assembling the cake
- Place the vanilla creme in-between the two cake layers. Make sure vanilla creme is cooled off. Spread chocolate ganacche on the top.
- Decorate the top to your liking.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.