I have a weakness for any baked product that contains poppy seeds; probably because of the flavor and texture they add.
Poppy seeds are commonly used in baking in Central and Eastern Europe (strudel, cookies, breads or added to salad dressings). We are familiar with black poppy seeds, but there is also a white variety commonly used in India ( you can find them in Asian stores).
For this post I made a cake from Italy’s Alto Adige region. It is a rich, moist cake and combination of nuts and poppy seeds make it hard for me to stop with just one slice.
This cake is an example of the influence that Austrian cousine has had in this Northern part of Italy.
It is important to mention that before using poppy seeds in cakes they have to be crushed or ground, so they can release their flavor. I use a coffee grinder.
- 180g butter, room temperature, plus extra for tin
- 180g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 5 eggs room temperature, separated
- 140g hazelnut, ground
- 140g poppy-seed
- icing sugar for decoration
- flour for tin
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F.
Lightly butter then line the bottom of cake pan with baking paper. I used 18cm (7 in) tin with loose bottom. Then lightly coat entire inside surface with butter and sprinkle with flour.
In a coffee grinder grind the poppy seeds in batches until finely ground, but be careful not to turn it into paste.
Mix together ground poppy seeds and ground hazelnut.
Put the butter, 3/4 of measured sugar and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Beat together until pale and light.
Lightly beat the egg yolks and add them slowly to the butter mixture making sure they are incorporated after each addition.
Fold in poppy seeds and hazelnut mixture.
In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat until stiff and glossy.
Fold small amount of egg whites into butter to loosen it then carefully fold the rest of egg whites.Pour the mixture into the tin.
Place the cake tin in the middle of the oven, and bake about 55 min. Take out of the oven and cool for 10 min. Take cake out of the tin and cool on a wire rack, then peel the baking paper.
Cake will deflate slightly when cooled. Invert the cake on the plate and sprinkle with some icing sugar for decoration.