Poppy Seed Cake

Poppy Seed Cake

This cake is like a little black dress: you can dress it up or down. A nice thick slice with a cup ‘o’ tea on a weekday morning. Or a thinner toasted slice, with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and handful of sliced strawberries on a weekend – with a glass of sweet bubbly.

Baking the Poppy Seed Cake

Deborah Madison’s Poppy Seed Cake

Adapted from The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone



  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.

Coffee Pairing

If you are a coffee drinker like me, please do me a favor and have a slice of this cake with a cup of this coffee or this tea.

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