Baking a Poppy Seed Cake

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Seeing how I neglected my blog and reinforced with the will of conquering the internet through my charm, I will now set out on the grand adventure of baking a Flourless Poppy Seed Cake.

Off to Sainsbury!

So yes, I am now editing only one day later. It was quite challenging, it seems, to bake such a simple recipe.

The Great Poppy Adventure

As I was strolling happily through Sainsbury’s, my little blue basket in hand, picking up the wonderful spoils of baking ingredients, the horror happened. On the shelf with all the wonderful ingredients from prunes to dried apples and macadamia nuts, there was no poppy seeds. None. So I decided to come back the next day.

None again. Fine, I told myself, I will just go to the Co-Operative next-door. Then Marks & Spencers. Lidl. 4 Indian shops. There was no poppy seed in sight. And I find it peculiar – for a city where one can find dozens of types of sugar, you cannot find poppy seeds. Yet surely they are something basic.

Eventually I had to enter a little Halal Meat Butchery on the way home. I don’t consider myself to be racist or any of the sort, but I must say the minute I entered the little shop, me and my other white friend, were encountered by some stern figures asking in an unpleasant voice “What do you want?”. Surely, white people should be able to enter halal shops without having cast upon them such dislike and feeling of discomfort…

Back to the cooking

Once I found the poppy seeds, it was all more or less easy.

Ingredients

– 60 grams butter, softened
– 60 grams whole almond butter (or other smooth nut butter)
– 125 grams light brown raw cane sugar (I replaced this with brown sugar)
– the zest of an organic orange, finely grated
– 4 eggs, separated
– 100 grams ground almonds
– 200 grams  poppy seeds
– a good pinch of salt

Mixing them up

1. Preheat the oven at 180° C (350° F) and grease a 20-cm (8-inch in diameter and 2-inch-deep) round cake pan. I always do this although surely the oven is on for much more than it would need to actually get hot enough. Oh well, we’re not saving the rainforest today, are we?

2. In a large bowl, combine the butter, almond butter, sugar and orange zest together. It should be beaten with an electric mixer until it’s consistency is creamy. It should also smell quite nicely of nuts and a dash of orange – keep in mind not to ‘taste’ it too much or you’ll have nothing to make the cake with. Add the yolks and beat the mixture for a good couple of minutes more, until it is all incorporated.

3. Meanwhile, put the poppy seeds in a pan and pour some milk with it. Bring the milk to a boil – this should bring out the flavour in the poppy. Mix them up with the ground almonds.

4. In another clean bowl, beat the egg whites and the pinch of salt until they’re white and stick to the bottom. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down (I never actually go that far, don’t want to risk anything) and the eggs should not move. At all.

5. Fold 1/3 of the yolks with the buttery mixture, then add 1/2 of the poppy-almond mix to it all. Fold it in gently, making sure you get in as much air as you can. Redo this process: 1/3 yolks, the rest of the poppy-almonds. Then add the final yolks and voila, you are ready to pour it into the cake pan!

6. It’s that happy moment when you get to put that baby in the oven. Adjust timer for 30 minutes, then sit back, relax, and read some other posts on my blog. Leave the cake for 10 more minutes after it bakes in the oven and then take it out and cool it down. Greedy fingers get burned.

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