I find the best cakes to be just plain simple and bare-bones. No bells and whistles, nor frills nor froufrou. I want to celebrate the uniqueness of those few flavor agents that come with their own kicks. This fluffy loaf covers itself with the perfect slightly crunchy crust, yet stays true to keeping its poppy seed notes above all other competing flavors. The poppy seeds do not add much texture to the cake, so that the soft and crumbly true-cake qualities still greet you at every bite.
If you slice the cake into 12 pieces, then each piece contains 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds. Each cake serving contains enough calcium from the poppy seeds—about 5 percent of your daily recommended value—phosphorus, and copper to give you the right minerals to help with bone strength. Along with another calcium-packed ingredient, this cake will be great as a sweet treat to strengthen your bones. So poppy seeds, meet whipping cream. This type of cream is a significant source of calcium. 1 tablespoon of whipping cream has about 1 percent of your daily recommended value. Bake this cake soon if you’ve got a bone to pick with the nutrition content of your desserts, and want to make them bone-friendly!
Poppy Seed Pound Cake
modified from “Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Plum Pluot Compote.” Gourmet Magazine. September 2009.
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened*
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup whipping cream, at room temperature
*Optional: replace 1/2 stick butter with 3/4 cup of whole flax meal for extra fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and an added nuttier taste to your cake.
- Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan.
- Whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of stand mixer or another large bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with whipping cream, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just incorporated.
- Spoon batter into loaf pan, smoothing top.
- Bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out with crumbs adhering, about 1 hour. Cool in pan 30 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert cake onto a rack. Cool completely, right side up.
Serve warm temperature, or warm with fresh butter, vanilla ice cream, or Plum Compote. Bon ap, to strong bones!
Photos courtesy of Flickr members: Auntie P; “Poppy Seed Head.” Caribooooou; “Poppy seeds.”