When there’s chores to be done on the weekend, there needs to be a something sweet at the end of it.
The smell of a cake baking in the oven that wafts through the house drowns out the sound of the vacuum cleaner and the vision of washing that awaits… the ending will be delicious.
It’s raining, there’s a mountain of washing to do and I’ve just stripped my bed without any clean sheets to re-make it. Oh well… who needs sheets when you have cake right?!
This Ukranian poppy seed cake in the ‘My neighbours kitchen’ section of Feast magazine caught my eye last month. Most traditional Ukranian poppy seed cakes are iced with a lemon glaze, but this recipe has a chocolate cream icing… even more appealing.
Poppy seeds are used extensively in European and middle Eastern cooking. They’ve always been important in Ukrainian cuisine, and to this day poppies are still found in most Ukrainian gardens.
A little secret all good Ukrainian cooks know: to get the true flavour of the seeds, you must soak them first and for this recipe, they get soaked in a lovely milky bath.
The cake is tender and heavily flecked with tiny poppy seed polkadots, perfectly balanced with the bitter-sweet dark chocolate icing.
Definitely my new favourite cake and the Ukraine has moved up on my travel to-do list.
Enjoying my post-housework treat with the papers and a cup of peppermint tea, I must make mention of my new tea cosy – isn’t he cute? How could you not be happy sitting down to a cup of tea with him. (Check out the other gorgeous hand knitted tea cosies at The Bay Tree on Queen Street, Woollahra)
Ukranian poppy seed cake
Serves: 8; Prep time: 25 minutes (plus overnight refrigeration); Cook time: 1 hour
24og poppy seeds
250ml (1 cup) milk
170g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
180g (1 1/2 cups) almond meal
1 tsp baking poweder
Pinch of salt
– Pour boiling water over 240g (1 1/2 cups) poppy seeds in a bowl. Strain and return to bowl with 250ml (1 cup) milk. Refrigerate overnight, then drain well.
– Preheat oven to 180’C. Beat 150g butter, 1 tsp vanilla and 170g caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
– Beat in 5 egg yolks, one by one. Stir in 180g (1 1/2 cups) almond meal, 1 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt then add poppy seeds.
– Fold in 5 egg whites beaten to stiff peaks, then pour in to a greased, lined, 20cm springform cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until just firm. Stand for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a plate and cool.
– Melt 150g dark chocolate with 125ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream. Cool for 20 minutes, then spread over cake.