Top of the Class Poppy Seed Cake

When I first got married I was given a local Junior League Cookbook.  I actually think it was the second cookbook I owned, after Betty Crocker!  The book has weathered the was on the counter when the wine bottle exploded and its pages are tinged as well as frayed, its cover is missing and the spirals are fragile, but I still go to it for those recipes that we fondly remember.  The first time I used poppy seeds was when I made a Poppy Seed Bread from this cookbook.  It quickly became a favorite.

Understandably I was drawn to Dorie Greenspan's Poppy Seed Tea Cake recipe that she shared with NYT Cooking.  How could there possibly be a recipe that would outshine my favorite?  Well, there was absolutely no contest!  A moist cake loaded with poppy seeds and topped with a lemony glaze, Dorie's Poppy Seed Tea Cake is Top of the Class!  

Top of the Class Poppy Seed Cake!

Serves 10

Preheat oven: 350 degrees F.
Prepare 8 1/2 inch loaf pan.
Place the pan on 2 stacked baking sheets or an insulated baking sheet.


5 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus softened butter for the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 Tbsp juice
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/3 cup poppy seeds


1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 to 2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp poppy seeds for sprinkling

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Put the sugar into the large bowl.  Add the lemon zest and rub together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.  Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each.  Mix in the juice and vanilla and then the heavy cream, whisking until smooth.

Add the flour mixture in parts whisking to incorporate each part.  Add the melted butter in two parts, whisking gently.  Using a flexible spatula stir in the poppy seeds.  Scrape the mixture into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes, until the cake has risen and is cracked along the center, and a tester inserted into the deepest section of the cake comes out clean.  Check the cake after 45 minutes and tent with foil if it is darkening too quickly.

Transfer the pan to a rack.  Cool for 5 minutes and then run a table knife around the edges.  Turn the cake out of the pan and then turn upright onto the rack.  Cool to room temperature.

For the glaze, stir the confectioner's sugar and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice until smooth.  If needed, add more juice one drop at a time until the glaze falls slowly from the tip of a spoon.  Spread the glaze evenly over the cooled cake.  Sprinkle with the poppy seeds.  Allow the cake to stand until set.


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