Orange Poppy Seed Cake

10 May

Orange Poppy Seed Cake

Springtime is finally here.  I am sleeping with my windows open.  People are sunning themselves and enjoying cups of coffee on patios all around the city.  And poppy seeds are sparkling in my baked goods.  All is great in my world.

Poppy seeds inevitably catch my attention.  If it has poppy seeds in it, I’m eating it.  The mere thought of them enlivens my mood.  Just saying “poppy” makes me smile and salivate.  Though usually paired with lemon, I wanted to mix things up a bit.  I can pretend that my spur of creativity was caused by the desire to make something new, but I was mainly driven by the surplus of oranges in my house.  While lemons are a brighter companion to the poppy seeds, the oranges provided for a deeper, more subtle flavor.  The orange allows the poppy seeds to shine front and center compared to lemons, which always draw the focus of one’s taste buds.  This tender little cake is a nice change and pick me up in the afternoon with some tea and plenty of sunshine.

Orange Poppy Seed Cake

Orange Poppy Seed Cake

1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 extra large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of orange zest
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon whole milk
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice

Prepare a loaf pan by spraying with vegetable or baking spray. Set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside. In a small bowl, mix the poppy seeds and whole milk.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk the olive oil and sugar until homogenous and smooth.  Add the egg and beat until completely incorporated.  Next, add the vanilla extract and orange zest.

Gently fold in 1/3 of the dry  ingredients into the oil-sugar mix.  Then mix in 1/2 of the milk mixture and orange juice.  Keep on alternating with the dry and wet ingredients, ending with the flour mix.  Use gentle motions when combining and be careful not to over-mix.  A few streaks of flour is okay.  Anything with poppy seed deserves some care.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and place in the middle of the oven.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the top of the loaf springs back when pressed upon and when a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with a couple of soft crumbs.  Move to a cooling rack, leaving the cake in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before removing and cooling to room temperature.  The cake is best fresh out of the oven but will be good for 2-3 days if wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature.

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