Tag Archives: cake

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.

Black Forest Cake

1 May

Black Forest Cake

Rare is the occasion that my co-workers and I can all get together and relax, simply being ourselves.  Work, work, work, and play a little seems to be our motto of late, so when we were able to assemble for a wine and cheese night, I had to make something special to end the night.  Wine, cheese, and toasted baguettes flowed, which made for a fun time.

This Black Forest Cake isn’t the true thing, but it captures the spirit very well.  It is missing the crumb coating and multiple thin layers, but the flavors are all there.  The chocolate cake is all chocolate with only a hint of sweetness.  The billowy clouds of whipped cream picks up the slack.  The cherries are gems waiting to burst.  The cake earned rave reviews at the party, and it has now been added to my very shortlist of go-to recipes, having made it two more times for the cool people in my life.

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Adapted from Desserts By the Yard
Makes one 2-layer cake

For the cake

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Whipped Cream Filling and Topping

  • 2.5 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and quartered (frozen works well)

To make the cake, place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pain with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Then spray the parchment paper with cooking spray. This is a delicate cake, so preparing the cake pans is highly recommended.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.

Place the cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of the milk and stir until a smooth paste forms. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

Combine the unsweetened chocolate with the coffee in a heatproof bowel set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Slowly add the sugar, beating until the mixture is light, fluffy, and a creamy white color, about 4 minutes.

Turn the mixer down to medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure that the first egg is completely incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl before adding the second one. Add the vanilla and the melted chocolate. At low speed, add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with the milk and cocoa mixture. When the ingredients are smooth, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Scrape into the prepared pans. Tap the pan lightly on the work surface a few times to get rid of air bubbles. Bake, rotating the pans after the first 10 minutes, for about 20 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly pressed with your finger and cake pulls away from the sides of the pans. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pans, set on a rack. Invert onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and allow to cool completely.

For the filling and topping, beat the heavy cream and sugar in a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until medium-stiff peaks form.

To assemble the cake, take one cake layer and place on serving dish. Spread about 1/2 of the whipped cream on top. Distribute about 1/2 of the cherries in whatever fashion suits your fancy on top of the whipped cream. Now stack the second cake layer on top. Repeat the process with the whipped cream and cherries. Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill before serving.