Caroline’s mum’s poppy seed cake

I don’t like poppy seeds generally but I made this cake as an experiment after Caroline had a few difficulties with the recipe. This cake has changed my attitude towards poppy seeds. Her mum had given her the recipe in traditional Polish measures – a mug of this, half a mug of that – so they had to be translated into modern measurements. I used pounds and ounces because I found it easier but if you want to convert to metric then do so.

The poppy seeds in the batter turn it very dark indeed but don’t worry because that’s how it should look.

Cream 4 egg yolks with 8oz of sugar (I used granulated sugar) then add in 4oz of softened butter or margarine (I used baking margarine) and when mixed sieve in 8oz of self raising flour and 6 to 8oz of poppy seeds. I use a metal spoon when I add the flour as it helps retain the air you’ve beaten in to the mix.

In a separate bowl whisk the four egg whites until they’re stiffish but still a tiny bit liquid – not as stiff as a meringue but peaking a little. Fold them gently into the mix with a metal spoon. This will take time as the mix will be quite stiff – all those poppy seeds!

Pour the mixture into a greased and base line large loaf tin and bake for 35 – 40 minutes at 160 degrees for a fan oven, 170 for ordinary. A skewer will come out clean when it’s done.

Caroline’s mum also adds blanched, chopped almonds and orange peel to the mix.

This cake freezes well but it also sits nicely in a tin for 4 or 5 days if you’re restrained.