Prep 40 mins
Cook 1 hr
Drizzled with a delicious brandied citrus glaze and served atop a fancy cut crystal pedestal cake stand that's strewn with rose petals and fresh lavender flowers, this solid, satisfying poppy seed cake makes a fitting tribute to a hearty traditional Victorian High Tea. Adapted from "Having Tea" by Tricia Foley.
- 1⁄2 cup dark poppy seed
- 1⁄2 cup milk
- 3⁄4 lb unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 2 tablespoons grated lime rind
- 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
- 1 teaspoon dried lavender, powder (optional)
- 8 eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 2 cups sifted cake flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1⁄4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1⁄3 cup superfine sugar
- fresh organic lavender flowers (or roses, for garnish)
- Soak the poppy seeds in the milk for 4 hours or more. Rinse the seeds under cold running water, and then drain well.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan or a 10-inch tube pan.
- Cream the butter and gradually beat in 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar. Beat in the brandy, grated lime and orange rinds, lavender powder and poppy seeds. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Continue beating for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is very light and creamy.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff but not dry.
- Sift the flour and salt over the egg yolk mixture a third at a time, folding in after each addition. Gently fold in a quarter of the egg whites; then fold in the rest.
- Pour the batter carefully into the prepared pan. Bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean when tested in the center. If you like a tangy cake,make a syrup by combining the lime juice and orange juice (and brandy!) in a glass measuring cup; stir in the superfine sugar until it has completely dissolved.
- Immediately upon removing from the oven, prick the top of the cake with a long-tined fork or thin skewer and pour the citrus-brandy syrup all over the top to cover it completely. Allow syrup to soak in and let stand until cool, about 1 hour, before removing pan. Place cake on serving platter and garnish with sprigs of fresh edible flowers.