Ukrainian Christmas Poppy Seed Rum Cake Makovyi Torte

READY IN: 2hrs




  • FOR THE CAKE: Pour boiling water over seeds, let stand for 5 minutes, pour off water and repeat.
  • Drain well.
  • Grind with steel blade in processor until seeds release milk and turn white.
  • Butter a 9 inch springform pan and dust it with ground almonds. (This may be done in advance.) Best to butter parchment paper to cover bottom of pan and sprinkle with ground almonds.
  • Place poppy seeds and honey in a large bowl.
  • Separate eggs.
  • Add room-temperature yolks, one by one, to the mix, beating until thick.
  • Stir in grated almonds and lemon zest.
  • Beat egg whites until satiny but no dry.
  • Fold a little into the mixture, then fold in the rest, until no white shows.
  • Pour mixture into pan, rapping it gently to release air pockets, and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 350°F oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  • Do not open oven door or disturb the cake while baking.
  • Cool slowly, not in a draft.
  • Run a sharp knife around the sides, then slowly release the spring.
  • Run a knife under the bottom and cool on rack.
  • TO FILL CAKE: Cover work surface with double sheets of wax paper.
  • With a sharp knife, make a small incision around the torte to mark where it should be cut in half.
  • Make horizontal cuts at four equidistant points, then gently pull a long thread through the cake to cut it into two layers.
  • Sprinkle bottom layer with 2 or 3 tablespoons of rum, and evenly spread rum butter filling about 3/4 inch thick.
  • Cover with top layer and press gently.
  • Cover the sides with the rest of the filling.
  • Refrigerate overnight wrapped in foil.
  • TO ICE CAKE, cover work surface or a lazy susan with wide double-strength foil.
  • Apply a third of the icing to sides with a spatula, pulling from the bottom up.
  • Wipe spatula occasionally to avoid pulling crumbs, and dip in hot water to smooth out ridges.
  • With the rest of the icing, smoothly cover the top.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 days.
  • Run a sharp knife around bottom to release icing from paper.
  • Slide the torte onto one hand, pull off the remaining paper and gently place torte on serving platter, taking care not to crack the icing.
  • Yields about 20 slices.
  • Keeps well in refrigerator.
  • Serve at room temperature.
  • RUM BUTTER FILLING: (Rumova masa) This is an excellent cream, the base of which may be used with different flavors.
  • Here, rum is used.
  • It is used as a filling for the poppy seed torte.
  • This filling can also be used as icing.
  • Cream butter until light, add sugar a little at a time, rum, and cream.
  • Beat until very fluffy.
  • WHITE ICING: Bila Shklytsia.
  • This hard icing dries quickly and forms a lovely cover for a torte.
  • It cures hard, not fluffy.
  • Place 2 cups sugar in a bowl and add cream and vanilla.
  • Mix well, gradually adding the rest of the sugar.
  • Add a little more cream if too stiff.