From time to time, I like to bake the traditional Czech Poppy Seed Cake in Belgium. We, Czechs are crazy about poppy seed! Those of you who have already visited Czech republic, you may have noticed bakeries full of baked goods with poppy seed, we even sprinkle little bread rolls with it! When living abroad, this is one of the things I miss the most. Not that I don’t love croissants and frangipanes, but you get the idea of expat nostalgy for your native food right?
In January, we usually finish the Christmas cookies and after the short break, I feel again like baking! As there is not much seasonal fruit I like to bake cakes with, the Poppy Seed cake comes in hand. It brings me back to my childhood when each Sunday, my mum prepared a cake for a better start of the new week. We woke up on Monday morning, heading to the kitchen and checking what was waiting there. And often it was indeed this poppy seed cake!
So do you fancy trying something Czech with poppy seed? Makovec or the Poppy Seed Cake is a good candidate as it is trivial (if you manage to get ground poppy seed though – try Polish or German groceries if not living in the Czech republic!). And then just make it! It will take you a minimum of your time and you will love it – it is very tasty although not too sweet and definitely not dry! And guess what, there is no butter in the cake! 😉
We love it on Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea or coffee or even for breakfast sometimes. You can make it with a lemon glaze and decorate with red currant, which adds another level to the basic Czech version or you can just make the simple version without any glaze and that will also be nice. Here is the recipe I make often. I hope you may also like it if you give it a chance and if you do, let me know how did you find it!
For the cake:
200 g all-purpose flour
100 g ground poppy seed
1 baking powder
160 g brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. plum butter
240 ml milk
For the icing:
120 g powder sugar
2-3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
red currant for decoration
Preheat oven to 170°C. Prepare a round springform by greasing it with butter and lightly flouring it or use baking paper inside of the form.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and poppy seed and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with sugar until smooth and fluffy, add vanilla extract and plum butter, pour in milk and flour mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Once the cake cools down, you can pour over the icing and decorate it with red currant if you like.