Grandma’s Old Fashioned Poppy Seed Cake

Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Poppy Seed Cake.

One of the things I love to do around my birthday is bake Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Poppy Seed Cake.

Having a birthday so close after Christmas, when everyone is really “over” sweets, Grandma made this simple cake for my birthday every year for as long as I can remember until she passed away.

May sound kind of strange that I like to bake my own cake these days, but I really do.  For me, it’s more than baking.  It’s reminiscing.  It’s sweet, loving memories.  It’s kind of a tribute to my Stella Star.

I use Grandma’s old tin measuring cup as I measure out the flour and sugar.  I grease and flour the pan – a square tube pan – because that is the way Grandma did it.   I crack eggs and stir and think of conversations Grandma and I had in the kitchen while she cooked and baked.  I put it in the oven and wait for the smell…. That smell that takes me right there to her kitchen.  Right back to that feeling of comfort and peace and unconditional love.

So yep – baking my cake gives me almost as much joy as eating it!

I love the way the outside is crisp and crunchy, and the inside is tender and moist and just a little sweet, but packed full of flavor.

This is a very basic cake.  A cake likely made in times when ingredients were simple, money was tight, and everything was made from scratch with love.  And I love it!

Do you have a recipe like this that is just as much of a memory as it is something to eat?  Something that is a ritual of love?

Here is our recipe:

Grandma's Easy Poppy Seed Cake

  • Servings: One Yummy Cake
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 cup poppy seeds
DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 10 inch tube or bundt pan.
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.
Make a well in the center and add eggs, vanilla, oil, and milk.  Mix well.
Fold in poppy seeds.
Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn onto rack to cool.

When cool, sprinkle generously with sifted powdered sugar.

Enjoy!
Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.

If you know me at all, you know Poppy Seed Cake is my favorite of all cakes.

Unusual to most I’m guessing, but most significant to me because my Grandma always made it for my birthday (New Year’s Eve) since everyone is just about over it with sweets by then after the holidays.

I had some fresh strawberries that were on the verge of going bad and lemon on the brain from a cookie I was making for the wedding cookie table, so I decided to whip up and “zip” up a poppy seed cake for Easter Sunday.

A bit of tart and sweet lemon zest in the batter along with chunks of juicy red-ripe strawberries and a thin lemon glaze really “Spring”ed up my usual wintertime poppy seed cake craving.

Hubby loved his with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and an extra handful of fresh strawberries on top.

If you are looking for a fresh, not too sweet, but yummy Spring cake to serve, give this one a try.  It is truly delightful!

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Poppy Seed Cake*

  • Servings: 1 marvelous cake
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1/4  cup poppy seeds
  • Glaze:
    • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 Tbsp milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease and flour a fluted cake pan or your favorite.

In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter, sugar, and lemon zest.  Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating.  Add milk, yogurt and vanilla next.  Stir in dry ingredients until combined.  Gently stir in strawberries and poppy seeds.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cake test inserted comes out clean.

Prepare glaze by mixing lemon juice and powdered sugar until sugar is completely dissolved, then stir in milk until smooth.   Set aside.

Cool cake for at least 20 minutes before drizzling with glaze.

Serve with additional fresh strawberries and ice cream, if desired.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Adapted from a recipe found on BakerbyNature.com

Fresh Poppy Seed Vinaigrette Cole Slaw

Fresh Poppyseed Viniagrette Cole Slaw

If you are looking for a fresh, bright, colorful, crunchy salad, I hope you will give my favorite version of cabbage slaw or cole slaw a try.

I so prefer a bright, light vinaigrette on my cole slaw to the heavier mayonnaise-based version.  How about you?

Fresh Poppyseed Viniagrette Cole Slaw 2

This salad goes well with so many Spring and Summertime meals (and if you live in or near Pittsburgh like me – you can even use it as as an addition to your actual cheese steak or burger like our famous Primanti’s Brothers does!)

I made this last night as our salad with a kielbasa potato skillet hash and steamed broccoli, and we all had seconds!

Here’s my recipe if you’d like to give it a try.

Fresh Poppy Seed Vinaigrette Cole Slaw

Ingredients:Fresh Poppyseed Viniagrette Cole Slaw 2

  • 4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2  tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 large head or 1 small head (approx. 4 cups) shredded green cabbage
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 2 stalks of celery,  minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet red, yellow, or orange peppers

Whisk vinegar,  oil, sugar, dry mustard, poppy seeds, black pepper, salt, and hot pepper sauce in a bowl, stirring until sugar has dissolved.

Mix cabbage and vegetables in a large salad bowl and pour dressing over slaw. Stir to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Lemon Poppy Seed Biscotti

lemon poppy seed biscotti cover

Yesterday was the first day of Spring…

lemon poppy seed biscotti

and it snowed here in Mars!

lemon poppy seed biscotti 3

So I decided to make something bright and sunny and lemony…

lemon poppy seed biscotti 2

to dunk in my steaming cup of coffee by the warmth of a fire.

I’ve never made biscotti before, so decided it would be fun to try.  I love poppy seed, and it is so wonderful with lemon.

I found and slightly adapted a recipe from Lynn at FreshAprilFlowers, and I really enjoyed it.

This would make a wonderful Easter or hostess gift for coffee and tea lovers.

Lemon Poppy Seed Biscotti

Ingredients:lemon poppy seed biscotti cover
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • juice of one lemon, divided
  • 1 and ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • Egg Wash: 1 large egg, beaten with remaining lemon juice
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place sugar in a medium bowl and add the lemon zest. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until all of the zest has been incorporated and most of the sugar is pale yellow. Whisk in the butter, oil, egg, vanilla extract, and 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice.

In a large bowl, toss together flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until combined.

Turn dough out onto baking sheet and pat dough into a rectangle about ½” thick ( approximately 6″ x 7 ½”.   The dough will be a bit dry and crumbly, but can be pressed together.

Brush egg wash on top and on sides of the dough.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the top and sides are lightly browned. Remove from the oven, but do not turn off the heat.

Place baking sheet on a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Once the dough is cool enough to touch, cut into 1″ thick slices using a sharp knife. Cut these 1″ slices in half, making a horizontal slice down the center. Set slices cut sides up on the baking sheet. Return to the oven to bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven, turn biscotti over, and bake the other side for 6 more minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheet (cookies will become crunchy as they cool). Transfer biscotti to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store biscotti in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or in freezer for up to 3 months.

Enjoy dunking this delicious treat in a cup of your favorite coffee, tea, or hot cocoa!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing

Strawberry Spinach Salad 1

Looking for a bright, light, fresh summertime salad?  How about fresh baby spinach leaves, slices of juicy ripe strawberries, chunks of creamy goat cheese, and crunchy candied walnuts all drizzled with a sweet and tangy poppy seed viniagrette?  It just screams summertime!

Strawberry Spinach Salad 2

Since we were talking about strawberries this week, I couldn’t resist making this when asked to bring a salad to Liz’s birthday party last evening.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Candying the walnuts is a cinch and homemade dressing makes it so much fresher.  This salad is super easy and bursting with flavor.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing

Ingredients:

  • Large bunch or bag of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, broken into chunks
  • 1/2 cup candied walnuts
    • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
    • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
    • pinch of salt
  • Poppy seed dressing
    • 1/8 cup white vinegar
    • 1/8 cup sugar
    • 1/4 tsp shallot or onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds

Directions:

  • Prepare candied walnuts:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Mix dry ingredients in small bowl.  Set aside.
    • Blanch walnuts in a small saucepan of boiling water for 3 minutes, and drain.
    • Mix sugar and walnuts together, and spread onto baking sheet.
    • Bake 10 minutes until golden.
  • Prepare dressing:
    • Whisk together vinegar and sugar until sugar is pretty much dissolved.  Add in shallot powder, salt, ground mustard.
    • Whisk in olive oil.
    • Stir in poppy seeds.
  • When ready to serve, toss spinach leaves with poppy seed dressing thoroughly.
  • Stir in sliced strawberries, goat cheese, and candied walnuts.
  • A protein can be added for a full meal (i.e. chicken breast slices, steak slices, salmon chunks

Happy Friday!  Enjoy the weekend, and have fun doing things at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi

Grandma’s Easy Poppy Seed Cake

poppy seed cake

As a child, my Grandma made me a poppy seed cake every year for my birthday.   Sound odd?  Well – my birthday is on New Year’s Eve, and who isn’t sugared out by then after all the Christmas cookies and holiday treats?

So this poppy seed cake was always just right – not too sweet – no heavy, sugary icing – just a fun old-fashioned bread-like cake that speaks love to me.

poppy seed cake slice

Marty used to make it for me sometimes through the years; but the older we get, the more I just don’t want anything sweet by my birthday. (Red wine, however, is ALWAYS welcome!) 🙂

So I have had a hankering for poppy seed cake lately, and when I passed a package of poppy seeds in the grocery store yesterday, I just threw them in the cart and came home and baked it!

poppy seed cake 2

Don’t be surprised if it reminds you more of a sweet bread – more like banana bread or zucchini bread. It is yummy for breakfast with coffee or just as a treat.  (And of course it goes well with red wine.  What doesn’t?)

Here’s our recipe:

Grandma's Easy Poppy Seed Cake

  • Servings: One Yummy Cake
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 cup poppy seeds
DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 10 inch tube or bundt pan.
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.
Make a well in the center and add eggs, vanilla, oil, and milk.  Mix well.
Fold in poppy seeds.
Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn onto rack to cool.

When cool, sprinkle generously with sifted powdered sugar.

ENJOY!
Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi