11 February 2010

Poppy Seed Cake

Do you remember a time when life was less complicated? I recently wondered how much unnecessary worry forms part of modern adult life. It's not always easy to detect but it hit me the other day just how many foods I grew up with are no longer considered safe. Not necessarily outlawed quite yet, certain products are harder and harder to get. Take milk, for instance. I'm not even talking raw, unpasteurised milk here, but all of a sudden, it's almost impossible to avoid homogenized milk (horror of horrors!). Why would I want to be able to keep milk in the fridge for up to three weeks? No one's consumption can be that low.
Another ingredient that is no longer readily available are poppy seeds. Now, we all know that opiates are derived from poppies but is that not taking matters too far? I have eaten countless slices of poppy seed cake and bread rolls decorated with poppy seeds without any noticeable side effect; and I would not know how to abuse poppy seeds in any manner other than baking harmless cakes with them. Lucky for all of us, I managed to buy some poppy seeds in a health food store, so I baked this cake - and yes, raw eggs notwithstanding, I licked the spoon, too!

Poppy Seed Cake
210 g butter, soft
250 g sugar
200 g poppy seeds
200 g ground hazelnuts
7 eggs
1 tbsp brandy
8 g vanilla sugar
icing sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 160 C. Separate the eggs; beat egg yolks and half the sugar until frothy, add poppy seeds, hazelnuts, vanilla sugar and brandy. Whisk the eggs whites until stiff, add the remaining sugar and gently fold into the batter; start off with a few spoons full to slacken the dough. Pour into a buttered mould and bake at a low temperature for 60-70 minutes. Leave to cool before unmoulding and sprinkle the finished cake with icing sugar. Enjoy and forget about your worries!

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