February 22nd, 2010

Poppy Seed and Blood Orange Sticky Cake

I’m not one to give up on a recipe. In fact I will repeat making it until I get it right. Ok. it may have been perfectly fine the first time round however  I have to try it several times until I’m entirely happy.In this case it was the shape that I was not completely happy with. Now I know it sounds rather pedantic and I must come across as being a bit of a “drama queen” but  then it would not have been the first nor would it be the last time that I have heard that comment.Yes I am a drama queen but I found  that this deliciously indulgent and very seductive cake looks at its’ prettiest in a loaf shape. I tried it round, square and today – this shape.

It’s mid season for blood oranges and even though they are imported I still think they are pretty special and are one of my personal seasonal favourties. I love the deep red colour and they have a stronger orange taste and more vitamin C than the normal type but have a pleasant hint of redcurrant.

This cake is not for the fainthearted and you must be seriously committed to complete the baking.For me it’s worth every ounce of effort as it’s superbly delicious. Start by soaking the poppy seeds in warm milk, then mix the cake batter by beating the butter, sugar and zest until light, airy and fluffy. Fold in the sifted dry ingredients and finally fold the soaked swollen poppy seeds into the batter.As it takes 1 hour to bake the cake, prepare the blood orange marmalade sauce that is to be spooned over the cake.

Previously I was not fussed in using poppy seeds in cakes as I found them to be too crunchy and it seemed to have a rather bizarre texture. However by soaking the poppy seeds in milk they swell up, become softer and you get a cake with superb layers of flavour, truly memorable.

Whilst baking this cake it took me back to when I was a child, mum used to bake a lemon poppy seed cake and we used to refer to it as the ‘ant cake’, well I suppose the poppy seeds looks like ants!?

This cake  not only makes the perfect slice with a cup of tea but also a pretty special pudding served slightly warm with blood orange sorbet and a dollop of crème fraîche.

Poppy Seed and Blood Orange Cake

  • 80g poppy seeds
  • 170ml milk
  • 200g soft unsalted butter
  • 1tbs orange zest
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 3 medium free range eggs
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powered
  • 125ml freshly squeezed blood orange juice

Preheat the oven to  180 °C, grease and line a 27cm x 15cm loaf tin with parchment paper.

Put the milk and poppy seeds into a small saucepan,over a low heat bring the milk to near  boiling. Turn the heat off and leave the poppy seeds to soak whilst whipping the butter and sugar.

Whip the soft butter, sugar and orange zest until pale in  colour, light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition.

Sift the flour and baking powder and gently fold the flour into the beaten butter mixture. Do not overwork the mix.

Add the blood orange juice to the soaked poppy seeds and milk mixture, then fold this into the cake batter.

Transfer the cake batter to the prepared loaf tin and bake it in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Test if the cake is cooked by inserting a metal skewer, if the skewer comes out clean then the cake is cooked.While the cake is baking, make the blood orange marmalade sauce.

Let the cake cool down for 20 minutes before spooning over the blood orange marmalade.

Blood Orange Marmalade Sauce

  • 160g caster sugar
  • 250ml freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • 50g orange skin, julienned

In a small sauce pan dissolve the sugar in the orange juice over very low heat, once the sugar dissolves  turn the heat up to  a rolling boil.

Add the julienned orange skin, brush the sides down with a pastry brush dipped in hot water, do not stir whist the marmalade is boiling.

Cook the sauce until thick and glossy, if you have a  sugar thermometer then boil until the sauce reaches 102°C.

Let the sauce cool down slightly before pouring it over the cooled cake.

Serves 10/12

Food Fanatics Tip

Substitute the blood oranges for normal oranges or clementines or satsumas. Store the cake in a airtight container, it seems to get better with age served slightly warm.


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22 Comments to “Poppy Seed and Blood Orange Sticky Cake”

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  1. Chrissie Harris says:

    Hi, Met Lyn and Carl yesterday in Rainham-buying a car. She told me about you, so had to look you up on laptop. Your recipes sound very mouth-watering. Lyn said something about a recipe book. Could you please give me details. Thank you.
    Regards, Chrissie

  2. Becckarkle says:

    This recipe is incredible! I am about to make it for the second time only using lemons.

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