Sunday, August 17, 2014

Praha, Texas Style Poppy Seed Cake

Top this cake with your favorite German Chocolate frosting for a special treat! The secret to this cake is to be sure to use cake flour. I used Swan's Down. And the butter should be soft and at room temperature for creaming.

Special note: This is a cake that should be made and eaten the same day, preferably soon after it comes out of the oven. Because it uses butter instead of oil, it will not be as "moist" (yes, that's right, when people think a cake is "moist" they're probably not realizing that it is the oil content in the cake that gives that impression) the next day.

But, if you do have it the next day, I found that steaming it made it delicious again. Maybe more delicious. I put one of those steamers into a pot filled with a little water and then placed several cake slices (no icing of course) into the steamer and gave it a few minutes to steam. If you have a bamboo dim sum steaming basket, this would work perfectly (as I actually got the idea from dim sum style steamed buns).

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, no longer chilled
2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted cake flour. (what this means is that with a sifter or a strainer, sift out 3 cups of flour. I spoon my flour into a strainer and shake it to sift into a 4 cup size measuring cup)
4 eggs, room temperature and beaten
1 cup whole milk
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbs poppy seed (grind it a little finer in a coffee or spice grinder), or, to taste, more or less

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 13 Pyrex or metal cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper (I also cut my parchment paper longer so that it also goes up two sides of the pan and is held with the grease). Grease the parchment paper.

Sift enough cake flour in order to make 3 cups of sifted cake flour into a measuring cup or bowl. Add the baking powder and salt and set aside.

Cream the butter in a large mixer bow on low speed, adding the sugar and creaming until "light and fluffy".

Add the beaten eggs slowly, beating well after each addition. Scrape the mixing bowl sides to assure that the butter has not caked on them. Add the vanilla.

Now, alternately add a little flour and then a little milk, on low speed until smooth. Add the poppy seeds and adjust if you determine you want more.

Don't over beat as this will affect the lightness of the cake, just make sure that everything is blended smooth.

The original recipe called for baking 20-25 minutes but I found that I needed to bake for 30 minutes when using the Pyrex cake pan.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before finishing the cooling on a cake rack.

Here is a photo of the cake that I set out to duplicate. I believe that it had a pudding and coconut frosting. Delicious!