IMBB 8: Raise Your Spirits High!
This month's edition of "Is My Blog Burning?" is hosted by Donna of There's a Chef in My Kitchen. "Is My Blog Burning?" is a monthly cooking event, started by Alberto of Il Forno, where people around the world prepare recipes around a central theme and then share them on their web sites. This month's theme, as suggested by Donna, is wines and spirits. Participants should prepare a dish where one of the central ingredients is wine or spirits.
The minute I saw this IMBB theme one recipe came to mind: Poppy Seed Cake. My mom has been making this delicious poppy seed cake for years and it's always a hit. I started making it in the past couple of years myself and now I too can swear by its ease to make, consistent quality, and most importantly delicious taste. It gets its distinctive flavor from sherry.
Now while I knew this is a fabulous cake, I did have one hesitation about using it as my IMBB submission. As you'll see in the recipe below, it's made using cake mix and instant pudding. Hmmm...not exactly from scratch, gourmet ingredients here. Is this really the kind of recipe that I should make for IMBB? Shouldn't I make something more challenging, without the help of any pre-packaged mixes?
Nah. I pondered this for a while and then came to the conclusion that this cake is so good that it must be shared. I promise you it's simple but delicious.
Poppy Seed Cake*
1 package (2-layer) yellow cake mix or pudding included cake mix
1 package (4-serving) Jell-O instant pudding, vanilla flavor
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup cream sherry
1/4 cup poppy seed
Combine all ingredients in a large mixer bowl. Blend, then beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 4 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 10-inch tube or fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Do not underbake. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan and finish cooling on rack.
Here is a photo of the cake when I just took it out of the oven:
And here's what it looked like when I removed it from the pan after cooling:
Finally, here is what one of the delicious, poppy seed laden slices looks like:
It's the sherry that gives this cake a very distinctive flavor. When people taste it, they always are surprised at how good it is and immediately ask what the unique flavor is that they are tasting.
What I love about this cake is its versatility. It works well as a dessert but I've often seen overnight guests snatch a piece of it for their breakfast. I've also served it with coffee and tea as a mid-afternoon treat when friends come over for a visit. It's got that nice light, moist quality that makes for a perfect daytime snack or dessert.
This one's been a hit with our friends and family for years. I hope you enjoy it too!
*I believe the Poppy Seed Cake recipe is from page 72 of an old Jell-O Desserts Cookbook. I don't have the actual cookbook in hand to provide the official title, but it comes from Jell-O.