Little Day Celebrations – Poppy Seed Cake

poppy seed cakeI made this cake yesterday on the anniversary of my mom’s one-way ticket to heaven. For me, it was a nice way to commemorate the day – to feel close to her. And it was fun to sit down in the afternoon and “just have cake.” It seems a lost tradition. I used my “special china” and really made it an event.

It’s a tasty, dense cake with the wonderful, crunchy “pop” from the poppy seeds. The cake itself isn’t too sweet – but when topped off with the sweet custard – mmm, it becomes a delicious treat.

And look at the beautiful yellow custard! The egg yolks give it that gorgeous glow.

My mom’s original recipe card had her hand-written note on top, “From the kitchen of Aunt Myrtle’s mother who brought the recipe from Norway.” I do not know Aunt Myrtle nor do I know her mother. And since my mom isn’t around to explain, if anyone knows who Aunt Myrtle is, please let me know.

This is the cake Aunt Kathy makes for Dana’s birthday in Summer of Dragonfly Changes. They all enjoyed the cake as much as I do!

Poppy Seed Cake
Ingredients for cake:

  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup whole poppy seeds
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup shortening
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 egg whites (beaten) (plan on using the yolks in the custard topping!)
  1. Scald milk, remove from heat, add poppy seeds, let stand for one hour.
  2. Cream shortening and sugar thoroughly, add poppy seed milk mixture and vanilla – combine.
  3. Add dry ingredients – flour, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Fold in beaten egg whites.
  5. Pour into greased 9 in x 12 in pan.
  6. Bake at 350⁰ for 35 – 45 minutes until cake leaves the edges and toothpick comes out clean in the middle of cake.

Ingredients for custard topping:

  • 2 cups half and half (or milk)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Mix all ingredients in saucepan.
  2. Cook on low (to medium) heat until thick.
  3. Cool custard (usually while cake bakes).

When both cake and custard have cooled to the touch, spread custard on top, and ENJOY!

(Best to refrigerate if any left over.)