Poppy seed cake with pudding cream

I have showed you an idea for a festive Christmas dinner, and today I’m going one step further, to show you something for the dessert. In my family, since I can remember, we used one ingredient which had to be included in all, or at least most, sweet things during Christmas. It’s poppy seeds. My mum usually makes makówki, which is cooked poppy seeds layered with dried fruits and sweets bread, of which even Philipp became a fan. I thought of making this myself. I even bought ground poppy seeds for this. It’s been months since then and I still had the pack sealed. I knew very well what I’m going to use it for. Well, that is, before I found this cake, and had to change my priorities. It took me few days of shy looking at the original until I finally made it. When it was ready I took it with me to work, at least what was left of it. It was gone within the hour and the reception was very positive.

So now I think I have to make place for two desserts on my table. However, whereas making makówki any other time of the year would be considered a little bit unorthodox, you can serve this poppy seed cake all year round. Don’t let the long preparation instructions scare you- it is really not hard, and definitely worth the effort.

The recipe for this cake comes from a fellow foodblogger Dorota of mojewypieki who is my superhero when it comes to sweet things. When you see her blog, you’ll understand why.

Preparation time: 40min                                              Baking time: 20min

FOR THE CAKE:

8 egg whites

pinch of salt

90g / ¾ cup sugar

4 egg yolks

150g / 1½ cup dried poppy seeds

100g / 1½ cup grated coconut

100 / 1 cup ground almonds

For the cream:

500ml / 2 cups milk

70g / ½ cup sugar

1 pack of vanilla sugar (16g) or seeds from 1 vanilla bean

4 egg yolks

1 pack of vanilla pudding

lemon zest

2 tsbp lemon juice

150g butter at room temperature

PUNCH:

50ml limoncello / amaretto /lemon juice

50ml water

BESIDE:

cranberry jam

fresh or dried cranberries for decoration

coconut flakes

Make sure to prepare all ingredients in room temperature.

THE CAKE:

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Gradually, tablespoon after tablespoon, add the sugar, beating the eggs after each addition. You should get a thick meringue foam. Gradually add the egg yolks, beating after each addition. Add poppy seeds, coconut flakes and ground almonds to the whipped egg mass and combine the ingredients with a spatula.

Preheat the oven to 170ºC (338ºF). Grease a baking form (32 x 22 cm), or line with baking paper and transfer the dough to it. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove, cool and slice in 2.

THE CREAM:

In a larger pot, boil the milk with vanilla beans or vanilla sugar. Bring to a boil and put aside. Put egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until white. Add the pudding powder and continue to whisk until a smooth paste is obtained. Add 200ml (1cup) of boiling milk to the paste and blend until connected. Pour the egg mix to the remaining milk and stir until combines. Move the pot back on the stove and, over a medium heat, bring the content to the boil, stirring frequently. From the moment of boiling, let it cook for another minute, stirring, until the pudding thickens. Remove from the stove.

Cover the ready pudding with food wrap in such a way that it touches the surface of the cream (this is to prevent forming a skin on top). Leave it to cool down at room temperature (do not mix while cooling).
Put the butter in the mixer bowl. Add juice and lemon zest and whip to a fluffy butter mass. Add pudding in 3 turns, whipping until combined after each addition.

ASSEMBLY:

Prepare the punch, mixing both ingredients. Prepare the coconut flakes, roasting them in a pan.

Place the first of the tops on the pater. Soak with half of the punch. Spread with an even layer of jam. Put 2/3 of the cream pudding on the jam and align with a spatula. Place the second layer of the cake on top of the cream and saturate with the rest of the punch. Spread the rest of the cream on top and sprinkle with cooled coconut flakes moistened in a dry pan. Cool the cake in the fridge.
Before serving, cut into squares and decorate with cranberries. Store in a refrigerator.

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