Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Easy Tangelo Poppy Seed Cake

I work with a special group of people. It is surprising how all of us get along so well and help each other do our duties given that we all have such different personalities. Last week was Classified Staff Week and to honor the wonderful ladies who give me utmost support every day in my classroom, I baked a cake. These hardworking, passionate, and caring professionals deserve an award every day for their service.

This cake was a small token of my gratitude for their awesomeness and I am pleased to say that everyone loved it! It’s a very basic cake recipe that I adapted from Alice Water’s 1-2-3-4 Cake.

A simple white cake that is anything but… It is elegant in an understated way. Lovely and moist, with citrusy notes and a good touch of sweetness. Every bite is simply delightful!  

Easy Tangelo Poppy Seed Cake (Makes 2, 9-inch round cakes)
Adapted from Alice Waters’ 1-2-3-4 Cake, The Art of Simple Food

4 eggs, separate the yolks from the whites

3 cups cake flour, plus a teaspoon or so to dust the cake pans
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 + 2/3 cups sugar
zest of 1 tangelo
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened, plus a teaspoon or so to coat the cake pans
egg yolks (from the 4 eggs above)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
juice of 1 tangelo, make sure to remove seeds
1 cup soy milk
egg whites (from the 4 eggs above)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter two, 9-inch round cake pans and lightly dust with flour. Tap the bottom and sides to spread the flour dust all over the pan. This will prevent your cake from sticking to the pan and breaking when you turn it upside down onto your serving platter. 

Carefully separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Place all the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

Sift the cake flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds. Whisk everything well together.

Pour the sugar in another large mixing bowl and massage the zest of the tangelo into the sugar granules with your fingertips. Add the butter into the bowl. Using a hand held electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar over medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Pour in the vanilla extract and tangelo juice. Mix on low speed until everything is well-combined, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Alternately add the flour mixture and soy milk, starting and ending with about 1/3 of the flour. Stir just until the flour is incorporated but make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Set aside.

Take the bowl of egg whites and using a hand held mixer, mix the egg whites on high speed until foamy and soft peaks form. Stir about 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter using the electric mixer on low speed. Gently fold in the rest with a flexible spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes. The cake should slightly pull away from the sides and turn a nice, golden color on top. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick in the center. The cake is done if it comes out clean.

Cool the cake pans over a wire rack. When the cakes have cooled, flip them onto a serving platter one at a time. Place a plate on top of one pan and carefully flip the pan to remove the cake. Then place a serving platter on top of the cake bottom and carefully flip to move the cake to your serving platter. Do the same with the other cake.

You may frost the cake if you want… add some filling… or what have you… but I like this cake just the way it is. The perfect dessert, snack, or even breakfast!

Have a great week my friends!


  1. Of course they loved it, this looks great!! I would definitely have it for breakfast :)

  2. Mmm I love citrus-based poppy seed cakes! What a great way to say thank you to your coworkers!

  3. Hi, just found this wonderful recipe and was wondering if it would work with almond milk instead of soy?

  4. hi beth, i believe it would work with almond milk or whole milk. :) the flavors may vary a little, but i can't imagine that it wouldn't turn out good. do let me know how it goes!!! :)


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