Thursday, July 18, 2013

Orange Poppyseed Cake

LUCY BURDETTE: I wonder how many of you were crazy about cooking from the Moosewood cookbooks? As you can tell from my battered copies, I cut my cooking teeth on the Moosewoods. Every once in a while I remember a lovely recipe and go back to look it up--and tweak, of course.

This time I was looking for a cake/coffee cake recipe that would freeze well and serve a lot of people. We were anticipating spending a long weekend celebrating my mother-in-law's 100th birthday, and I was organizing a breakfast. I wanted to bring a few homemade items to make it special. Below is a picture of the birthday girl (seated on left) with her four daughters-in-law, me on left. (And by the way, her secret to longevity? Stay busy, eat good food, everything in moderation!)

So, to the good food...First I made granola (recipe here.) Next, poppyseeds were calling to me, as I'd bought a big bag of them at a natural foods store (and honestly, my husband was doubting that they'd get used...)

This cake is adapted from the original Moosewood Cookbook's Ukranian poppyseed cake, with less butter, more seeds, and orange instead of lemon flavoring.



1 and 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup poppyseeds
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grated orange rind
1/2 orange, juice squeezed
1 cup milk

Heat the milk to almost boiling, add the poppyseeds, and let the mixture cool.

Beat the butter with the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat in the vanilla and the orange and orange zest. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Now add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with milk/seed mixture, beating lightly after each addition.

Scrape the batter into a well-oiled bundt pan. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool for ten minutes, then invert onto a plate.
When it first comes out of the pan, it doesn't look like much--all dark and speckled. But this cake is good enough to be served for dessert--add a little ice cream if you must!

Lucy's Key West food critic mysteries can be found wherever books are sold! Follow Lucy on Twitter and "like" her on Facebook.


  1. Mmm, haven't had a poppyseed cake in forever!

    1. I have to say, this was a good one Elaine! Someone on Facebook reminded me not to go for a drug test after eating a slice--LOL

  2. Oh, Lucy/Roberta, what a gorgeous cake--perfect for your beautiful MIL. Happy 100th Birthday to her! Such a wonderful and inspiring milestone, and I love her advice. "Eat good food" certainly applies to your cake. (Marc and I love poppy seeds and we'll have to make one for our own table.)

    Three cheers to 100 years,

    ~ Cleo

    1. Thanks Cleo, she is a remarkable woman! May we all be in that shape should we be so lucky as to live to a hundred!

  3. I love the picture!!!! What a wonderful group of women. And I adore poppy seed cake. Can't wait to try this. Thanks, Lucy!

    BTW, I never knew about the Moosewood cookbooks until I started researching Cookbook Nook mysteries. How's that? is it an east coast thing? I grew up in California. :)


    1. Thanks Daryl--hope you like it! that's so funny about the Moosewoods not making it to California. The first few came out of a little vegetarian restaurant in Ithaca, NY--called the Moosewood Restaurant. Since both the restaurant and the cookbooks were vegetarian (mostly) and a little bit hippy-ish, probably they weren't widely known. But for some reason, my friends and family cooked from them like mad. The earliest cookbook was heavy on cream and butter--they lightened things up later.

  4. This looks delicious. I'm a fan of poppyseeds... I wonder how it would be if you drizzled on an orange glaze (fresh oj and a bit of lemon juice and powdered sugar)

  5. I love the Moosewood Cookbooks and in fact mention one in the new book! They are still for sale here and there. Lots of my friends have them too. This cake looks wonderful! I can taste it just reading.

    That's a terrific picture of your mother-in-law, sisters-in-law and you. A keeper!


  6. It's beautiful, Lucy! And so is the birthday girl. What a nice celebration.

    Moosewoods was never in my cookbook collection. I cut my teeth on The Joy of Cooking.

    I was never big on poppyseeds until recently. Now I'm itching to try this cake! And I love Hallie's suggestion of an orange glaze on top.


  7. Love poppy seed cakes! Will have to try this.
    I'm on vacation and have very limited access to the internet. Miss my daily dose of MLK.

  8. Made this tonight, using regular OJ and dried orange peel- was a hit! True..on the outside it is not the most beautiful of cakes..but when sliced...sure is pretty inside! Used a cream cheese glaze....and ice cream on the side.! Pleased 2 picky guys!!! That's saying a LOT!!!!

    1. Your tweaks sound delicious SueAnn! so glad your family appreciated it! xo Lucy