Poppy seed cake with strawberries

tree swallow
Posted on 06/26/2012 by decemberthirty
My partner and I are both teachers, so we recently threw a party to celebrate the end of the school year. I made lots of little casual appetizers and finger-food, but I wanted to do something a little more dramatic for dessert. And here is what I made:

Poppy seed cake with strawberries

Simple poppy seed cakes layered with chopped strawberries and mascarpone frosting. If you don't like or can't eat poppy seeds, you could use almost any kind of cake here, because the true stars are the mascarpone and the strawberries. They're a match made in heaven!

Poppy seed cake with strawberries and mascarpone
Originally posted on Not Without Salt

For the cake:
4 eggs and one yolk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp champagne vinegar (I used white wine vinegar because that was what I had.)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 sticks butter, melted

Pre-heat oven to 350.
Mix together eggs, sugar, salt, vinegar, and vanilla. Gently warm this mixture by placing the mixing bowl over either a pot or simmering water, or a low flame on a gas stove (I used the gas stove method). Keep the bowl moving and whisk continually to prevent any part of the mixture from cooking--you just want to warm it up because warm eggs allow more air into the batter, and the resulting cake is lighter. You may not need to do this at all if you use room temperature eggs, but I can never remember to leave ingredients out at room temp--bad baker!

Once your egg mixture is warm, use a mixer to whip it until tripled in volume (took a little over five minutes with my stand mixer). Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients. Before dry ingredients are fully incorporated, begin pouring in the melted butter. Mix just until fully combined.

I baked my cake in three 9" pans, and I liked the fact that the resulting layers were thin. I thought they looked nice, and also provided the appropriate proportion of cake to fruit and frosting. But they did turn out ever so slightly dry, despite the fact that I reduced the baking time from 20 minutes to about 12 or 13 minutes. So you may want to use 8" pans, or try making only two 9" layers. Or go with three 9" layers and reduce the baking time even further--it's your call! Whatever size pans you decide to use, spray them with cooking spray, line them with parchment and then bake your cakes for somewhere in between 10 and 20 minutes. My best advice is just to keep your eye on them.

For the frosting:
1/2 cup mascarpone
1 stick of butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream together mascarpone and butter. Stir in powdered sugar and salt, then add lemon juice and vanilla.

To assemble:
Place first cake layer on a plate, and spread with about 1/3 of the frosting. Add enough chopped strawberries to cover the layer. Repeat with a second layer. Place the third layer on top, spread on the remaining frosting, and garnish as you please: with whole berries, more chopped berries, or whatever your heart desires.

If you have extra strawberries at the end, dip them in any leftover frosting you may have. Eat them, then die and go to heaven.
rhiannon_666 27th-Jun-2012 02:28 am (UTC)
Poppy seeds and strawberries = noooom. Sounds so delicious. Your layers look beautiful, too.
decemberthirty 27th-Jun-2012 01:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks! You should give it a try--on the whole, I found it easier than I expected it to be. :)
amles80 27th-Jun-2012 03:03 pm (UTC)
This looks so beautiful. :) I'll definitely have to try strawberries+mascarpone one of these days.
decemberthirty 27th-Jun-2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Strawberries and mascarpone are definitely worth trying!
lorcas_novena 27th-Jun-2012 06:13 pm (UTC)
Looks divine! Think I'll give it a go in miniature :)
decemberthirty 27th-Jun-2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
Great! Hope you enjoy!
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