Spiced Almond-Poppy Seed Cake

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In the blogoverse, I am officially a one-year old.

Oh my.

No longer a newborn, but still fragile enough that if I try to, independently, stand on my own two feet, I will probably succumb to the earth’s gravitational pull and face plant into the awaiting, mocking, cement.

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Throughout the past year, I have gained, through much trial and error, enough skill to grant me 95% autonomy in the day-to-day operations. Like a genuine infant, though, I still find myself occasionally falling down, picking myself back up, brushing myself off, and asking for a hand to walk me through some of the more finicky and technical aspects of upkeeping my darling baby blog.

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Thank goodness that I have such a skilled-delight for a husband. He more than compensates for all of my technological-inabilities and inefficiencies.

It’s a wonderful arrangement that we have: I holler and he helps. And then I smile and say thank you. Win-win?

It’s been a year of challenges and fun, and, of course, full of delicious culinary experimentation.

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But how does one celebrate their blogoversary? (a marvelous hubby once asked his wife).

Hmm. Wellll, as a shout-out to my very first post, I (we) bring you another beautiful triple-decker cake.

It’s delish. And beautiful. And delish. And enormous. Perfectly fit for a celebration.

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Spiced Almond-Poppy Seed Cake

Ingredients

for the cake
1-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 cups milk, at room temperature
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp almond extract
1/2 cup poppy seeds

for the frosting
1-1/2 cups salted butter, at room temperature
7-1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract
6 tbsp milk or cream, plus more if needed
poppy seeds for sprinkling

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Directions

for the cake
1. Preheat oven to  350. Grease three 9″ round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.
2. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom together. Set aside.
3. With the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on high speed until soft peaks form. Set aside.
4. In another bowl, use the paddle attachment to cream together the butter, sugar, and honey until light and fluffy. On low speed, add the egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
5. In a bowl, combine the milk, vinegar, and almond extract (it’ll curdle).
Add the dry mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk/vinegar mixture.  Mix lightly, between additions, just until combined.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
6. Fold in the poppy seeds, then fold in the whipped egg whites in three additions. (Re-whip the egg whites first if they have separated.)
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until done.  Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to wire cooling racks.

for the frosting
1. Cream the butter and powdered sugar together using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until it forms a thick “paste.” Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts, then the milk/cream. Beat until fully combined.  Add more milk/cream as needed to get to a fluffy consistency. Beat until fluffy and no lumps remain.
2. Spread a heaping 1/2 cup of frosting over each cake layer, then frost the top and sides.
3. Sprinkle on the poppy seeds and add a little piping detail with a large star tip, if desired.
**Will keep covered at room temperature for 2 days, or refrigerated for about 1 week.

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Lightly adapted from Bake at 350