Poppy Seed Almond Cake

Season: All | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes, plus time to cool | Difficulty: 1 (Very Easy)

This cake is about as close to my heart as a recipe gets. Growing up, I ate this cake probably a thousand times, and it has never not been completely perfect. When she was pregnant with me, my mom got it from a family friend, a woman I only knew as Mrs. Grossman. The flavor of almond extract is prominent, so if you’re not a big fan, this isn’t the cake for you. The recipe calls for a lot of oil and sugar, which guarantee a tender and moist texture despite the easiest of methods: Put everything into the bowl and mix. I strongly encourage you not to change a thing.

Makes 1 Bundt cake

Special Equipment: Stand or hand mixer, 12-cup Bundt pan ①

CAKE

Neutral oil and all-purpose flour for the pan

2⅓ cups granulated sugar (16.4 oz / 465g)

2 tablespoons poppy seeds (0.6 oz / 17g)

1½ teaspoons baking powder (0.21 oz / 6g)

1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (0.11 oz / 3g)

3 cups all-purpose flour (13.8 oz / 390g)

1½ cups whole milk (12.7 oz / 360g)

1⅓ cups neutral oil, such as vegetable or grapeseed (10.2 oz / 288g)

3 large eggs (4.3 oz / 150g)

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1½ teaspoons almond extract

 

GLAZE

¾ cup powdered sugar (3.2 oz / 90g)

¼ cup orange juice (2 oz / 57g)

2 teaspoons butter, melted

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven and prepare the pan: Arrange an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously brush the inside of the Bundt pan with oil. Dust flour all around the bottom, sides, and up the tube. Tap out the excess and set aside.②

Combine the sugar and dry ingredients: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer), mix together the granulated sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, salt, and flour.

Add the wet ingredients and beat: Add the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla and almond extracts to the bowl and beat on low just to combine. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the batter is very smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. (If using a hand mixer, beat about a minute longer.)

Fill the pan and bake: Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top is risen, split, and deep golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the deepest part of the cake comes out clean, 80 to 90 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes.

Invert the cake and poke holes: Use a butter knife or a small offset spatula to cut down and around the inner and outer edges of the Bundt pan. Invert it onto a wire rack and tap the rack sharply against the counter to release the cake. Remove the pan and poke holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer or toothpick. Set the rack over a rimmed baking sheet (to catch the drips of glaze) and set the cake aside.

Make the glaze and finish the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, orange juice, melted butter, and vanilla and almond extracts until smooth. Brush all of the glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to absorb. Using the brush, collect any glaze that dripped onto the baking sheet and brush back over the cake. Let cool completely.

DO AHEAD
The cake, well wrapped and stored at room temperature, will keep up to 5 days.

① If you don’t have a Bundt pan, you can use two standard loaf pans. Oil and line them with parchment paper, then divide the batter evenly between the two. Bake side by side in the oven until a cake tester comes out clean, 75 to 80 minutes.

② Make sure you thoroughly coat the Bundt pan with oil, working it into every nook and cranny, and then flour to prevent sticking. If you have an intricately patterned pan, use room temperature butter instead of oil, which will cling to the pan in a thicker layer and act as a better lubricant.

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