Sunday, 19 August 2012

Cherry and poppy seed cake

Cherries and poppy seeds are two very popular and frequently used ingredients in Hungarian desserts. Cherry and sour cherry trees are part of every garden and basis for all sorts of preserves and sweets. Poppy seeds, usually ground and made into a sweet creamy paste makes a lovely rich filling for many pastries. In this recipe it replaces half of the flour and substitutes some of the sugar too, adding a distinctive flavour and a speckled look to the cake. By this perhaps reducing some of the calories too... Serve it with a dollop of sour cream or creme fréche. It's really quick to make and great with afternoon tea.

3 eggs
100 g caster sugar
50 g plain flour
50 g black poppy seed (ground - this is best done in a coffee grinder)
1 lemon
2 tbsp sour cream
250 g cherries, stones removed

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 6.
Mix the eggs with the sugar until it looks light, pale and fluffy - this takes 3-4 minutes in a free standing mixer and it should  double in size. Sift the flour into the mix, add the grated zest of the lemon, the ground poppy seeds, mix well. Gently mix in the sour cream.
Pour the mixture into a lined springform cake tin or pie dish (24 cm) and add the cherries, gently pushing them into the mix. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. Baking time depends on the size of your tin. If it is larger, the cake will be ready quicker. If it is smaller, it will be a deeper cake that takes slightly longer to cook through. Keep checking with a wooden skewer.
If you wanted, you could macerate the cherries in some kirsch and sugar a few hours earlier, then use the liquid to make a reduced syrup to drizzle over the cake while it is still warm.

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