Dutch Masters and Holland Whole Blue

Today I needed a cake to give to friends, so I pulled these tiny, dusty blue, kidney-shaped, dimpled-all-over-like-peanut shells Holland Whole Blue poppy seeds out of the freezer and made my favorite all-purpose cake.

This is Judy Rosenberg’s (of Rosie’s Bakery fame) cake, from her All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed Baking Book.  The butter-sour cream batter made with a little citrus zest but without the poppy seeds is my go-to vanilla pound cake; I have also substituted 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries for the poppy seeds in blueberry season to make a mid-morning coffeecake.  Versatile batter?  Indeed.  Delicious cake?  Absolutely.

So delicious that I made the one cake for giving away, and then made a second for myself.

My slice, a warm from the oven treat on a rainy and damp day, was good to the last crumb.

Rosie’s Poppy Seed Pound Cake

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 10″ tube or Bundt pan well with Pam spray.  (If yours is a removable bottom tube pan, take a moment to line the outside of the pan along its bottom seam and about halfway up the sides with a double layer of aluminum foil.  You and your oven will thank me.)

Sift flour, soda, powder, and salt together into a bowl and set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer with large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla together.  Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary, about 2-3 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time and mix for a few seconds on medium-low speed after each addition until just blended, stopping to scrape sides of bowl each time.  When all the eggs have been added, beat the mixture for an additional 10 seconds to combine evenly.  Batter will look slightly curdled and not smooth at this point.

Add one-third of the dry ingredients to the butter-egg mixture and fold it in for a few seconds on lowest speed until flour is just incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add half the sour cream and mix the batter on lowest speed for a few seconds and until partially blended.  Scrape the bowl.  Add another third of the dry ingredients, blend as described above.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the last half of the sour cream, and blend as described above.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the final third of the flour mixture, blend on lowest speed for a few seconds until flour is just absorbed.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Once this is done, set mixer to a low speed (setting 2 or 3, depending on your brand of stand mixer) and blend batter thoroughly until very smooth, about 15 seconds.  Add poppy seeds and fold in until just blended, about an additional 5 seconds.

Spoon batter into prepared tube pan set on the baking sheet.

Bake the cake in the center of the oven for about an hour and 10 minutes.  Begin testing for doneness with a cake tester or wooden skewer at about 60 minutes, as ovens do vary.  The cake will be done when a tester inserted in the highest point of the cake comes out clean.

When cake is finished, remove the pan from the oven to a cooling rack.  Let the cake cool in the pan about 20 minutes.  To remove from the pan, invert the cake onto a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Unless you like to eat it warm, like I do.  If that is the case, cut and serve whenever you like.

So that takes care of the Dutch poppy seeds; what about the Dutch Masters, you ask?

I only have one suggestion for you this weekend, but what a fabulous suggestion it is.  Expect to find me at the Peabody Essex Museum on Saturday or Sunday, taking in their glorious new exhibit.  Will I see you there too?


Golden: Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection

What a coup for the PEM to schedule this exhibit of master works by such artists as Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Brueghel the Elder and Jacob van Ruisdael.  And what an amazing piece of luck for us folks on the north shore!  The entire showing includes 67 paintings in total, as well as a number of pieces of 17th-century furniture created by masters of art and woodworking.

The exhibit runs now through June 19, and the museum is open Tuesday to Sunday and holiday Mondays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $11 for students. The Peabody Essex Museum is located at 161 Essex Street, East India Square, Salem.

For more information, visit www.pem.org or call 978-745-9500.

Seth of Lynn Happens has many more ideas for you here.

©2011  Jane A. Ward