Sunday, February 10, 2013

Poppy Seed Cake - Some Assembly Required

This Christmas made it official. Randy and I are now adults. Not because we have two kids; since we spend as much time playing with their toys as they do, I think we actually lose adulthood points there.

Here, kids, make your own!
No, we're adults because our respective parents have cut us off from the traditional Christmas treats. In our bag of Christmas cookies from my mom was a scroll declaring “The Christmas Cookie Fairy is retiring,” and coldly informing us we'd have to make the cookies ourselves if we wanted them. I have to check with my lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that's illegal.
 Randy's mom went one better – she send the ingredients and recipe to Grandma Butcha's Poppy Seed Cake (the same cake that, although I've been with Randy for over a decade, I've only ever been granted a few measly slices of) “some assembly required”.  This is what Randy looks forward to most at Christmas.  When the package arrives from his parents, he digs through everything until he finds the cake.  Only once he has the cake safely secured does he look at what else his parents sent.  Needless to say, the lack of a cake was a shock to his system.

The first step is always wine.
Since we had been abandoned and left out in the cold to fend for our own holiday treats, there was only one thing to do. We called Randy's brother over (remember kids, always use the buddy system!) to try and muddle through the best we could.

Wait, we need WHAT?
Being adults, we started by having a glass of wine. Box wine, because while we might be adults, we're all still broke. Feeling properly mature, we lined up the ingredients, including cake mix, pudding, and a million and twelve poppy seeds, only to discover that we were short one. Cream Sherry. What? Do adults really keep that kind of thing on hand? What's it good for? I am positive that I have never once thought, “What I need right now is a nice glass of sherry!”

None of us wanted to leave to go get sherry – not that it would have taken long, as the liquor store is only half a mile away. As we stood there, all staring at each other desperately trying to figure out how to con one of the others into taking the trip, I remembered: we did have some sherry on hand. It was leftover from the Drunken Pears we made as Christmas gifts. It was exactly the right amount for two batches of poppy seed cake, too.

Yes, I was really happy about my poppy seeds! 
Come to think of it, that's probably why adults have things like sherry around – they needed some as part of a recipe once and it lasts forever because no-one actually drinks it. While ours didn't last forever (not even for a month), it was because we made things like Drunken Pears that used quite a bit at once. We went through a large bottle and I couldn't come close to telling you what sherry tastes like.

Once we finally had all the ingredients lined up, we braced ourselves for the intricacies of the recipe...only to find there are none. The recipe is pretty simple – mix all ingredients together, pour in a pan and bake. We had a slight hiccup when we realized we didn't have a bundt pan (must be one of those adult things). For some reason, we also decided we couldn't use the loaf pans I have plenty of.
I have no idea why we did this, either

The problem was quickly rectified, however, when we found some mini bundt pans – I have no idea why I own them, other than they are silicon and I went through a phase of “Ooooh! Neat silicon baking things!” – and a football cake pan my friend gave me for my birthday.

The change in baking pans made it a bit odd to figure out the timing, but we figured with another glass or two of wine, we'd get through just fine. Luckily, this cake freezes well, because we made two batches and ended up with a boatload of it. We also have enough poppy seeds to make us mildly concerned about a raid from the feds.
It took a bit longer to bake, but it was fun to slice into!
These are a great individual size to freeze.  

1 package Duncan Hines Yellow Cake mix
1 package french vanilla instant pudding
2 oz. Poppy seeds
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ c vegetable oil
½ cup cream sherry

*Pre-heat oven to 350
*Grease and flour pans
*Combine all ingredients and beat on medium for 2 ½ minutes
*Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

1 bundt cake
2 loaf pans
3 small foil loaf pans
6-8 mini bundt cakes


  1. I have more poppy seeds. Many, many more.

    1. We still have all of the seeds you gave us. Randy's mom sent more.

  2. Also, does it make ALL of those, or pick one.

    And, was this before I gave you the tube pan?

    1. This was the day after Christmas, so before. I should go back and clarify that it makes ONE of the options

  3. Guess we should get a (small) cake out of the deal!