Buttermilk Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

From “Birthday Cakes, Recipes and Memories from Celebrated Bakers” by Kathryn Kleinman

This cookbook is a collection of favorite birthday cake recipes from beloved chefs like Julia Child, Alice Waters, Alice Medrich and many more. I contributed this recipe which was handed down to me by my mother, Dorothy Pawlcyn.

Makes 1 Bundt Cake
Serves 10 to 12

4 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons grated lemon or orange zest
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Lemon or Orange Icing
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons or oranges
whipping cream as needed

In a small bowl, combine the poppy seeds and buttermilk. Let sit for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan (even if it is nonstick).

In a large bowl or using a stand mixer, cream the butter and 1 cup of the granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks and the almond extract. Stir in the lemon or orange zest.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together onto a piece of waxed paper. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture alternatively with the buttermilk mixture until smooth.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining ½ cup sugar and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold the whites into the batter by thirds; the batter will be very stiff.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan; turn out onto a cooling rack. Let the cake cool completely before adding the icing.

To make the icing: put the confectioner’s sugar into a large bowl and add the zest and juice. Stir to blend, adding whipping cream as needed for a pourable consistency. Spread the icing over the cake.

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