German Poppy Seed Cake

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 12
German Poppy Seed Cake



Soak poppy seeds in milk 2 hours.


Cream sugar and butter at medium speed, 2 minutes.


Sift together flour and baking soda. Add to sugar mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix well. Add vanilla.


Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold into batter.


Divide batter between 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 25 minutes. Cool in pans on racks, then turn out onto rack.



Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and milk in saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, then simmer, whisking frequently, until filling has consistency of light custard, 2 to 4 minutes. Cool to room temperature (filling will set up more as it cools), then stir in maple extract.


Spread 1/2 filling across 1 cake, then sprinkle with 1/2 chopped nuts. Place second cake on top, then top with remaining filling and nuts. Cut into slices and serve.

“The Cook & the Cadenza” by the International Committee of the Southern California Symphony/Hollywood Bowl Assn. came out in 1969. Singer Marni Nixon, who contributed this cake recipe, said her children called it their “bug cake. . . . If this seems just a bit macabre, you must know that our whole family has a ‘thing’ about spots. We have always had Dalmatian dogs, we all have freckles, and we are all mad about polka-dots!”.

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