Make Ahead

Flourless Butterless Poppy Seed Cake

by:
January 12, 2018
Photo by Emiko
Author Notes

This is a cake that comes from Alto Adige in far northern Italy—in fact, it's origins are from nearby Germany and Austria. You can usually find it plain, or simply topped with powdered sugar. I topped this cake with 2 mandarins, sliced thinly, cooked for a few minutes in about 1/2 cup of mandarin marmalade and a splash of water.

Diana Henry makes a version of the Austrian cake where she uses walnuts in place of the almonds, splits the batter into two tins (which you could easily do with this batter) and serves them stacked on top of each other with cream and blackberry jam in between. And there's nothing to stop you putting a layer of lemon buttercream (or any layer, above or in between) on this cake.

Featured In: No Flour, No Butter, So Much Flavor: Meet Italian Poppy Seed CakeEmiko

  • Serves 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 tart cooking apple, peeled and grated
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) whole blanched almonds (or almond meal)
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) poppy seeds
  • 11/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • splash of rum (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Zest the lemon and place the zest together with the sugar in a large bowl and rub together until the sugar is damp and fragrant.
  3. Separate the eggs into two large bowls. Beat the yolks with the sugar and lemon zest until creamy and pale. Wash the beaters very well, then beat the whites until soft peaks form.
  4. Juice the lemon and stir through the grated apple.
  5. Place the whole almonds in a food processor and blitz until they resemble fine sand. Add to the egg yolk and sugar, along with the poppy seeds, grated apple (and splash of rum if using). Stir through the baking powder. Finally, fold in the egg whites.
  6. Pour into a greased and lined 10 inch (25cm) cake tin and bake for 40 minutes or until the top is springy and golden brown. Let cool and decorate with one of the ideas in the notes.

See Reviews

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nicole S. Urdang
    Nicole S. Urdang
  • Marci Liroff
    Marci Liroff
  • Sandra Grzebielucha
    Sandra Grzebielucha
  • FrugalCat
    FrugalCat
  • Windischgirl
    Windischgirl
Review
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband. Her second cookbook Acquacotta: Recipes and Stories from Tuscany's Secret Silver Coast (Hardie Grant Books), is out now.