It's just not Christmas at our house until I bake and ice this old-time layer cake-my husband's favorite since he was a boy.
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup poppy seeds
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg whites
- FILLING/ TOPPING:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 2-1/4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Additional chopped walnuts and confectioners' sugar, optional
- In a small bowl, combine milk and poppy seeds; let stand for 1 hour. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with poppy seed mixture. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into creamed mixture.
- Spread into two greased and floured 8-in. round baking pans. Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Combine egg yolks and milk; gradually stir into sugar mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; cool completely. Stir in walnuts and vanilla.
- Cut each cake layer horizontally in half. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with a fourth of the filling. Repeat layers three times. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Garnish with additional walnuts and confectioners' sugar if desired. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Layered Poppy Seed Cake in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2004, p49
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