Once, I had this weird poppyseed scroll thing, and it put me off poppy seeds for about four years. It was Hungarian, I think? And was stuffed with millions and millions of poppy seeds that tasted stomach-churningly foul and reminded me of millions of little black ants spilling out of the pastry and scurrying around. I feel nauseous just thinking about it. I figured it was time to change my poppy seed fate and turn over a new leaf.
This cake is a fine place to start.
One of the girls at work was testing this recipe and brought it into the office around 3.30pm on a wednesday afternoon (I don't think i'm ever going to get over having a desk near the test kitchen), smack bang in the middle of prime eye-droop time.
The cake saved me from an embarrassing energy slump that would have resulted in me face down in a puddle of drool for the rest of the afternoon. It is stunningly moist, with crunch from the seeds. The lemon curd adds the zing you need to combat the creamy lactose overload this cake has got going on.
I had never made lemon curd before,
winner winner chicken dinner!
Lemon Ricotta & Poppy Seed Cake With Fresh Lemon Curd:
Recipe from the Pickles Sisters Cafe in Wahgunya via Gourmet Traveller
250 gm butter, chopped
250 gm caster sugar
6 eggs, beaten
Finely grated zest and juice of 6 lemons
50 gm firm ricotta
250 gm softened cream cheese
200 gm caster sugar
395 gm (1 can) condensed milk
200 gm poppy seeds
For dusting: plain flour
For lemon curd (make sure you do this first because half has to go in the cake, the other half to serve) melt the butter in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. When it has melted, add the sugar and stir until smooth and dissolved. Add the eggs, stir to combine, then add lemon rind and juice. Stir continuously until the curd thickens and coats the back of a spoon. (In the recipe it said this took only 3-5 minutes, but I was standing there for about 20, in the end I got so sick of it that I just poured the mixture into a saucepan on med-low heat and it sped it up a lot. Although watch out it doesn't get too hot or your eggs will scramble.)
Cover the surface with cling wrap and place in the fridge to set.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. For the cake, whip the ricotta and the cream cheese in an electric mixer until very smooth. Add sugar, beat to combine and add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add condensed milk, poppy seeds and half the lemon curd. Mix to combine. Butter and lightly flour a 26cm diameter spring form cake tin and pour the cake mixture in, give it a gentle tap to remove any air bubbles.
Bake in the oven for 1-1 1/4 hours or until there is just a slight wobble in the middle. Cool completely in tin and serve with lemon curd.