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This one is a unique cake. It is the beloved cake my foodie friend’s mum makes for her birthday every year. The ingredients might seem a little unusual, but the flavours and the crumb are lovely! Sissi recipe is here, I simplified it and increased the amounts to accommodate a pair of 9-inch cake tins. In essence, I believe I remained faithful to Sissi’s birthday cake. Here is the story in a nutshell: Make the ganache first and refrigerate it for a couple of hours. Cook the poppy seeds next, drain and let them cool. Preheat the oven, prepare the cake pans, and then make the cake. Let the cakes cool, cut them in half and sprinkle them with rum. Finally assemble the cake, chill it and decorate it with walnuts. Use only good quality chocolate for the ganache.

We had a slice exactly twenty-four hours later. I was bowled over by the perfection of this cake. I should have thought of it that light soaking with rum would take awhile to mature the crumb. Next time I make it, I am serving it the following day. Matured and with the rum permeating the cake layers, Sissi’s cake became nothing short of extraordinary! Oh, we are having this again!

Chocolate Ganache:
12 squares of semi sweet dark chocolate [altogether 336 g]
300 ml heavy cream (25% fat or more)

2 cups [250 g] poppy seeds
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
12 high heaped Tbsp fine bread crumbs
8 egg whites
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup + rum for soaking the cake layers
walnut kernels for decoration

• Place the chocolate and the whipping cream in the top of a double boiler.
• Melt it slowly, stirring occasionally.
• Remove from heat and place ganache in the fridge for two hours.
• Meanwhile place the poppy seeds in a pot and cover with water.
• Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer.
• Simmer poppy seeds for 15 minutes.
• Drain well and set aside.
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• To prepare two 9-inch cake pans: Spray the pans with cooking spray. Line the cake pans with parchment paper. Spray the lining on the top, sprinkle lightly with fine breadcrumbs, and then set aside.
• Beat the egg yolks and the sugar for 4-5 minutes until very fluffy.
• Add the cooled and well-drained poppy seeds and the fine breadcrumbs to the beaten egg yolks alternatively.
• In a separate bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
• Gradually, not all at once, fold the beaten egg whites into the poppy seed mixture.
• Gently fold in the chopped walnuts.
• Divide cake batter between the prepared pans and place in the preheated oven.
• Opps, I failed to record baking time… again.
• Remove cakes from the oven and let them cool.
• Gently cut around the edge and remove cakes from the cake pans.
• With a serrated knife cut both cakes in half.
• Sprinkle the cake layers with the rum. I used a little more than 1/2 cup. :-)
• Thinly spread the layers with chocolate ganache and spread remaining ganache on the top and the sides.
• Chill the cake for 3-4 hours or overnight.
• Place the walnut kernels on the top, slice and serve.




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