Poppy Seeds?

There are some foods that divide the population into two parts. The fiercest division that I found so far is related to two foods that I love, but many people cannot stand: cilantro and poppy seeds.

I use both all the time. I put cilantro, practically, everywhere – in salads, meats, roasted vegetables, etc. Some people say it tastes like soap, but I read they must have some type of a genetic code for it. Hard to explain for me.cil

Poppy seeds are hated by many people as well, and I could never find a reason. I love them! Always put them in my hamentashen, of course, but add them to other deserts too.

An easy to bake poppy seed cake is always good to bring to your friends, whose meal you attend during Shabbat. It can be made in advance, is easy to store and carry.

The original recipe is found in this book by Levana Kirschenbaum. I had the pleasure of taking a couple of classes with her a few years back. As a Sephardi woman being married to and Ashkenazi man, I think, she is able to fuse so many different tastes in her food! I simply love it!

I, of course, have to put a little of my own twist in every recipe, so here it goes:


  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups flour, I used a mix of all-purpose, oat, and almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup poppy seeds
  • A few citrus pieces in sugar (totally optional)

Orange syrup:

  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons margarine spread (I used Earth Balance)


Preheat the oven to 350*F.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest, citrus peel and set aside. Cream the eggs and sugar in a food processor or using a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the oil and vanilla and mix.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture alternately with the orange juice, starting and ending with flour, mixing each time until just combined. Add the poppy seeds, and mix a bit more.

Pour the batter into a greased 10-inch spring-form pan.

Bake for about 1 hour, or until a wooden toothpick or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make the orange syrup:

Place the orange juice, sugar and margarine in a small saucepan and heat until thickened, 3-4 minutes. When the cake is baked, immediately unmold. Prick it all over with a skewer, and brush the syrup all over the top and sides while the cake is still hot. The cake will absorb all the syrup. Let cool completely.


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