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  • Writer's pictureNava

Nutty, poppy seed cake

Nutty, poppy seed cake

Dairy free

Good morning peeps, I had a lovely time with the family in Wagga Wagga. Graduation was very moving and we were all so proud of Josh, who has been lecturing zoology at the university already but he is now officially Doctor of Zoology.

I made such a delicious afternoon teacake for you lovely people. Now I have to say it’s

not the best-looking photograph but when all you have is your phone and the sun is your lighting crew it can be challenging. Sometimes Mr Apollo decides to take a day off and I get stuck with no light, and then the photo looks dark and dull and it sucks because it doesn’t do the cake/food justice. Also, before I launch into describing this cake, I just want to say, in my opinion (yes, I do have lots of opinions) poppy seeds are so underrated. They give cakes texture and additional flavour and a lovely appearance when cut. DONE, back to the cake.

This cake is moist and tender, filled with nuts and poppy seeds, it has a sweet nutty flavour and together with the poppy seeds it has a fantastic texture. Drizzled with a dark chocolate sauce the cake is almost complete. The poached pears are the perfect accompaniment to compliment and complete this wickedly delicious cake. And did I mention it’s ridiculously easy to make, all you need is a mixing bowl and a handheld mixer.

This cake comes with the option to be dairy free if you are dairy intolerant or if you don’t eat milk and meat together you can choose the dairy-free option.

I made this cake without dairy as my guest was dairy intolerant and it was delicious.


4 Large eggs (59g each)

180g castor sugar (3/4 cup sugar)

25g vanillin sugar (1 packet ) Or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

185mls oil (3/4 cup)

185mls freshly squeezed orange juice OR milk (3/4 cup)

Orange zest from two oranges

100g poppy seeds

50g (½ cup) hazelnut meal OR walnut meal

50g roughly chopped nuts of your choice (1/2 cup) (I used walnuts)

210g plain flour (1 ½ cups)

10g (3 teaspoons) baking powder


Preheat the oven to 180C

Using a handheld mixer, mix the eggs, sugar and sugar vanillin or vanilla extract until well combined. Pour the oil in a slow and steady stream. Mix in orange juice.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour and baking powder, mix in the poppy seeds, hazelnut meal, chopped nuts and zest.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in thirds. Mix until free of lumps.

Bake in a 21/22cm round springform cake tin lined with baking paper.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or when skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Poached pears

2 large pears (you can use more)

500mls red wine

100mls water

125g sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cinnamon sticks or ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

1-2 whole star anise


Place pears in a small size saucepan, (enough to hold two large pears) over medium heat.

Place the red wine, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon star anise and mix until the sugar has dissolved completely.

Place the pears gently in the saucepan and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook pears for 60-75min

Make sure you rotate the pears every 15-20 min so they are cooked evenly all over.

Once ready, transfer the pears onto a plate, remove and discard the star anise and cinnamon sticks. Save sauce to drizzle over pears and sliced cake.

This wine sauce is to die for.

Chocolate sauce


170g/1 cup dark or milk chocolate chip (I used dairy-free chocolate)

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

3 - 4 tablespoons milk or plant-based milk. How thick the sauce is will depend on how much milk you use.

20g butter or margarine


Chocolate Sauce

Place dark chocolate, milk and cocoa powder in a saucepan over low heat and stir until chocolate has melted completely and ingredients are well combined. Remove from heat and stir in butter (or margarine) until completely melted and incorporated into the sauce (it should give it a nice shine). If the butter isn’t melting, return saucepan to the flame and stir until butter has completely melted.

Remove from heat and let it cool down.

Slowly pour the sauce on top of the cake (from the middle) and let it drip down the sides.

Place pears on top any way you like, cut in half or quarters or whole.

Serve with a drizzle of wine sauce.

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