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Light, airy torte a birthday treat

The Baltimore Sun

Beverly Illia of Santa Rosa, Calif., was looking for a recipe for a poppy-seed layer cake that has pudding between the layers. Betty Hart of Ellicott City sent in her recipe for Poppy-Seed Torte.

She says that to the best of her recollection the recipe first appeared in a women's magazine in the '60s or '70s. It turned out to be her son's favorite cake and the one he requested for his birthday every year. He is now in his late 40s and her daughter-in-law still makes it for him.

I tested the cake using butter and whole milk. The addition of the egg whites makes for a light and airy texture, and the amount of poppy seeds seemed just right. One might be tempted to frost the whole cake but it really doesn't need it. The custard between the layers is plenty.

Poppy-Seed Torte

Serves 8 to 10

CAKE: 1/3 cup poppy seeds

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups sifted cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

4 egg whites, stiffly beaten


1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 cups milk

4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

confectioners' sugar

Soak poppy seeds in milk for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease well and lightly flour two 8-inch cake pans.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and milk with seeds. Sift together the dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in beaten egg whites. Put batter into prepared pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on racks for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Combine sugar and cornstarch. Mix milk and egg yolks, stir into sugar mixture and cook on moderate heat until mixture bubbles and thickens. Cool; add vanilla and chopped nuts to custard mixture.

Once the cakes have cooled completely, split each layer in half. Spread filling between each layer. Chill. Sift confectioners' sugar on top of cake before serving.

Per serving (based on 10 servings): 460 calories, 8 grams protein, 21 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 62 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 122 milligrams cholesterol, 200 milligrams sodium


Nancy Heneson of Baltimore would like to have the recipe for the Sole Florentine that was served at the now closed Marconi's restaurant in Baltimore.

Pamela Kelleman of Phoenix is looking for the recipe for the original "Pimlico Cake" that was served at the old Pimlico Hotel restaurant in Baltimore. It was a yellow chiffon cake with Bavarian custard between the layers and a rich chocolate frosting.

If you are looking for a hard-to-find recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or e-mail recipefinder@ baltsun.com. If you send more than one recipe, put each on a separate piece of paper or attachment with your name, address and daytime phone number. Names and addresses must accompany recipes to be published. Letters may be edited for clarity.

The nutritional analyses accompanying recipes in today's Taste section were calculated by registered dietitian Jodie Shield, except where noted.

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