Citrus Pecan Poppy Seed Cake is a great single layer cake we all need in our recipe files.
Hurray for the simple one layer cake without frosting. It can be a sophisticated dinner party finale. It can be a little treat with an afternoon cup of tea or a breakfast or lunch cake with fresh fruit. Serve it ANYTIME! And make it anytime without much planning. Who can say no to a thin sliver?
Citrus Pecan Poppy Seed Cake is made with self-rising flour (one of the greatest pantry conveniences), pecan meal I keep in the freezer (for Christmas Pecan Crescent Cookies), a few poppy seeds for extra crunch (that you can omit), and the juice and zest from a stray orange or lemon.
Instead of icing, the cake is drizzled with a citrus syrup that soaks into the cake. The texture is both moist and light. You certainly don’t need it, but a dollop of whipped cream or lemon curd, or a drizzle of custard, caramel or chocolate sauce is always nice. In the summer, make this an alternative to whatever you usually use for shortcake and pair with sweetened fresh berries or peaches. In the fall and winter swap to apples or a stewed dried fruit compote. Or serve it plain. We can find Georgia pecan meal in the supermarket any time of the year in Nashville. Ask your local grocer.
- 1 1/2 sticks butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup finely ground pecans
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- Zest of two lemons or one large orange, or a mixture of both, about 2 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Citrus syrup:
- Juice from two lemons or one large orange (1/3 cup), or a mixture of both
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Powdered sugar for dusting
Heat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the eggs. Beat well.
Add the flour, pecans, poppy seeds, buttermilk, zest, and vanilla. Beat just until well mixed.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges are nicely browned.
Cool completely on a wire rack. Loosen the cake by ringing a butter knife around the edge. Remove the outer rim of the pan. Invert onto a rack and remove the bottom. Invert onto a platter so the cake is now right side up.
Make the syrup while the cake bakes:
Combine the juice and the sugar in a small saucepan. Simmer just until the sugar has dissolved.
Brush the syrup all over the top and sides of the cake.
Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar before serving.