There really is something so lovely about a classic vanilla layer cake with poppy seed specks. I made this lovely cake as part of the New Zealand Weddings shoot that I did a while ago, I love how rustic yet classic it is. I hope that everyone had a fantastic long weekend, I’d love to hear what you got up to - we had a lovely lazy weekend full of friends, bbq’s and lots of Spring cleaning.
Preheat oven to 160°C. Butter and flour a 20cm round cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper. You can easily double this recipe to save time.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl, add in the sugar and whisk to combine then make a well. Gently melt the butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave, make sure it doesn’t separate (you don’t want the oil to rise) Add the vanilla to the milk and pour into the flour mixture mix at a medium speed until combined, add the eggs one at a time then the melted butter. Pour into your prepared tin and bake for 30-35min or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10min before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Divide the cake mixture evenly between four bowls – 770g of cake mixture per bowl. Add 5 teaspoons of poppy seeds into each bowl of cake mixture and whisk to combine. Pour cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and follow the instructions below.
If you are like me and only have one cake tin (not four of the same size) make sure you thoroughly clean the cake tin after each use and run it under cold water to cool it down between uses – you will also have to prepare the cake tin each time for each cake.
Once all four cakes have been cooked and they are completely cool. Using a bread knife, gently cut the top of the cake off so they are level.
In a large bowl beat together the butter, milk, vanilla essence and half of the icing sugar until combined. Gradually add in the remaining icing and beat until smooth and creamy – the longer you mix it the whiter and silkier it will get.
This icing will keep in a airtight container in the fridge for a week and can be frozen for up to three months. Be sure to bring it to room temperature and beat until smooth again before using.
Assembling your Layer Cake
Layer cakes are all about being patient and having all your ingredients ready to use. While your cakes are baking, I suggest making the vanilla buttercream icing during that time – otherwise you can make them the day before to save on time.
Once you have leveled your cakes. Using the vanilla buttercream, lightly crumb coat the sides of the first cake and top with 1?2 a cup of icing, place in the fridge for 10min to cool. Gently place the next cake on top of the icing and repeat the above instructions until you have four layers of cake. Place the cake in the fridge to cool for around 10min before adding a thick layer of icing around the sides of the cake with a pallet knife – you can make the icing as smooth or rough as you like.
While the icing is still warm, flick pinches of poppy seeds onto the sides of the cake and gently sprinkle a few pinches on to the top of the cake. Serve with a delicious scoop of vanilla ice cream or sweetened cream and enjoy.