red currant and poppy seed cake

A month ago, I would have passed on making this cake. It wasn’t because this recipe, from Aran Goyoaga of the breathtakingly beautiful blog Canelle et Vanille, didn’t sound delicious.  On the contrary, her recipe have always been so tempting, but I’ve never attempted any of them.  Why, you ask?  Well, I’m a little embarrassed to say! 

Ok, the real reason is because I didn’t own a proper kitchen scale. There, I said it!  I have to confess that I’m actually relieved to get that off my chest! It’s crazy, I know, since I love to bake and weighing ingredients is more accurate and precise, which is important in baking. It’s just that recipes that measured ingredients by weight intimidated me.  They seemed foreign and complicated, exotic even.  On the other hand, measuring cups were familiar, and easy to use, and the clanking noises they made when I grab one metal cup nestled inside another was comforting.

Well, one day last month, I came to my senses.  I finally threw away my old white plastic diet scale I bought about 20 years ago, and purchased a digital scale. It was as if the gray skies parted and gave way to sunshine, birds started chirping melodiously, and I awoke from my slumber to a bright new day.  A whole new world opened up to me, including this beautiful light and moist cake dotted with grape-like clusters of tart red currants and crunchy poppy seeds.

Red Currant and Poppy Seed Cake
Yields 1 9″x5″ loaf

180 grams all-purpose flour
4 grams baking powder
3 grams salt
250 grams sugar
Zest of 1 orange (save the juice)
170 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
2 eggs
180 grams buttermilk
7 grams poppy seeds
100 grams fresh red currants, washed and separated from stem
60 grams powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″x5″ loaf pan and set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and set aside.

Stir the sugar and the orange zest together until well-combined and fragrant. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar/zest mixture together until light. Add the vanilla and orange extracts. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well until thoroughly incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add the flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Add the poppy seeds. Process the batter until smooth, about 15-20 seconds. Fold in the red currants.

To make the orange glaze, whisk the powdered sugar and orange juice until creamy. If needed, add more orange juice, a little at a time, until the correct consistency is achieved (thick, smooth, yet still liquid).

Pour the batter into the pan and bake until the cake is firm and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Cool for an hour and drizzle with orange glaze.  Let glaze set before serving.

Adapted from Cannelle et Vanille

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24 thoughts on “red currant and poppy seed cake

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  3. Eager to try this, my red currants are ripe for picking and wanted something besides jelly or a sauce again. Looks and reads like a yummy treat. Thanks!

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  8. The possibilities of a digital scale! Consider: confectionery, David Chang’s ramen recipe (which I am determined to try!) and of course wonderful cakes like this one. Congratulations, Daisy!

  9. Looks delicious. I just saw fresh red currants available at Whole Foods and wondered what I would do with them. Now I know!

    • That’s where I got these currants. I love their tartness and it works so well with the sweetness of the cake. These are perfect to serve at an afternoon tea.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  10. I am with you on the scale issue – didn’t own one for a long time until I WON one in a giveaway! 🙂 Now I am amazed how often I use it. This cake looks amazing, Daisy! I wish I could find some red currants here. Miss their tarty flavor – yum!

    • Thanks, Anna. I had never eaten red currants before this recipe, and I really like the tart flavor. I don’t see it here in Southern California very often. Whole Foods carries it, but they never have very much. I’m really glad to have discovered them.


  11. I started using a scale almost two years ago and have gained confidence in my baking skills. By weighing the ingredients it is easier to access the final product and the recipe itself. And recipe testing and development is more accurate. The red currant and poppy seed cake is just beautiful! I am tempted to search for red currants at the Farmer’s Market tomorrow!

    • Thanks you! I find it is more convenient to use one bowl and throw everything in that could go together and just clear the scale after every addition. I use a lot less little bowls and cups to hold ingredients. I hope you find the currants!

    • Thanks Barbara. I hope you fid the currants, although I would think it would work with berries as well. This cake recipe from Cannelle et Vanille is so delicious and moist. Everyone at work loved it. I hope you do too.


    • I really don’t have a good explanation of why I hadn’t bought a scale before. My old one worked well enough, I guess. Now I can’t imagine not having a scale.



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