My dad made this cake for Thanksgiving supper in Maine using Sahadi's poppy seeds, which yes are tastier and cheaper than all other poppy seed posers. I found myself getting up in the middle of the night drawn to the pan with the poppy seed cake, eating pieces of it with my fingers. I could hear the Wicked Witch of the West's voice in my head crooning, "poppies, poppies..."
Poppy seeds cloaked with milk and Irish butter is so intriguing so I had to make my own using poppy seeds from Associated in Park Slope. Suffice it to say they were not Sahadi's but they were delicious and they dispersed perfectly throughout the batter. I ate it every morning for a week for breakfast and fed classmates bits of it during boring segments of our lectures. My 10 year old cousin ate the two slices I prepared for him and my aunt, and made me promise to make it for Christmas. I didn't in the end, but you'll soon see what I did make.
This particular recipe calls for one cup of poppy seeds, milk and butter, two cups of sugar and flour, 3 separated eggs (I am now the proud owner of an egg separator), 2.5 tspn. baking powder, 1/2 tspn. salt, 2 tspns. vanilla extract, juice and zest of one big lemon. The poppy seeds need to soak in boiled milk for an hour (until the consistency is a little thicker). While you wait for that, you can cream the butter and sugar plus the egg yolks and then gradually add the poppy seeds and milk. Add the dry ingredients and then fold in the whipped egg whites plus the zest, juice and vanilla and and bake for an hour, or until your knife comes out clean. This cake is delicious with a glass of cold milk or alternately with black tea.