A Father's Day Poppy Seed Cake

I'm pretty sure I love poppy seeds more than your average person. I'm border line obsessed: my bagel of choice is poppy seed, I crave beet ravioli with butter and poppy seeds (from Al di La in Brooklyn), and one of my favorite dressings (particularly delicious on grilled peaches) is, you guessed it, poppy seed. And of all the recipes I've made, I find myself making Dorie Greenspan's Lemon Poppy Muffins time and time again. Nom. Nom. Nom. Poppy seeds! I love their crunch, color and taste.
Recently Saveur Magazine had a great article on poppy seeds and the photographs were magnificent. Since I don't have a microscopic lens on hand, and there is no way I could ever capture the amazingness of these little seeds, I decided to show you this shot of magnified poppy seeds taken by Todd Coleman.
How neat is that? 
Anyway, last year I took out a whole bunch of cookbooks from my local library. I wanted to test different recipes, experiment with spices and flavors and see which dishes I liked the best before buying yet another cookbook. My favorites were: Dorie Greenspan's tome Around My French Table, Anna Thomas's Love Soup, Moro: East by Sam and Sam Clark and Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
One of the recipes I really wanted to try, but never got around to making (it turns out you do have to return the library books eventually!), was from Deborah's book for Poppy Seed Cake. I was reminded of the cake when Luisa of The Wednesday Chef posted it a few weeks back. 
I finally got around to making it and it was delicious-- crunchy, spongy and moist. Can a cake be all those things at once? You bet! 
Since I'm posting this recipe on Father's Day I think it's a good time to make two personal shout-outs. First, I want to thank my husband for being a terrific father-- he takes the boys on hikes, shows them how to skip rocks on the lake, he gives them his time and he gives them his love. 
I also want to thank my own father ("Daddykins") for showing me how to make masks out of paper bags when I was little, giving me an appreciation for art, introducing me to classical music, always trying to help me with my math homework-- an undertaking that was pretty difficult when I was a teenager--and for being one of the most patient and kindest human beings I know. 
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there. Thank you for doing what you do...and enjoy this delicious poppy seed cake on your special day!
Poppy Seed Cake (Courtesy of Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by way of The Wednesday Chef) 
Makes one 9-inch round cake
1 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup milk, heated, but not boiling
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the poppy seeds and the hot milk. Set aside until needed. Heat the oven to 375แต’F. Butter and flour a 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high until firm but moist peaks form. Transfer the egg whites to a small mixing bowl. Using the same bowl as for the egg whites, but now using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, then beat in the egg yolks, adding one at a time and beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, as needed.
4. Drain the milk from the poppy seeds, discarding the milk. Add the buttermilk and the drained poppy seeds to the batter. Beat until well combined, then again scrape down the sides of the bowl with the rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture to the batter, in thirds. Again scrape the bowl with the rubber spatula, making sure itโ€™s all well mixed. Fold in about a quarter of the beaten egg whites with the spatula, then fold in the rest, mixing gently until just combined.
5. Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula. Bake until golden and firm, with the sides just beginning to pull away from the pan, about 40-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Carefully run a sharp, thin knife along the sides of the cake, just against the pan, then gently remove the rim and allow the cake to cool to room temperature before slicing.