for the cake:
2 cups or 270 gr all-purpose flour
1 cup packed or 175 gr dark brown sugar
14 tb or 2 sticks minus 1 tb or 200 gr unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup or 185 gr milk
1 1/2 ts baking powder
2 oz or a scant 1/2 cup or 60 gr poppyseeds
1/2 cup or 125 gr orange juice
zest of one orange, finely grated
for the syrup:
1 cup or 250 gr orange juice
1 cup or 235 gr turbinado/white sugar
zest of one orange, pith removed and thinly sliced
1 vanilla bean
preheat the oven to 325F or 160C. sift the flour with the baking powder and a pinch of salt and set aside. cream the butter with the sugar and zest. when it's fluffy add the eggs, one at a time. mix in the flour, then add the milk, the orange juice and finally the poppyseeds. pour the batter in a buttered and floured 9 inch cake pan, and bake about 50 minutes, unitl it's nicely golden and it's beginning to pull away from the edge.
for the syrup, remove the zest with a potato peeler and julienne it. laura says to blanch it first, but i completely spaced out about it and it was just fine. blanched or not, mix it with the sugar and the juice. split and scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and put them in, with the pod. boil gently until syrupy, about 10 to 15 minutes. this happened much faster for me, 5 to 7 minutes. don't let it thicken because it will thicken some once it cools.
when the cake is ready let it rest a few minutes in its pan. invert to plate and pour 1/2 the syrup all over. serve with extra syrup on each plate.
i love poppyseeds, and i'll always leap at a chance to use them that doesn't involve a yeasted dough that takes several hours to make. this cake is sweet, sweeter than i generally like my desserts, but somehow i found myself wanting a second slice. i think it's the candied orange that did the trick - it balances the syrup, giving it the faintest bitter atfertaste, a whisper, really, but that's all that's needed. loved it, thank you laura!
and, happy mother's day to you all. zhara and i picked these lilly-of-the-valley from the spread alongside the garage. their perfume is intoxicating, right now they're my favorite flowers.