Forgive the cheeky title of this post, I just could not resist! For the most part, it is accurate as opium does stem (if you’ll pardon the pun!) from the opium poppy. It has also been proven, that eating poppyseeds before a drug test will render a false positive for opiates, you have been warned! On that note, I found this a fitting post for the first day of spring. Here in the Southern Hemisphere, blossoms are blooming, the sun is shining – it is a heady season indeed! I have adapted this recipe from the fabulous food blog and cookery book of the same name: ‘Delicious days’. The result, a moist, not-too-sweet, opiate rich, lemon scented loaf cake – best served with some raspberry jam and some warm spring sunshine – sure beats an opium den! Wishing you all a euphoric spring!
Madame Lucy’s Opium Cake
Makes 1 loaf cake
250g soft butter
5 xl free-range eggs, at room temperature
75g sour cream or creme fraiche
1 organic lemon
100g poppyseeds (the recipe suggest grinding the seeds to develop their full aroma, I bashed the packet a few times with a rolling-pin)
2 tbsp baking powder
Icing sugar for dusting
Raspberry jam to serve (optional)
All the ingredients should be at room temperature for optimal baking results, so be sure to take the eggs, butter and sour cream out of the refrigerator ahead of time. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease or spray your loaf pan with butter or non-stick spray.
Beat the butter and sugar until creamy with an electric beater. Then gradually add the eggs, whilst whisking continuously. Wash the lemon with hot water, dry, and then grate the zest finely, directly into the bowl. Add the sour cream/creme fraiche and poppyseeds and mix in as well. Add the flour and baking powder and mix everything until combined.
Spoon the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake on the middle rack (or just below the middle) for 35-45 minutes. I found that the cake started to brown very quickly and so I reduced the oven temperature to 140C after 20 minutes, I also draped a piece of foil over the pan to prevent it darkening any further. Ovens vary, so keep an eye on your cake and see what works best for you. The cake is done when a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool further. When the cake has cooled completely, dust with icing sugar. Feel irie.