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This past spring I visited my family in Perth, Australia. I also explored Sydney for a few days. It was my first time in Perth as an adult, and my first time in Sydney period (I lived in Melbourne when I was around five years old).
Although the Australian culture is similar to American culture, the little differences completely intrigued and inspired me. I may have spent a couple hours poring over Aussie cookbooks at a bookstore. I loved it.
The food and culinary styles are similar enough to American cuisine to feel familiar, but different enough to be interesting. Even the desserts! I left with a bunch of new recipe ideas, and have been experimenting with them ever since.
One of the recipes I knew I wanted to make was this Vanilla Poppy Seed Cake with Whipped Ganache. Sure, there are plenty of recipes in the U.S. for poppy seed cake, but I just loved that this one took a slightly different direction by utilizing vanilla as its main flavoring, and white chocolate whipped ganache as the frosting. Plus it’s absolutely beautiful but requires no special decorating skills or equipment.
Vanilla Poppy Seed Cake with Whipped Ganache Recipe Tips
Cake Pans & Converting Size
I love that this recipe makes a small but tall cake. It’s so beautiful and impressive but doesn’t require a huge group of people to want to make. I love my Fat Daddio’s 6-inch cake pans because they bake beautifully, don’t stick, and clean up easily.
*If you don’t have three 6-inch cake pans, you can use two 8-inch cake pans. Increase the baking time to about 30 minutes.*
If you don’t already have some, I would definitely recommend picking up a jar of vanilla bean paste for this recipe. It packs way more punch than vanilla extract. You could always use a vanilla bean pod as well!
Whipped White Chocolate Ganache
Be sure to use the highest quality bars of white chocolate that you can find. Ghirardelli white chocolate bars are available at most grocery stores and tastes wonderful. Do NOT use white chocolate chips. All chocolate chips have ingredients in them to help maintain their chip shape, so they won’t melt down as smoothly as chopped bar chocolate.
The cake layers can be baked, cooled, and wrapped well in plastic wrap. Store at room temperature up to 1 day ahead of time, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
The melted white chocolate and cream ganache can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days ahead of time before whipping and spreading over cake. The assembled cake is best eaten within one day. Refrigerate to store, but serve at room temperature.
If you make and enjoy this Vanilla Poppy Seed Cake, be sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram, tagging #handletheheat, so we can all see your creations!
Photos by Constance Higley.
For the cake:
- 13 tablespoons (180 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon [url]vanilla bean paste ∞http://amzn.to/2uk8ry7[/url]
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
For the white chocolate ganache:
- 16 ounces (454 grams) white chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons
vanilla bean paste
- Fresh fruit, shaved white chocolate, etc. for garnish
Make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter three 6-inch cake pans, lining the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla paste on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
- In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the flour mixture and milk in alternating batches, beating on low speed in between each addition until just combined. Gently stir in the poppy seeds.
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans, smoothing the surfaces. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
Make the ganache:
- In a microwave-safe bowl, micorwave the chocolate and cream in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst, until smooth. Stir in the vanilla paste. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until slightly firmed.
- Using an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the ganache until light and fluffy.
- Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread with about 1/2 cup of the ganache. Repeat with the remaining two cake layers and ganache. Decorate with fresh fruit or chocolate shavings, if desired.
Note: Reader Kelli had great success turning this cake into cupcakes, “Made 19 cupcakes & baked them for 18 minutes.”