Sunday, April 1, 2012

Almond Poppy Seed Bread - ish

I've been aching for almond flavored things lately - especially after making a ton of lemon cakes and cupcakes for my friend Renee's birthday last week. A local coffee shop sells a pretty good almond poppy seed bread but it has a couple things against it: too expensive, first to sell out, and topped with chunks of almond that are way too thick for the delicate bread underneath. 

After my success with Tyler Florence's amazing banana bread, I wanted to try almond. I thought about adapting his banana bread somehow, but I couldn't get around how to take all the bananas out and still get something so good. I spent almost an entire day searching the interwebs for a good recipe and I narrowed it down to two. 
Good taste, delicate crumb and texture. Ok for a first try, I suppose.

 First up from The Girl Who Ate Everything: Poppyseed Bread

This one looked pretty good to me compared to all the others I had browsed. Plus, the fact that it came down through a circle of friends really adds to it. My best recipes are the ones I make and share with my friends and I figured this would work. That led me to....

Thibeaults Table : Vanilla Poppy Seed Loaf

Thibeault's is an adaptation from the Girl Who Ate Everything. That person didn't like almond and so swapped almond with vanilla and changed the glaze up. After going back and forth, I went with this one because of the significantly less oil. Plus, while the directions on both are lacking, Thibeault's were a tad clearer. And since I didn't have orange juice on hand for a glaze, it made sense to try this version.

I made some alterations - as I always do - for altitude. I also swapped buttermilk for milk because it's what I had. Upped the almond extract for flavor and extra liquid (dry Colorado!) and changed the glaze slightly. The original recipes made two loaves, but since there's only me around here and I didn't know how it would turn out, I halved it. That explains the odd measurements. If you can't handle them, simply double and make two loaves or one loaf and some muffins. 

Such a loose batter. I should have known it was too loose for proper bread structure.

Notes: Next time, I will up (yes, UP) the almond flavor. I will use all AP flour and no cake flour. It came out too soft and crumbly. It is definitely more cake than bread. Also, this cake didn't rise much. It didn't fall, but it didn't get nice and tall like my banana bread and the pictures on the sourced websites. I will have to play with the leavening to get the right height. If I ever decide to make almond cupcakes, I will leave it just like this, however.

Also, I don't understand poppy seeds. They're pretty and all, but kind of useless flavor wise. I'll likely drop them next time just so I don't have to buy more. The glaze, well, it was kind of worthless. Pure sugar taste because the vanilla didn't stand up to the almond flavor. It was also way too thin as written, so I added a bunch of powdered sugar to thicken it. I will definitely find something better next time! 

So here it is, my adapted recipe for Almond Poppy Seed Cake

Yield - 1 - 9x5 loaf 
Results: 3.5 of 5 stars
Shallow, but pretty! 

3/4 C. all-purpose flour
3/4 C. cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/8 C. melted butter
3/8 C. canola or vegetable oil
1 1/8 C. granulated sugar
1 1/2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp almond extract
3/4 C. Buttermilk
3/4 Tbsp poppy seeds


Pre-heat oven to 360 degrees. Prep 9x5 loaf pan with either butter and flour or, my favorite thing to bake with, Wilton's Cake Release.

Sift all dry ingredients together in one bowl.

Mix warm butter, oil and sugar in bowl until sugar is slightly dissolved. Add in eggs and extract and stir to combine.

Add one third of the dry ingredients into butter mixture and stir til just combined. Add in half of the buttermilk. Repeat with flour, buttermilk and the last of the flour. 

Gently stir in poppy seeds.

Pour batter into pan. Tap the pan a couple times to help air bubbles escape. Bake for 50 minutes - rotating half way through - or until golden all over and a knife inserted comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes in pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack. 


1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp butter
2 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C. powdered sugar (optional)

In a tiny sauce pan, heat granulated and brown sugars, butter and water together until dissolved. Do not boil! Once smooth, add in the vanilla extract. I let mine cook off a bit to lose the slightly alcohol-y vanilla smell. If you want a thicker glaze, add the powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Drizzle over the cooling loaf. A cooler loaf will cause a thicker glaze that sits on top and runs down the side. A still warm loaf will let the glaze sink in. Do as you wish. 

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