Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Foodie Pen Pal Parcel - Flourless Poppy Seed Cakes

Oh yes people it is foodie pen pal parcel time again. If you don’t know what this is yet where have you been? Well it basically involves wonderful foodie loving people sending and receiving little parcels of culinary wonders each month.  This is still the highlight of my month, not only due to the delight of receiving a parcel full of unknown goodies but also compiling an individualised parcel for someone else.

This month I sent a parcel to Kim and you can see what I sent to her at her blog For The Love Of Post

I was then lucky enough to receive a parcel from Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt and just look at all the goodies I was sent. There were so many things to pull out of this parcel it kept me entertained for a considerable amount of time!!!

White Tea and Raspberry – I am a massive fan of white tea and the fruity addition to this blend is really summery and delicious.

Mini Gingerbread Men – Yum…and soooo cute!

Kinder Pingui – I love all things coconut and hadn’t come across this Kinder variety before…will definitely search out this chewy bounty like treat in the future.

Olive and Pine Nut Crackers – These were homemade by Carol Anne and were really mourish, great dunked in a little tapenade!

Organic Hot Chocolate – Well who isn’t a fan of a good hot chocolate…, and this really is a good hot chocolate…smooth, rich and creamy.

Wild Garlic Salt – Thanks to the Foodie Pen Pal parcel scheme my salt collection is starting to look rather health. I added a good pinch of this to a watercress soup I made the other week and it proved to be the perfect seasoning.

Limoncello – Another homemade item from Carol Anne. I was determined to wait until a real summer’s day before I enjoyed this one (and in Northern Ireland we don’t get all that much Italian style weather). But my patience paid off and the sun finally emerged for one whole afternoon last week!!! So I savoured this tipple whilst sitting on the patio in the sunshine…it was pure summer in a glass and I will definitely be following Carol Anne’s recipe and making my own batch of this.

Stodka Chwila – A warm Polish cherry drink…I think I followed the directions correctly (well I copied the pictures rather than the wording on the back of the packet!!)

Dip Dab – I used to love these as a kid…and well I still love them now, woot woot for a good old retro sweet shop classic.

Grape tic tacs – I didn’t know there were varieties of tic tac beyond the white the orange and the green ones! But according to Wikipedia 57 different flavours have been produced world wide…am going to have to start to work my way through all of these!

Almond and Arrack essence – These cute little bottles of flavourings were from a local Polish store…a great little addition to my store cupboard.

So I think you will agree this really was the most amazing little box of wonders. And you may have noticed there was quite a selection of Polish goodies as Carol Anne had been raiding a local Polish shop. So I thought it was only right to find a Polish recipe to test using some of the ingredients sent. After a little bit of an internet search I came across a few poppy seed cake recipes containing the arrack essence and so my own take on these classics developed and poppy seed cupcakes with arrack and white chocolate icing were born!

Thanks sooooo much to Carol Anne for the wonderful parcel and the inspiration for this flourless recipe!

Flourless Poppy Seed Cakes


150g butter
5 eggs, separated
225g caster sugar
175g ground almonds
175g poppy seeds
60g sesame seeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon arrack essence (you could replace this with vanilla extract if you can’t get your hands on arrack!)
½ teaspoon salt

Makes 24 cup cakes

Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C / 350 deg F and line a cup cake tin with paper cake cases.

Put the poppy seeds and sesame seeds into a large bowl, cover with warm water and allow to soak for 1-2 hours.

After soaking drain the seeds using a fine sieve, return to the bowl and add the ground almonds.
In a separate bowl beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Then add the egg yolks and arrack essence and continue to beat until well combined. Then add the poppy seed mixture and stir together until the seeds are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites together with the baking powder and salt until light and stiff, forming stiff peaks.

Carefully fold the egg whites into the rest of the mixture.

Then spoon the mixture into the cake cases and put the tins into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown. Then remove from the oven, transfer the cakes to a wire rack and allow to cool.


100g white chocolate
140g butter
200g icing sugar
1 teaspoon arrack essence (again use vanilla extract is you haven’t got arrack)

Break the white chocolate into chunks and place in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water (ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Allow the chocolate to start to melt before gently stirring the mixture until smooth and lump free and remove from the heat.

Beat the butter and icing sugar together in a bowl. Once light and fluffy add the melted white chocolate along with the arrack essence and continue to beat until smooth and thick.

Once the cakes are cooled pipe the icing on top and then sprinkle with a few extra poppy seeds to complete the decoration.

Recipe adapted from Poppy Seed and Black Sesame Cake recipe at She Shimmers 


  1. Arrack AND poppy seeds? Oh heck yes! So glad you liked your parcel, your kind words have left me blushing ;)

    1. It was all so exciting....going to have to think of something fun to do with my little bottle of almond essence now!! :o)

  2. I love the idea of these Parcels :) it must feel wonderful to get and to recieve one of these :)

    1. It is such a fun idea...I'm so glad I got involved!

  3. The olive and pine nut crackers sound yummy! What a great package!

    1. The crackers were really yum...and the recipe is on thisisrocksalt.com, another one I am going to have to try out soon!!