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Lenora’s Poppy Seed Chiffon

  • Author: Meagan
  • Total Time: 75 Minutes


Or as we know it – Brock’s birthday cake.  This is lovingly from my mother-in-law (who has made this cake for all members of her family, thousands of times).  She believes that her mom, Lenora, made it first – but who knows where the recipe came from originally?  The regular argument when this cake is served is all about the frosting…so just make a lot!  Below is the doubled version which thickly frosts the whole chiffon, but I actually cut the cake in half (to add more frosting in a middle layer), and if I choose to do that again, I’ll make one and a half times the frosting recipe below.  Also keep in mind that this cake turns out beautifully (better even!) if made ahead and frozen…frosting a cold cake is also much easier – enjoy!



Lenora’s Poppy Seed Chiffon

Soak for 2 1/2 hours – 1/2 c. poppy seeds AND 1 c. room temperature water

Into a bowl, combine;

2 c. flour AND 3 t. baking powder

1 1/2 c. white sugar AND 1 t. salt

Make a well in the center of the mix and add, in order;

1/2 c. canola oil

7 egg yolks

poppy seed and water mix

2 t. vanilla

1/4 t. baking soda

Using an electric hand-mixer, beat it all together until smooth.  Preheat the oven to 325.

Separately, in your electric mixer, beat the 7 egg whites with 1/2 t. cream of tartar until they form very stiff peaks – do NOT under beat. A spatula should leave a clean line.

When the egg whites are ready, carefully and slowly pour the egg yolk mixture over the entire surface of the egg whites, cutting and gently folding the batter together with a spatula. Continue to fold gently, making sure to rotate the bowl, until it’s completely blended and then pour the batter into your ungreased 10-inch tube pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 50 minutes at 325 and then turn the heat up to 350 and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. The surface will be cracked, the cake should be busting out of the pan and the top should bounce right back when lightly touched. Don’t let anyone run or jump around your house when this is baking!

Immediately invert the cake so that the center bit is balanced on a funnel and the whole cake is hanging upside down but not touching anything but the funnel – it needs to stay this way until it cools completely.

Using a bread knife, carefully trim the puffed out cake bits (if necessary), then carefully loosen any visible bit of cake from any visible bit of pan that it’s touching, using your thinnest spatula – the cake should then basically fall out of the pan with the bottom tray still attached. Use the same method to loosen it from the bottom tray and you should have a pretty good-looking cake.  I found this one of the easiest chiffons to de-pan.  Since it’s cooled completely, wrap well and freeze until ‘eating day’ or set it aside until your frosting is ready.

Poppy Seed Chiffon Topping

In a large pot, combine the following;

1 1/3 c. sugar AND 1 c. evaporated milk

6 egg yolks AND 2/3 c. butter

Cook and stir this mix over medium heat until it comes to a boil then remove it from the heat and add;

1 t. vanilla

2 2/3 c. unsweetened coconut AND 2 c. chopped pecans


Cool the topping/frosting for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  You’ll know when it’s a good consistency to put on the cake and again, frosting a cold cake is so much easier.  Please also note that frosting a chiffon with this topping is less about ‘spreading’ and more about ‘applying’…it takes a knack, I actually have to press it on sometimes, but it works!  And it’s worth it!!

  • Category: Cakes, Make-ahead, Freezes Well, Chiffon


From Meagan's Kitchen

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