April 20, 2019

Poppy Seed Smetanik ~ #TheCakeSliceBakers

Baking is therapy.

The Cake Slice Bakers have now baked four cakes from the The European Cake Cookbook by Tatyana Nesteruk, and each cake has taken me to a different part of Europe.

The choices for April were a Poppy Seed Smetanik, a Rhubarb Strawberry Tea Cake, an Opera Cake, and a Marbled Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake. This month I was really torn between two cakes, but in the end my lack of time dictated which one I chose to bake - well that and the fact that I just happened to have some poppy seeds leftover from a previous bread I had baked.

Whilst this cake was easy to put together, I have to admit that there were some parts of the instructions that had been questioning if I should go rogue and instead make the cake how I thought would best set me up for success.  I guess you would call this part of my post truth in blogging. 😊 The first part of the recipe I struggled with was the instruction to cream together the eggs, sugar, and sour cream. By adding these three ingredients together I did not get a cohesive creamed batter, but rather a runny mess. I did as instructed and sifted the flour mixture into the cake and then the poppy seeds, but it was still a rather thin and runny batter.  I kept going as I was really curious as to how it was going to come out of the oven. 

Not surprisingly the cakes did not rise as much as I hopped they would, and after cooling them I think I wisely chose not to tempt fate and try to cut each layer in half. My cake would be three layers rather than six. Then came the icing.  I know the recipe warned that it would be runny, but I doubt it would have even stuck to the cake if I had used it.  So instead I added a lot (and I mean a lot) more powdered sugar to make it stable and then I put it on the cake, but I still was not thrilled with the consistency.  I also added lemon zest to boost the flavor. Whilst it was chilling in the fridge my husband happened to look in the fridge and promptly told me that my cake looked funny. 😬

After it had chilled out it came, and instead of using vanilla cookies I chose to use Biscoff Cookies.  I really like the caramelized sugar and spice taste of them, and they paired really well with the flavor of the cake. There was no way I was going to tempt fate with melted chocolate and a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off. So I did what I think was the smart thing and grabbed my bottle of Starbucks Mocha Sauce which has the perfect tip for drizzling, and used it to draw the lines on top of the cake.  Thank goodness the end result was way better than I thought it was going to be, but if I bake it again I will definitely approach the preparation in a totally different way. 

Poppy Seed Smetanik 
Printer Friendly Recipe

Cake ~
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 200g (1 cup) sugar
  • 370g (1½ cups) sour cream
  • 155g (1¼ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 8g (2 teaspoons) baking powder
  • 30g (¼ cup) poppy seeds
Icing ~
  • 225g (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 245g (1 cup) sour cream
  • 190g (1½ cups) powdered sugar
  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
Garnish ~
  • crushed vanilla biscuits
  • 45g (¼ cup) dark chocolate chips, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ (350℉).
  2. Line three 20cm (8-inch) round cake pans with parchment paper and pray the sides with baking spray.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the eggs, sugar, and sour cream.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients into the cake batter, mixing just until the flour is incorporated.
  6. Add the poppy seeds last.
  7. Divide the cake batter evenly between the three cake pans.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool the layers completely on a wire rack.
  10. Once cool, use a sharp serrated knife to split each layer in half, creating six thin layers.
  11. Prepare the sour cream icing by creaming together the butter and sour cream first, then add the powdered sugar and vanilla (the icing will be slightly runny).
  12. Assemble the cake by spreading a generous amount of the icing between each cake layer and over the top and sides of the cake.
  13. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (once the cake has chilled it will be easier to handle).
  14. Garnish the sides with crushed vanilla biscuits.
  15. For an additional garnish drizzle melted chocolate over the top.
  16. Refrigerate again for 1 hour, then slice and enjoy.

Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through. This year it is The European Cake Cookbook by Tatyana Nesteruk. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!

Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the thumbnail pictures below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

The Cake Slice Bakers also have a new Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.

Our choices for April 2019 were ~

1. Poppy Seed Smetanik
2. Rhubarb Strawberry Tea Cake
3. Opera Cake
4. Marbled Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake

Poppy Seed Smetanik

Marbled Chocolate Orange Bundt

Rhubarb Strawberry Tea Cake 

Opera Cake


  1. Good comments about the recipe. I'm gonna have to look for that Starbuck's sauce. That sounds great.

  2. Oh this is pretty and I'm starting to think differently about poppy seeds. Beautiful work

  3. Three layers was a good choice! Looks very pretty with the lattice on top and I'll bet those spice cookies really went well with the rest of the cake. Sometimes cookbook authors don't triple test their recipes so now we know to do a few things differently with this one.

  4. Well done for being honest about it. I found the icing on my cake was definitely not the same as the one in the photo. It does make you wonder how well they are tested!

  5. I'm glad you were able to rescue the cake from a less-than-perfect recipe. I'm going to remember about the Starbucks Mocha syrup. It sounds like a trick I definitely could have used in the past.


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