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Makova Torta

June 17, 2011

Makova Torta - Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

I caution you that eating this cake in North America might cause you to lose your child to social services, or even cost you your job, but after tasting it, I think you will agree it’s well worth it.

Makova Torta is a tarty lemon poppy seed cake recipe I found in Pauline’s notes.  Consuming poppy seeds apparently can cause a false positive test result for opiates, one new mother recently discovered.  Pauline never had that problem, and even made her kids an opium based drink when they couldn’t sleep at night, a common practice in the former Yugoslavia.

Her cake recipe says to fill it with a custard and frost with butter cream; to save on time, I filled and frosted it all with a butter cream that I flavored with almond butter.

The cake’s thin layers burst with the sharp taste of lemon and each bite crackles with poppy seeds.  Along with the crunchy almonds on top, the cake’s tartness and the slightly crunchy texture from the seeds are a perfect compliment to the rich, smooth butter cream.

To make the cake’s lemon flavor even more pronounced, next time I might make the butter cream lemon flavored, or even cream-cheese flavored.  And I would add another 1/2 cup of poppy seeds to increase the poppy crunch.  To enhance the poppy flavor, I microwaved the seeds for a minute before adding them to the batter, whereas Pauline might have ground them.  The cake will disappear fast; I suggest you save a slice for the police, your OBGYN or your boss.

Makova Torta with Almond Butter Cream


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 spoonfuls of sugar
  • 13 dg of poppy seeds (about 2/3 cup)
  • 4 spoonfuls of flour
  • grated peel from 1 lemon, and the juice
  • froth from 6 whipped  egg whites

 Almond Butter Cream:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 sticks butter, cut into ½ inch slices
  • ¾ cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup toasted almond slices
Cake Steps:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour 2 cake pans
  2. Whip the 6 egg whites and set aside
  3. In the mixer on medium, blend the egg yolks, sugar, flour and poppy seeds together until creamy and white, about 3-5 minutes
  4. Add in the lemon peel and lemon juice and blend for another minute
  5. Fold the egg whites into the lemony batter
  6. Pour into pans and bake for about 15-17 minutes until the edges start to turn golden
  7. Cool slightly and remove from the pans
  8. When completely cool, split the two layers horizontally, making 4 layers
  9. Spread each layer with butter cream, and frost the cake with the butter cream as well
  10. Sprinkle cool, toasted almonds on top
Almond Butter Cream Steps:
  • In the mixer, blend the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and milk at medium speed until smooth.
  • While running, add the butter, small pieces at a time, until well blended
  • Add almond butter and whip at highest speed 10-12 minutes
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stan permalink
    June 17, 2011 3:12 pm

    Now I know why Pauline is smiling in that photograph… This is one amazing recipe…

  2. June 17, 2011 3:35 pm

    Her recipes are killing me – I can’t stop at one slice…!

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