Sunflower Seed Cake

8.27.2012


Looking for a plain cake with a twist on a cold afternoon, I came upon a chapter in a book that was about textured cakes. A bit of everything, from rice flour to bran to buckwheat to rye.
Plain cakes are my weakness, but with an added something, like pepper or sweet wine or red wine, they are my ultimate weakness. I have rows of bags with different flours, seeds, dried fruits, you name it. Sometimes I bake with the sole purpose of using them and this afternoon was no exception. Most of the times I discover a good recipe. This cake falls in all those categories. But the real wonder came when I cut it. Do you see the green flecks of sunflower seeds? Did you know they were so green inside? I didn´t.
I gave a piece of cake to a friend who eyed it suspiciously and took the first bite just because I ordered her to. And it hit her like it hit me. In the second or third bite. Just as you think it is a weird taste, it turns into a good weird taste. Some, like me, found it great weird. The vanilla blends with the seeds, which let their presence be known in no uncertain flavor, and the result is hard to pin. You taste both. They don´t mix completely but at the end they do.
A crunchy and different cake.


SUNFLOWER SEED CAKE
from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book, by Marion Cunningham

½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, room tº
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup dry-roasted sunflower seeds (I used unsalted)

Preheat oven to 350ºF / 180ºC. Grease and flour an 8- inch square pan.
Cream the butter and sugar well. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Sift together the semolina, all purpose flour, baking powder and salt over the egg mixture in the bowl. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until the butter is well blended and smooth (it may look curdled). Stir in the sunflower seeds.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 to 45 minutes, until golden and a tester inserted comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool. Cut into squares and serve from the pan.

25 comments:

  1. What delicious little bits of sunflower within the cake!

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  2. What a lovely and unusual recipe! I first heard of this cookbook via Scandilicious - she made brownies from it - but haven't seen any other recipes. Would love to try this.

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    1. I´ve had this book for more than ten years, but started really investigating it this year. So many good recipes to try! I highly recommend it.

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  3. I love the thought of sunflower seeds in a cake (and plain cakes w/out any super sweet frosting) are definitely my faves. Would love to try this!

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  4. This is such a unique recipe, Paula! I haven't baked a lot with semolina but I can imagine it surely must add a great texture to the finished product.

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    1. I´m very into semolina flour, it adds an interesting texture and color, especially breads.

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  5. I had no idea they were so green! This sounds delicious.

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  6. My all time favorite baking book is Marion Cunningham's Fannie Farmer Baking Book! With 800 recipes it's no wonder I haven't tried this scrumptious cake! An irresistible treat!

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  7. looks delicious, plain cakes are my weakness too (together with nutella!!!)

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  8. Loving your twist my friend, this cake looks stunning :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  9. Beautiful cake, Paula! I have that cookbook, but haven’t picked it up in awhile! So lovely to have with tea or coffee.

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  10. I never use semolina, in fact, semolina flour is something that I never see here in Peru. But I like sunflower seeds, and like to use it on breads, never imagine to use on a sweet thing. If I want to make it, can I do using just regular flour?

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    1. Yes, you can use all purpose flour instead of the semolina Nydia.

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  11. Did you get that green color in a cake from sunflower seeds or did you add something else?

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    1. It´s just the seeds that do that by themselves, it´s almost like they get rusty!

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  12. the mixture of flours with semolina sounds delicious. another good recipe from Marion Cunningham!

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  13. I love a good plain cake too - they are vastly underrated - and you have reminded me i haven't baked one for ages. thanks for the nudge.

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  14. Weirdelicious!!!! Added to my list! something similar happened to me some time ago. I prepared a potato omelette with red onions and they turned into green! My guests were also suspicious of that onion :-)))

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  15. You crack my up with your 'great weird' description. I'm glad you're posting a Marion Cunningham recipe - she's an icon. It made me so sad when she died this year - she was 90, maybe she lived so long by cooking her own delicious recipes!

    I share your affinity for plain cakes. We have a little cupcake shop in our town and because you choose your cake and frosting flavor, there are about 100 combinations. I ALWAYS order vanilla with vanilla. :)
    This cake looks delicious...

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  16. I had no idea sunflower seeds were so green! I love plain cakes, I wish I made them more.

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  17. I'm a big fan of these types of cakes, I actually prefer them to the sweeter variety with cream/frosting. I'm also a sunflower seed fiend. So I would probably find the taste "great weird" too!

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  18. Well, this certainly does sound interesting! Did you use pepitas? Or plain ol' sunflower seeds? ~ David

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