whisk: yogurt poppyseed cake with mascarpone frosting and fresh strawberries

The Denver Chapter of Junior League has been releasing cookbooks for the past 30 years and some of my best recipes are from them. This cake was first published in 1978 in their Colorado Cache cookbook and I’ve been eating it for as long as I can remember. As a child, this was the cake I requested each year for my birthday. My mother would make it for breakfast and serve simply dusted with powdered sugar. More recently, it has become my new tradition to serve this cake at Easter brunch. It is such a great cake, spongy, light, flavorful and yet not overly sweet, its more of a coffee cake than a sheet cake. The mascarpone frosting and fresh strawberries make this the perfect brunch cake.

Here’s how its made:

Yogurt Poppyseed Cake
From the Junior League of Denver, Colorado Cache Cookbook

1 c. plain yogurt
2 oz.(1/4 cup) poppy seeds
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 cups 2 tablespoons sifted flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 chilled eggs, separated

Start by placing the metal mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill. In the meantime, grease a tube pan or angel food cake pan, line the bottom with parchment and set aside. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and then combine the yogurt and poppy seeds in a bowl and set aside allowing the seeds to soak while you start the cake. Separate the eggs and place the whites in the chilled mixing bowl and the yolks in a bowl in the side. Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form, gentle transfer to a separate bowl and set aside. Clean the bowl and then cream together the butter and sugar beating until fluffy. Reduce speed and blend in the yogurt mixture and stir until combined. Add vanilla, flour and baking soda and stir until combined. Next, beat the egg yolks using a fork and add to the blender, mix until combined. Then slowly fold in the egg whites using a spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes until the cake bounces back when pressed down and the cake is starting to come away from the edges. Allow to cool for five minutes in the pan and then remove and set on a baking rack to cool completely.

Mascarpone Frosting
1 c. heavy whipping cream
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1 quart of fresh strawberries

In a clean dry chilled mixing bowl, whip the cold heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla extract and stir until just combined. Slice the cake in the middle and place the bottom on your serving dish. Spread about 1/4 of the frosting evenly, place sliced strawberries evenly around the frosting. Add 1/4 of the frosting and spread on top of the strawberries. Place top half of the cake and frost the top and edges with the remaining frosting. Decorate the top with the remaining strawberries and allow to chill for 30 minutes or so.


Slice, serve and enoy!