Category Archives: Ingredients

Poppy Seed Cake-Filling – Bakalland Poppy Seed Filling

Fun in the Kitchen

Here’s the story of how I came to make my Poppy Seed Pudding – the secret is just to be a little bit courageous and creative:

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Poppy Seed Cake Filling

One day I saw a recipe for Pumpkin Roll,and thought “I’ll make that”. Well it didn’t happen!

Believing I had all the ingredients stored in my cupboard, I assembled all that I could, and only then discovered that a packet I had thought was “pumpkin mix” actually turned out to be “pumpkin soup mix”.

I might have just abandoned the pumpkin roll idea to make pumpkin soup instead, leaving the pumpkin roll to be made on some future occasion. But if I had followed that route, there would never have been a Poppy Seed Pudding a la Diana, and you would not be reading this story, so some good came out of it and, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining.

Although it was close to Halloween, the most popular time of the year for purchasing all things pumpkin, and in spite of a diligent and persistent search of local shops, I could not find any tins of pumpkin, or any pumpkin mix. If the London grocery stores were not full of pumpkin products now, they never would be. Eventually I bought a piece of fresh pumpkin at an astronomical price, left it lying around for a few days until it went fizzy and then had to throw it away, unused.

Undaunted, and determined to make some kind of roll, I cast around in my mind to think what else I could use.

I remembered a tin of Polish poppyseed cake-filling – Bakalland Masa Makova – I had bought a year ago from an ethnic grocery. As the instructions on the tin were in Polish, I was not sure how to use it, and too idle to look it up on the internet.

Poppy seed tin

Bakalland Masa Makova – Poppy Seed

The Pumpkin Roll Recipe was now no longer appropriate as I needed to substitute the pumpkin puree with the poppy seed. I thought the best thing would be to cobble together the best of two recipes. So I looked through a very old International Jewish Recipe Book which my mother had used in Africa in the 1950′s. Sure enough, there was a recipe for Swiss roll.

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A Vintage Recipe Book from 1950

The Most Important Thing to Remember:

Be confident in your cooking – It is usually possible to rescue a spoiled meal by creating something different but still tasty, and no-one will ever know the difference.

So, dodging between American cups and ounces and English cups, (fortunately not having to deal with grams because they do my head in), I knocked up the sponge mixture. One of the recipes called for 4 eggs, which I thought was excessive, and the other for 3, so I compromised using 3 large eggs.

Both recipes both called for waxed grease-proof paper, which I thought had gone out with the swinging 60’s, but obviously not. I had lots of silver foil (several rolls came from a house clearance I did when I was a lawyer doing probate work), so I substituted that, greasing it as required. The recipe stated heating to 350 degrees, but as my oven just has numbers, I guessed approximately Regulo 5.

Cooking went well for 10 minutes.

I opened the tin of Polish Poppy Seed Cake Filling, Bakalland Masa Makova, hoping it wasn’t out of date, and was a bit concerned that it looked too solid to use for a topping. I spread it on the nearly-cooked sponge and returned it to the oven expecting to melt it. After 15 minutes the poppy seed mix hadn’t melted, and sat on the top in a solid lump.

The original pumpkin roll recipe required soft cream cheese in the filling. I had some Philadelphia cream cheese, which is a fairly solid consistency, but I had every hope that it would melt when spread on the hot poppy seed filling. But no, It stuck to the mixture without melting at all.

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Some Ingredients and the Finished Product for Poppy Seed Pudding

Then I tried to remove the sponge from the base of the pan by rolling it, but I realized that the reason you are supposed to put the filling on later, and not at the time like I did, is because first you have to scrape the sponge off the pan, then turn it over and lay it on a cloth sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, and only then should you put the filling on top and then roll it up.

Reader, believe me – you cannot perform these steps with a sticky, heavy mass which has stuck to the bottom of the pan.

I tried to lift the cake up with a fish-lift, sprinkling it in stages with confectioner’s sugar , but it started to break up. In my tussle with the fish-lift, I knocked over the icing sugar, covering the microwave and kitchen counter in with the white powder, and somehow some of the poppy seed mix even flew on to the cupboard door above it.

Rescue Procedure Philosophy – Ride with the tide, not against it:

Realizing this would never be a Swiss roll, roly poly cake, or mock pumpkin roll, because it would not roll up, I allowed the cake to break up, concentrating on lifting it out of the cake pan in as large chunks as possible and thence on to a plate.

Mission accomplished, except for a small portion which was left over and would not fit on the plate:

I put that portion in a pudding dish, and it was at this point, a Eureka Moment, that I realized that this could be the makings of a brand new delicious pudding, possibly to be eaten heated up, with a little cream cheese topping to make it a bit tart, and a splash of cream, or even ice cream. Alternatively it would be just right with custard.


E voila! The birth of a new dish – Poppy Seed Pudding a la Diana.

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Poppy Seed Pudding a la Diana

You can see the result in the photograph above.

Here’s the full Recipe for Poppy Seed Pudding Diana

As it’s nice with Custard here’s my Recipe – How to Make Custard the Easy Way

Here are 3 YouTube Videos Showing How to Make Poppy Seed Roll – try them all and see which one you prefer:

This Poppy Seed Roll – Polish style looks good:     Polish Poppy Seed Roll

Another Polish Poppy Seed Roll:   Polish Poppy Seed Roll Polish Makowiec

A Traditional Kosher Poppy Seed Roll: How to Make Leah’s (so) Simple Kosher Poppy Seed Roll

What do you do if and when you have a cooking disaster?

Do you throw it away in disgust and disappointment, or do you wax creative and manage to save the day?

Perhaps you’d do what anyone would do in a food emergency – open a packet and knock up the nearest equivalent to what you were planning to cook in the first case!

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