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Just A Poem And A Cake

Have you ever sat by a window, raised your fingers to your temples, and willed it to snow?

Me neither–mainly because if I wish for snow in Alabama, I’m liable to get a mean-ass tornado filled with flying tractors and chickens.  Or a grits blizzard.

But I did happen to be in Virginia when it snowed this week.


I was sitting by the window with a cup of tea when it happened.

It reminded me of a poem by Howard Nemerov that I’ve been wanting to tell you about.

It goes like this:

Because You Asked About The Line Between Prose And Poetry

Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle

window That while you watched turned to pieces of snow

snowRiding a gradient invisible

snow IIFrom silver aslant to random, white, and slow.

snow III

There came a moment that you couldn’t tell

snow IIIAnd then they clearly flew instead of fell.

snow IV

Lovely, isn’t it?  Especially when paired with tea and cake.  poppyseed breadMy mom has been making this cake since I was a wee thing.  It’s a moist, not-too-sweet poppy seed cake with a texture a little lighter than banana bread.  It’s not sweet enough or cakey enough to serve for dessert; it’s more something you’d eat for breakfast, or at 3 p.m. when you’re feeling peckish.

poppyseed bread

That’s all for now–happy weekend, friends!

Eggton’s Poppy Seed Snacking Cake {Download & Print Recipe}
recipe from my mom


2 c. sugar

1 1/3 c. vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 c. all-purpose (white) flour

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 oz. poppy seeds

12 oz. evaporated milk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

Mix the flours, baking soda and salt together in a bowl and then add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk.  Beat well.  Stir in the poppy seeds.

Butter and flour a tube pan or bundt pan.  Pour the batter into it and bake for 50-70 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.  Try not to over-bake it or the cake will be dry.  When the cake has cooled completely, turn it out onto a serving plate a dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

The cake will keep covered, at room temperature, for several days.



What is this face?  Did she watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas too many times last week?  She looks like she’s plotting to steal a Christmas tree.  Not acceptable!

36 Comments Post a comment
  1. Maggie Bullard #

    I adore this poem! The photos are just beautiful.

    January 4, 2013
    • I’m so glad you like the poem, Maggie. I took those photos from the dining room window at my parents’ place, and then I went out on the back porch in my pajamas (not recommended). I hope you are doing well!

      January 4, 2013
  2. From silver aslant to random, white, and slow. Love it. And love your cake, too. And Thunder, of course.

    January 4, 2013
  3. Joy #

    I LOVE those plates! And Thunders face 🙂 giggles

    January 4, 2013
  4. I’m glad you got to see some snow! If only Wisconsin could send a care package to Alabama… there’s more than enough to go around.

    Lovely photos, too. That cake makes me want to invest in a bundt pan!

    January 4, 2013
  5. The beautiful poetry is highlighted by your beautiful pictures. And, I must say, love the picture of the pooch. Better watch your back, my friend!

    January 4, 2013
  6. A lovely poem for a lovely cake. The dreamy photos are beautiful too.

    January 4, 2013
  7. Laura Flickinger #

    Kate; it is a delight to read your blog and to learn about the wonderful young woman you’ve become. Your parents gave me the address in their Christmas card to me this year. I have such fond memories of babysitting for you when you were little! Once again, thank you for your posts, your recipes and for sharing your lovely ideas with all of us. XXOO, Laura

    January 4, 2013
  8. A poem AND a cake, and both just sweet enough to be divine.. what stunning images.. I do love snow.. c

    January 4, 2013
  9. How did you do that? How did you find the perfect poem to describe our smattering of snow? And the photos too?? Does that tea and cake have magical snow-describing powers?

    January 4, 2013
  10. Beautiful poem, especially paired with your lovely photos and a slice of that homey, comforting cake. I think Thunder needs a piece!

    January 4, 2013
  11. I love poems. they reach my heart deeper then anything else. beautiful composition, I mean these photos puls this cake 🙂

    January 4, 2013
  12. beautiful, beautiful, just beautiful!

    January 4, 2013
  13. Oh holy moly, I love that poem so much: it hung above my desk for a while.

    Your pictures were Just Right. I feel as if you have given me a gift. Thank you.

    January 4, 2013
  14. David #

    Peckish is a terrific word.

    January 4, 2013
  15. sarahlpearse #

    I love the poem, the image of your tea with the little leaf poking its head out to see the snow, too, and I loved eating a good third of that cake. Poppyseed cake is a wonderful thing.

    January 4, 2013
  16. 🙂 Your posts always make me smile! And you know how much I adore your sweet pup!

    January 4, 2013
  17. Wow, a poem and cake all in one post. Love it. Love the pictures you put with the prose. Will love the cake when I make it. Looking forward to my next cup of tea….

    January 4, 2013
  18. Okay, I need you to send some whole wheat flour and poppy seeds. I have all of the other ingredients for this cake in my baking cupboard, but the whole wheat flour and poppy seeds were purged in a pantry cleaning frenzy shortly after I ate… the moths. I REALLY want to make this for tomorrow’s breakfast, but I was tired after school today (it’s only the second day of the second term and I already feel exhausted), and I put on my pyjamas at 3 pm. Now there are five of us on the bed. ebony is laying on a hot water bottle (yup, we’re teaching our cats to lay on hot water bottles – it’s a veterinary experiment), 2.0 is playing with his new iPad mini, effie and niles are sucking up all the heat from the space heater at the foot of the bed, AND I CAN’T GO TO THE GROCERY STORE. (I’m just starting the second season of Weeds on Netflix. I’m committed for the evening. And there’s the cat/pyjama thing.) I hear the American postal system is amazeballs, so see what you can do.

    Also, that picture of the mug? It’s even better than putting your pyjamas on at 3 pm.

    January 4, 2013
  19. The photos are so perfect with the poem! And both with cake of course; everything’s better with cake. Happy new year!

    January 4, 2013
  20. jenny_o #

    A lovely, dreamy, homey essay … thank you for introducing me to that poem.

    Love the pictures of your dogs 🙂

    January 4, 2013
  21. Mary #

    So beautiful. Thank you for sharing the pictures, poem, and the recipe. I love anything I can make in a bundt pan. I’ll have to click back on this post when I just need a dose of snow on my windowpane. There is really nothing else like it.

    January 4, 2013
  22. I love the idea of this poppy seed snacky cake. I recently made something else with poppy seeds, so I have (nearly) an entire container left to put to use. Glad you got to see some lovely snow, it always puts me in a festive mood. Here in LA, the leaves are still falling off trees. Bizarre weather to be sure.

    January 5, 2013
  23. Thanks for posting that recipe! Im lookinf forward to trying it!

    January 5, 2013
  24. Rats! Seymour saw me steal his squeak toy! I’ll just hide it here in the leaves while I keep an eye on him…

    January 5, 2013
  25. Candy #

    You never fail to crack me up! Grits blizzard…hahahaha!!!!

    January 5, 2013
  26. I love this post.

    January 5, 2013
  27. Sarah #

    Love this post! And that cake? Looks AWESOME!

    January 6, 2013
  28. Beautiful interpretation of the poem. -Nikki

    January 7, 2013
  29. Amy #

    I absolutely love your pictures of the snow falling- you captured the movement! They’re so peaceful and serene. I want to be in that room right now! All bundled up with a blanket, a cup of tea and a good book…oh, and a piece of that cake 😉

    January 8, 2013
  30. I made this for our after-the-holidays holiday party and it was simply wonderful. I added a bit of lemon glaze for a bit of extra sweetness. It was tasty for breakfast as well. 🙂

    January 13, 2013
    • Bob, I am thrilled! Thanks for letting me know. An after-the-holidays holiday party is such a great idea.

      January 13, 2013
      • We started having the party in January a few years back when we couldn’t find a free weekend in December. It makes for a nice cap on the seasonal celebrations and gives us an excuse to keep the Christmas tree up an extra week.

        January 13, 2013
  31. *happy*
    because, this whole post. Also, i think anything called “snacking cake” entitles me to eat it anytime. it no longer carries the restrictions of cake. And i could eat that with abandon.

    January 14, 2013
  32. those photos are just gorgeous!

    May 1, 2014

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