We’ve had a bit of a rough go on the balcony this summer. This time last year I believe I was posting lots of photos of lush red tomatoes and assorted herbs, all excited. We had a few things go wrong this year, first being a huge rain storm that almost drowned everything, and the second being pots without holes in the bottoms. I think what we’ve got going on is some root rot. (at least no aphid infestation!?). The tomatoes are suffering particularly, as well as the long grasses and the banana peppers. The bougainvillea is growing a lot but producing exactly zero flowers, and the lettuces and peas are goners. The herbs, chili peppers, and ivy have bounced back, and the tomato plants are producing fruit still but it’s not in good condition and has almost no leaves left on it’s bottom half. The leaves that remain look like these ones…


Anybody have experience with this particular leaf-death-pattern!? They look like this to start with and then they turn brown, dried up, and fall off.

Not all is a fail though, as you can see from these images below: it’s still nice to have all that greenery out there, even if we know we could’ve done better.


For custom railing and other decorative metal work for your home garden or indoor/outdoor space check out this link for Be Metal Be out of Australia, laser cut metalwork designs. Anything from simple privacy screens to custom designed art pieces for indoor applications. Very creative.




Spiced Poppyseed Coffee Cake:   yields one 8 inch round cake

1+1/2 cup                  all purpose flour

2 TB                           cornmeal

1/2 tsp                       salt

2+1/2 tsp                   baking powder

1 tsp                          ground ginger

1/2 tsp                       cinnamon

2 TB                           poppyseeds

1/3 cup                      melted butter

1/2 cup + 2TB            milk

1 tsp                           vanilla

1                                  egg

Streusel Topping for one 8 inch round cake:

1/4 cup                         melted butter

1/4 cup                         sugar

few pinches                  spices, as above

1/2 cup                         combo of all purpose flour + oats

-Preheat your oven to 350F, and blend together the ingredients for the streusel topping first, set aside.

-Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, spices, and poppyseeds for the cake batter, set aside.

-Place the the melted butter, milk, vanilla, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend with the paddle attachment until combined.

-Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend until just combined, do not overmix. Just mix until there are no lumps of dry ingredients.

-Spread the batter into a prepared 8 or 9 inch cake pan and even out the top so that it is smooth and flat. Top with batter with the streusel mixture and bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating once or twice during bake time. When the cake bounces back in the center when pressed lightly and/or a skewer inserted comes out clean, the cake is ready.

-Cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.




Ciao for now, guys.

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Posted by:Ashley

6 replies on “Spiced Poppyseed Coffee Cake

  1. Sorry to hear about your ill plants, the tomatoes might have early blight to which i lost a tomato plant last year. Each year a new problem comes about, a farmer once told me that it takes about 10 seasons – 10!- before one gets the hang of it 😦 so, just keep on trying!

    1. Ok Paula I’ll do some googling on early blight, thanks for the insight! Yes I figured it’s an art that requires lots of practice! The 18th floor with lots of wind and limited sun is tricky too. Thanks for the encouragement, it’s much needed, ha!

  2. I love poppyseed cakes! My mother and I have always made poppyseed wine cakes during holidays, so I’m incredibly excited about trying a new one! However, I do like to always used the freshest ingredients I can so my flavors are as rich as possible. Ashley, Have you tried some version of freshly ground ginger in this cake? I’m curious if it would change the taste or even the amount needed if it was fresh. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Seema! Thanks for commenting! You could definitely add fresh ginger to this cake, and I’d suggest a fair amount. It would give a nice zing! What exactly is poppyseed wine cake?

      1. Hi Ashley, That sounds delicious! I will definitely try it! A wine cake is a cake that uses a fair bit of sherry or port, oil and pudding with the average cake recipe, so the texture is incredibly dense and moist. I prefer mine with poppy seeds and an almond glaze, as well. It’s one of my favorite desserts to make! One box of cake mix (or the homemade equivalent), 1 large package of vanilla pudding mix, 4 eggs, ¾ cup sherry, ¾ cup salad oil, 1 tsp nutmeg and 1/3 cup poppy seeds. Mix all together and bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. It’s delicious!

      2. Thank you for the recipe Seema! Sounds interesting, I will have to check it out. You can never have enough cake, especially where wine is involved 🙂

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