Queen Esther's Jaffa Poppy Seed Tea Cake with Orange Brandy Sugar Glaze

Marcy Goldman
Recipe by
Marcy Goldman

For Purim, make this cake in miniature loaf pans (usually 12 mini loaves per baking tray) and pack 2 or 3 of them in each Purim basket. This an especially moist, fragrant cake. You can substitute half and half or orange juice (for a pareve cake) for the evaporated milk, but the milk makes for a fine-textured, delicately crumbed loaf.

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups unsweetened evaporated milk or orange juice or half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon undiluted frozen orange juice or orange liqueur
2 tablespoons finely minced orange zest
1/3 cup poppy seeds
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brandy (or ginger ale)
Zest of 1 orange, finely minced
1/2 cup sugar
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans, one large 12-cup Bundt pan, or a 12-portion mini-loaf pan. (If using miniature loaves for a Purim basket, first spray the loaf pan generously with nonstick cooking spray, then line each mold with a paper baking cup widened to fit the loaf molds. This will make the loaves easy to remove and lend them that professional look.)

For the cake

  • Using a whisk or in an electric mixer, blend the sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs. Stir in the evaporated milk, vanilla, frozen orange juice, zest, and poppy seeds and beat well. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder, and blend until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, depending on the pan(s) used. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, the cake is done. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cake rack.

For the glaze