Genoise au citron et pavot

gateau printemps1April in Paris… Snowflakes and gray skies… Nary a blossom is to be seen… Given the situation, the only solution the other day was to make a beautiful cake. It was Easter Sunday and I’d been invited to dinner. The hostess asked me to bring a dessert. I had little time, having had a guest myself at lunchtime, so I put on my thinking cap and came up with this lemon-poppyseed tort — quick to make, fun to decorate, lovely to behold.

Genoise au citron et pavot / Lemon-poppyseed tort

The cake is a genoise flavored with grated lemon peel and poppyseeds. I iced it with a mix of confectioner’s sugar, milk, lemon and brandy. Then came the decoration — ah, the decoration! This is an art I picked up while working as a chef at the Café Dewitt in Ithaca, New York, many years ago. We had some candy eggs left over from lunchtime, so I placed them around the rim, interspersed with miniature daffodils from a plant I’d bought at the market. And for the tray, strawberries. When the cake was presented that evening, oohs and aahs erupted and the guests broke into song — literally! Of course, it’s not Easter every day, but this cake may be decorated in many different ways. For example, with a sprinkling of poppyseeds on top, strawberries around the rim and flowers strew around the tray. It’s so much fun! Just use your imagination…

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