When I was little, one of my favourite things to bake and eat were orange and lemon butterfly cakes, with curd in the middle. Butterfly cakes are such a British thing - and definitely pre-date the cupcake craze. I particularly like them because they're very homemade and rustic. Also, you don't have to use mountains of frosting and can use curd or, as in this case, pastry cream instead.
I thought it would be a nice idea to do a bit of an adult update on these. I still kept a citrus note in both the cake and pastry cream with a touch of lemon zest. I decided that poppy seeds would look quite visually striking when the cake is opened out for the butterfly.
I've never really worked with poppy seeds before but they're gorgeous and lend such a lovely subtle crunch to the cake.
A lot of my inspiration for these comes from a wonderful post over at Cooking for Seven. It's a wonderful documentation in photos and words of a cooking lesson her Grandma gave her and her sisters on how to make Poppy Seed Torte. The photos are incredibly touching and made me miss my late Grandma, who I used to cook with when I was little.
Her Grandma didn't want to share her recipe (fair enough) but I really wanted to make something along those lines. The most striking element to me was the custard filling. I couldn't quite work out how to replicate it exactly, so I decided to make a simple pastry cream and see how that worked. Unfortunately I wasn't really concentrating and took it off the heat before it had totally cooled, so it was a bit drippy.
Despite the drippiness, they tasted great. I've reduced the sugar in the pastry cream recipe below to even less than I used for mine, as it was still a bit too sweet. The pastry cream gave moisture to the cakes and played off the crunchiness perfectly. The lemon note didn't really come through, but I didn't want it to be too obvious anyway.
Apologies for the lighting in these photos - it got a bit dark before I managed to take photos.
Poppy Seed Butterfly Cakes
Edit: I've removed the recipe as I'm not happy with it and don't want you to try it and be disappointed.