Cherry Poppy Seed CakeLoaf pans are designed for simple pleasures: i.e., pound cake and meatloaf. Anyone can do it and everyone will love it. It’s like that.

David Lebovitz baked the “Cherry Poppy Seed Cake” from Yossy Arefi’s Sweeter Off the Vine, and that was enough to win me, especially when he said I could use frozen cherries, folding them in while they’re still frozen. The streusel formula here is not insulting. It involves oats and poppy seeds. The poppy seed thing grabbed me. They’re fun and exciting and I don’t cook with them enough.

Here’s another thing that makes this cake so approachable: it’s easy to assemble without a mixer. That’s right. You mix the streusel by hand, breaking the butter with your fingers. In another bowl, you rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers again. It’s all very satisfying.

My cake baked for more than 80 minutes before it was ready. It was beautifully moist, thanks to the grapeseed oil, eggs, and yogurt. It was lemony. I loved the poppy-seed crunch and the balanced sweetness of the cherries. Make this special cake and be a hero, easily.

Lemons (2) = .87¢

PREP TIME: butter and eggs need to come to room temperature, allow at least two hours for assembly, baking, cooling
TASTE: moist, lemony, and sweet enough

Next time, I’m ready to reach a cooking milestone: I will tackle the “Vietnamese Green Papaya and Beet Salad,” from the May 2016 issue of Food & Wine, after years of sitting in restaurants for this incredible, elusive salad. Come back to my site next week, to celebrate this victory with me.