February 27, 2021

HERITAGE RECIPE: Poppy Seed Tea Bread

I have been doing a series of recipes from a few old cookbooks put together by the Rockwood, Michigan Historical Society back in 1995. You can find the original post here.

I have a very fun story to share before this recipe for Poppy Seed Tea Bread. The story and recipe aren't related (as far as I know) but the story is about tea party memories and I chose the recipe from the same section in the book (in the category of Victorian Tea). This story is written by Frances (Vizard) Skinner, who shares memories of her mother attending tea parties with her friends in the 1920's.

"Back in the late 1920's, around 1928 in Rockwood, four women got together every two weeks or once a month to have a little tea party.

They would dress real nice wearing their long skirts and always wore white gloves and hats. This was the only time outside of church they would have a chance to dress up.

This was also a chance to show off their fine china and good linens; the table was set perfectly. The women looked forward to this. It was a chance for the latest news and gossip. They would sit around the dining room table with their best linen tablecloth and napkins. (Paper napkins were not heard of yet.)

They all showed off with their baked goods. Ma always made her homemade fried cakes or her very special apple pie; it looked like a picture when she was done and the other ladies made their favorite desserts. My dad always went around smiling on the day of the party because he knew he was going to get some real tasty goodies.

I always had to go. I was told to sit in a chair and be quiet. After the ladies were done, I got my goodies. I also remember never put your teaspoon on the tablecloth, always put it on the saucer. I wish now I would have paid more attention to what was going on. But I was just a little girl and was bored with the whole thing.

The women were Mrs. Agnes Vizard (my mother), Mrs. Lena Baumeister, Mrs. Catherine McKnight and Mrs. Julia Lambrix. We lived in the old Kramer house on Huron River Drive (now the parking lot of the church). Mrs. Baumeister lived on the corder of Huron River Drive and Burton Street. The house is still there. Mrs. McKnight lived behind her at the corner of Burton and Grant Street and that house is still there. Mrs. Lambrix's house, later to be the George and Eunice Lemerand Home, was on Church Street.

These were the good old days as I remember. I was there!"

Out of curiosity, I looked up Frances Vizard Skinner (who wrote the story above) and discovered she passed away in 2014 at age 93. She had 2 children, 9 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren, and 10 great great grandchildren at the time she passed away. Amazing!

Unfortunately, the recipes for her fried cakes and special apple pie were not listed in the book. However, there is a recipe for Poppy Seed Tea Bread that was submitted by Judy Breitner and I decided to make that. I just had to share the tea party story, though!

Poppy Seed Tea Bread (*Remember, I am writing the recipe exactly as submitted to the cookbook--but make sure you read my notes afterward)

Here is a printer-friendly version!


3 c. flour
2-1/2 c. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1-1/2 c. milk
1 c. cooking oil
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 tsp. almond
1-1/2 tsp. butter flavoring


Grease the bottom and 1/2-inch up sides of an 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pan. *See notes below!

Mix eggs, milk, oil, poppy seeds, vanilla, almond and butter flavorings. Add dry ingredients; stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake at 325 F for 50 to 55 minutes for 8-inch loaf pan or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack; wrap and store overnight.


*This recipe is pretty straight-forward with the exception of the loaf pan(s). From reading the directions, it mostly refers to a singular pan, except when it says to spoon batter into PANS. I figured that was a typo and planned to bake it in one pan.

However, once I made the batter, there was way too much for just one pan. It very clearly makes enough batter for two loaves. I baked them together and they needed more time than stated--this may because I used glass pans and not dark pans (as well as baking two loaves at once). I just started checking with a toothpick after 55 minutes until they were done.

*The last three ingredients are all extract flavorings. I used pure vanilla and almond, but obviously the butter extract was artificial.

*For specificity, I used white all-purpose flour, whole milk and canola oil.

*I wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator.

This recipe was delicious! It was so fun to make something that I'd never even seen before and it smelled and tasted amazing. The flavor reminded me of an almond cookie, and the texture was perfect for this type of bread. (Which is good because I have two loaves of it!) I will definitely make it again.


  1. Oh I love that story! Glad it turned out delish!

  2. I agree that it was a nice story - a great way to be fancy and make something special for themselves.

  3. Did you have butter flavoring? This is the first time I have ever seen that ingredient and had to google it. Glad it tasted so good, I love lemon poppyseed so I bet this would be just as delightful.

    1. I didn't have any at home, but I knew what it was only because I'd used it before when making all sorts of different types of smoothies. It's found with the other artificial extracts at the store.

      The flavor reminds me of a cross between shortbread and almond cookies (Jerry said the same). And the texture is like banana bread. It's SO good!

    2. I meant the flavor of the bread, not the butter flavoring! Haha

  4. My 75yr old MIL just received her grandmother's cook book (complete with hand written notes inside). After reading about your fun foray into heritage recipes, I think I'll check it out too :)

  5. Goodness, nearly as much sugar as flour in this recipe! This is cake.


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