Question: The food at The Uptown Cafe in Butte, Mont., is as interesting as the history of the city. The cafe is famous for its Poppy Seed Cake. It's a really good recipe that doesn't seem too rich. I will be anxiously awaiting this recipe in your column.

- Margaret Riley, Bountiful, Utah

Answer: A bawdy, brawling Butte, Mont., was born out of the gold boom of the 1870s. Emphasis shifted to mining silver in the 1880s, and copper became king in the mid-1880s. Butte copper provided the metal for the wires that electrified 20th-century America.

The Berkeley Pit, a huge hole in the ground put there by miners digging for copper, offers viewers a glimpse of what was a vast wealth of valuable ores lying beneath Butte. The pit is one of the world's largest open pit mines, measuring a mile wide, 1 1/2 miles long and 1,800 feet deep. Street signs such as Granite, Mercury, Quartz and Copper remain unchanged, but the hole is what remains of "the richest hill on earth."

Upward, above the scarred earth, is a 90-foot-high Madonna, called Our Lady of the Rockies, erected atop the Continental Divide overlooking Butte. The rugged men erecting the statue dedicated the Madonna "to all women, especially to mothers."

Chocolate omelets, green bell pepper and strawberry sundaes, and Poppy Seed Cake are standard fare at The Uptown Cafe. The Poppy Seed Cake, which works in low or high altitudes without adjustment, will keep a number of days in a covered container on the countertop and freezes well unglazed. Serve it plain for snacking, glazed for dessert or with orange slices for breakfast.





2 3/4 cups sugar

1 cup corn oil

3 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups milk


1 cup powdered sugar

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1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In large bowl of mixer, combine sugar, corn oil, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat to blend. Combine and sift flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt into separate bowl. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk into large mixing bowl containing sugar mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix to blend. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake approximately 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and place pan on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Prepare glaze while cake is cooling: Whisk powdered sugar, orange juice and almond extract together in small bowl to blend. Turn out cake onto rack or cake platter. Spoon glaze over warm cake and allow cake to cool completely before slicing. Makes 12 servings.

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