Poppy seeds. They have this taste. Just like sesame seeds have their taste. I was intrigued when I bought a poppy seed slice at a German bakery recently. I then decided to search around for recipes with poppy seeds. A cake seemed like a sensible entry level decision. I have made a poppy seed cake twice now, recipe below.

My second attempt in a round tin is more glamorous and gets the top picture spot!

Second Poppy Seed Cake  - made in a round tin

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 240 g (1½ cups) poppy seeds
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 150 g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 170 g caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 180 g (1½ cups) ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 egg whites

Ingredients for the icing:

  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 125 ml (½ cup) pouring cream (pure cream with 35% fat content)

Steps the day before:

  1. Pour boiling water over the poppy seeds in a bowl.
  2. Strain and return to bowl with the milk.
  3. Refrigerate overnight, then drain well.


  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
  2. Beat the butter, vanilla and caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg yolks, one by one.
  4. Stir in the ground almonds, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds.
  5. Fold in the egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks.
  6. Pour in to a greased, lined 20 cm springform pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until just firm.
  7. Stand for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a plate and cool.
  8. Melt the dark chocolate with the pouring cream.
  9. Cool for 20 minutes, then spread over the cake.

The first time I made it I used a square tin, shovelled it in to a lunch box and brought it along to a Christmas in July country escape and it was a hit. The picture below by the woodfire in the background captures the moment. It was apt for a Christmas theme, as searching online, it is a Ukrainian custom at Christmas.

First Poppy Seed Cake  - made in a square tin

To finish, a picture of the poppy seed slice that I bought at a German bakery that started my adventure.

The slice that started it all