Poppy Seed Cake Recipe

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

Put this poppy seed cake at the top of your to-do list. It’s a winner! The hint of rum, salted pistachios over chocolate ganache, the (not overly sweet) fluffy frosting and super soft and moist cake layers make this an amazing cake.

This was my sister Anna’s Birthday cake. I sneakily figured out that my poppy seed cake roll was her favorite. I then decided to turn that very popular recipe into a delicious beauty of a cake. Everyone at her party gave rave reviews.

The base of this cake is a European sponge cake called Biskvit, which is the best because it holds moisture really well and you can bake and freeze the cake layers months in advance. Biskvit can be used for just about any cake you can dream up. I tweaked my usual recipe a teensy bit and ended up with some seriously fluffy cake layers. As usual, I included step-by-step photos so you can easily master this recipe, like a BOSS.

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

Ingredients for Biskvit Poppy Seed Cake:

6 eggs + 2 egg whites, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup cake flour (make cake flour with 2 ingredients!)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup dry poppy seeds

For the Rum Cake Syrup:

1 cup very warm water
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup golden rum (I use Bacardi) or 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (if you must)

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened at room temp
3/4 cup granulated sugar

To Decorate the Poppy Seed Cake:

1 recipe chocolate ganache (click for recipe)
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
6 oz fresh blackberries

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

How to Make The Poppy Seed Sponge Cake:

Watch the video before you get started:


Prep: Preheat Oven to 350˚F and line bottoms of two (9-inch) cake pans with parchment paper (do not grease pans).
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer (this is the one I have), beat 6 large eggs plus 2 whites with whisk attachment 1 min on high speed until foamy. With mixer on, gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue beating on high speed 8-10 min until thick and fluffy.

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

2. Whisk baking powder into flour then sift flour in two additions into batter, folding gently with a spatula between each addition, scraping the bottom of the bowl to ensure you don’t have hidden pockets of flour. Fold in 1/4 cup poppy seeds until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Do not over-mix or you may deflate the batter.

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

3. Divide batter evenly between 2 prepared cake pans (perfectionists: feel free to weigh the cake pans). Bake at 350˚F for 23-28 min (mine took 25 min), or until top is golden and springs back when poked slightly. Once out of the oven, remove from pan by sliding a thin spatula around the edges then transfer to a wire rack, peel back parchment paper and cool to room temp. Slice cake layers in half (I use this bread knife).

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

How to Make Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

1. Beat cold heavy whipping cream on high speed with whisk attachment for 1.5 to 2 min until stiff and spreadable then transfer to a separate dish.

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

2. In the same mixing bowl (no need to wash it), beat together 2 pkgs cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar on medium speed until smooth, scraping down the bowl a couple times, then increase to high speed and beat 2 min until fluffy. Using a spatula, fold in whipped cream.

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

Make your ganache now since it needs 20 minutes to cool and become a pourable consistency.

Assembling the Poppy Seed Cake:

1. Combine syrup ingredients and stir until sugar dissolves. Place the first base layer onto a cake platter. Brush 1/4 of the syrup onto the cake then spread with frosting. Repeat with remaining layers. Wipe cake plate clean then Frost the sides and top with just enough to smooth out the cake.

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

2. Transfer 3/4 cup frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star Wilton 1M tip (These are are the 3 tips I pretty much only use).

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

3. Put remaining frosting on sides to get a solid white edge. Keep frosting on top to a minimum since you’ll be covering it with ganache anyways. Refrigerate cake. Once ganache is a pourable consistency, pour it over the top of the cake allowing excess ganache to pour off the sides then refrigerate 10 min to set. Pipe frosting around the borders of the cake, top with blackberries and chopped pistachios as shown.

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

Poppy Seed Cake with Chocolate Ganache

4.9 from 26 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet.
Author:
Skill Level: Medium
Cost To Make: $20-$25
Serving: 12-14 slices

Ingredients

For the Poppy Seed Cake Layers:

  • 6 eggs + 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1¼ cup cake flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup dry poppy seeds

For the Rum Syrup:

  • 1 cup very warm water
  • 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup golden rum (I use Bacardi) or 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (if you must)

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • 2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened at room temp
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

To Decorate the Cake:

  • 1 recipe chocolate ganache (found on natashaskitchen.com)
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios, chopped
  • 13 fresh blackberries

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat Oven to 350˚F and line bottoms of two (9-inch) cake pans with parchment paper (do not grease pans). In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 6 large eggs plus 2 whites with whisk attachment 1 min on high speed until foamy. With mixer on, gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue beating on high speed 8-10 min until thick and fluffy.
  2. Whisk baking powder into flour then sift flour in two additions into batter, folding gently with a spatula
  3. between each addition, scraping the bottom of the bowl to ensure you don’t have hidden pockets of flour. Fold in ¼ cup poppy seeds until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Do not over-mix or you may deflate the batter.
  4. Divide batter evenly between 2 prepared cake pans. Bake at 350˚F for 23-28 min (mine took 25 min), or until top is golden and springs back when poked slightly. Once out of the oven, remove from pan by sliding a thin spatula around the edges then transfer to a wire rack, peel back parchment paper and cool to room temp. Slice cake layers in half.

How to Make Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Beat cold heavy whipping cream on high speed with whisk attachment for 1.5 to 2 min until stiff and spreadable then transfer to a separate dish.
  2. In the same mixing bowl (no need to wash it), beat together 2 pkgs cream cheese and ¾ cup sugar on medium speed until smooth, scraping down the bowl a couple times, then increase to high speed and beat 2 min until fluffy. Using a spatula, fold in whipped cream.

Make your ganache now since it needs 20 minutes to cool and become a pourable consistency.

Assembling the Poppy Seed Cake:

  1. Combine syrup ingredients and stir until sugar dissolves. Place the first base layer onto a cake platter. Brush ¼ of the syrup onto the cake then spread with frosting. Repeat with remaining layers. Wipe cake plate clean then Frost the sides and top with just enough to smooth out the cake.
  2. Transfer ¾ cup frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star Wilton 1M tip.
  3. Put remaining frosting on sides to get a solid white edge. Keep frosting on top to a minimum since you'll be covering it with ganache anyways. Refrigerate cake. Once ganache is a pourable consistency, pour it over the top of the cake allowing excess ganache to pour off the sides then refrigerate 10 min to set. Pipe frosting around the borders of the cake, top with blackberries and chopped pistachios as shown.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

Make this poppy seed cake for your sweetheart this weekend. Have a lovely Valentine’s Day my friends!

Q: Any special plans for Valentine’s Day? Are you spending it with a friend, your spouse, or maybe Mom? I’d love to hear from you 🙂

This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!
This poppy seed cake is fluffy and moist with a hint of rum and it's not overly sweet. Follow step-by-step photos to make this poppy seed cake like a Boss!

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Ruta Verp
    September 25, 2017

    Hi Natasha,
    I have made the roll version of your poppy seed cake, that was absolutely delicious. Now I have some occasion coming up and would like to make couple of round cakes.
    What size pan do you use for this recipe?
    What would be the ratio if I need to make 14″ and 9″ cakes?
    Thank you. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 25, 2017

      Hi Ruta, I’m so glad you enjoyed the poppy seed cake roll! This cake requires two 9″ cake pans. For two 14″ cake pans, I would suggest making 1 1/2 times the recipe. Reply

  • Mila L
    July 26, 2017

    Want to make this cake for my son’s birthday but wondering with rum in it if it’s considered kid friendly? Any idea?
    Thanks. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 26, 2017

      Hi Mila, with the teeny tiny amount that will actually be in a slice, I have never worried about it both for flavor or alcohol properties. If you are concerned that your kids might not like the flavor, you could easilly cut the amount of rum in half so it’s just a hint of extra flavor. Or leave it out completely and just use a sugar water or even something like sprite. Reply

  • Charlotte
    May 7, 2017

    My son loves a poppy seed torte that I make …. I’m thinking I will make this for his birthday this year…. does this need to stay refrigerated? Or can it sit out for several hours for travel and dinner? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 7, 2017

      Charlotte, because the frosting is dairy based, you want the cake to stay refrigerated as long as possible. Cake will survive up to 3 hours travel but make sure its full chilled before hitting the road. Hope this helps 😬. Reply

      • Charlotte
        May 8, 2017

        Thank you!! Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          May 8, 2017

          My pleasure Charlotte! Reply

  • Manan Ter-Grigoryan
    April 27, 2017

    Hi, I am going to make this cake today and was wondering about the mixer. I only have a hand mixer with beater attachments- no whisk attachment. Could I use those, or is it better to just manually whisk the egg sugar mixture? Thank you so much! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 27, 2017

      There is no way to beat it sufficiently by hand. You will need a high powered electric hand mixer and the beaters attachment will work but you will probably need to add 2-3 minutes of beating time if using a hand mixer since a stand mixer is more efficient in whipping. I hope that helps!! Reply

  • Katie
    April 8, 2017

    Did you soak the poppy seeds beforehand? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 8, 2017

      Hi Katie, I did not soak in this recipe. Reply

  • Mika
    April 1, 2017

    Can you freeze this cake, with the ganache frosting?
    Mik Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 1, 2017

      Hi Mika, I haven’t tried freezing this one but I think it would work fine. I have frozen my walnut cake with the same ganache and it worked great :). I would refrigerate the cake first so it firms up and then when you cover it, the plastic wrap won’t stick to the cake, unless you have a cake box which would be convenient for sure 🙂 Reply

  • Celia causor
    January 25, 2017

    Hi what do you mean make it with two ingredients i am using cake flour for the poppy seed cake Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 26, 2017

      Hi Celia, if you click on the link that says “make it with two ingredients” it takes you to my cake flour recipe. You can make your own cake flour with 2 ingredients (I’ll update that to read more clearly). It’s just all-purpose flour + corn starch if you wanted to make homemade cake flour 🙂 Reply

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