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!

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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

*Watch our easy video tutorial on how to measure correctly

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:

1/2 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 about 15 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

4.92 from 56 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
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.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 12 slices

For the Poppy Seed Cake Layers:

  • 6 eggs + 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup dry poppy seeds

For the Rum 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)

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 Cake:

  • 1/2 recipe chocolate ganache, found on natashaskitchen.com
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
  • 13 fresh blackberries

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Make your ganache now since it needs 15 minutes to cool and become a pourable consistency.

    Assembling the Poppy Seed Cake:

    • 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.
    • Transfer 3/4 cup frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star Wilton 1M tip.
    • 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.
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: Russian
    Keyword: Poppy Seed Cake
    Skill Level: Medium
    Cost to Make: $$
    Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

    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!

    Natasha Kravchuk

    Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

    Read more posts by Natasha

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    Recipe Rating




    Comments

    • Mimi
      April 29, 2024

      Going to try this. Looks so good. I don’t like the taste of rum so want to use the lemon instead but the measurements for rum or lemon juice don’t match. Will it work if I omit the rum and just included 2 Tbls lemon juice?

      Reply

      • Natasha's Kitchen
        April 29, 2024

        Yes, 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice will work!

        Reply

    • christina
      March 11, 2024

      Hi Natasha, what is the taste difference between the Poppy seed Sour Cream Cake with Custard Cream and the Poppy seed Cake with Chocolate Ganache?

      Reply

      • Natasha
        March 13, 2024

        HI Christina, the texture of the cake is pretty different and custard cream is a different flavor profile than whipped cream cheese frosting. Their only similarities are the use of poppy seeds and chocolate.

        Reply

    • Kristina
      February 23, 2024

      I’ve made this cake many times and have always loved it. But for some reason the last two times that I made it my center dips in during baking and does not rise evenly. Both times the cake came out with a crater in the middle. 🙈 Do you know what could be causing this?

      Reply

      • NatashasKitchen.com
        February 23, 2024

        Hi Kristina! Have you made any substitutions or are you using a smaller pan than recommended? A couple of things to check. Ensure your leavening agent is not expired and still activating. Did you get a thick and fluffy egg/sugar mixture like in my video? This type of cake relies on that for its volume. Also- do not over mix the batter, or it will deflate. Fully preheat the oven before baking, and don’t open the oven during the process, the temperature change can cause it to collapse. I highly encourage the use of an Internal oven thermometer (Amazon affiliate link) to ensure your oven is heating correctly. Sometimes the cake can collapse if the middle hasn’t had time to set which is why it’s important to have the right oven temperature. I hope that helps troubleshoot.

        Reply

    • Lisa
      January 13, 2024

      Hi Natasha, high speed is what number on your kitchenaid stand mixer? My sponge cake turned out a bit sticky, not as airy and light like other cake recipes. I’m a baker and rarely fail.

      Reply

      • NatashasKitchen.com
        January 13, 2024

        Hi Lisa! My kitchen aid stand mixer has 10 speeds. Did you measure your ingredients correctly? Using too much flour can weigh the cake down and make it dense. I have a tutorial on How to measure ingredients correctly to help.
        Also- be sure to not over-mix the batter. This can release more gluten and cause a sticky/gummy cake. I hope that helps.

        Reply

    • Darya
      November 5, 2022

      I made this cake last night and absolutely love how it looks! Can’t wait to try it at the birthday party we are going to this evening 🙂 what’s the best way to store it in the fridge? I didn’t cover it last night and am now worried that maybe I should have…?
      Also, I’m worried when I poured the syrup between the layers, that I might have poured “too much” – will it be overly soggy or do you think it absorbs well and usually isn’t a problem? Thank you 🙂

      Reply

      • NatashasKitchen.com
        November 5, 2022

        Hi Darya! I am not sure how much syrup you poured or used but this is a sponge cake and it absorbs syrup well. The cake should be refrigerated since it has cream cheese/whipped cream frosting.

        Reply

        • Darya
          November 8, 2022

          Thank you so much for your response! This helps a ton! 🙂
          When storing it in the fridge, do you recommend covering it with plastic wrap? Or placing in a cake carrier / container?

          Reply

          • NatashasKitchen.com
            November 8, 2022

            Hi Darya! Using plastic wrap would be fine but an airtight container of some sort will keep it freshest!

            Reply

    • Nadia
      August 8, 2022

      Hi Natasha,
      how many days in advance can I make this cake?

      Reply

      • NatashasKitchen.com
        August 8, 2022

        Hi Nadia! This cake is best enjoyed within the first 2 days or so.

        Reply

    • Katerina Molnar
      July 23, 2022

      Great recipe! Light and fluffy, not too sweet! First time making it and I love it. I wish I can send you some pictures 😊

      Reply

      • NatashasKitchen.com
        July 23, 2022

        So glad to hear that, Katerina. I love to see pictures. You can always tag me on Facebook or Instagram. #NatashasKitchen 🙂

        Reply

    • Diane Dalerno
      March 31, 2022

      Oh, it looks so yummy! I’m going to make this for my Polish friends birthday next week. Of course, I’ll make a practice one first! Will send photo results.

      Reply

      • Natasha's Kitchen
        March 31, 2022

        Sounds like a great plaN! We’d love to know how it goes, Diane. Please update us if you can.

        Reply

    • Vika Ivaschenko
      January 7, 2021

      Hi Natasha! I just wanted to say this is my favorite recipe on your whole website. I baked this cake like 4 times in one month. I had it for my birthday a couple years ago and for my bridal shower. I can’t even explain it, it’s just the best cake I ever tasted. The only thing I do differently is I don’t add the blackberries or pistachios, I like that stuff just not on the cake. I love the cream cheese frosting, the ganache. And I love a rum moist cake and the crunch of the poppy seeds. So thankyou for having this recipe.

      Reply

      • Natasha's Kitchen
        January 8, 2021

        Hello Vika, that is so awesome to know! I’m really happy that you love this recipe so much, it looks like it is your new favorite. Thank you for sharing your good feedback with us!

        Reply

    • Janessa
      September 25, 2020

      Have made this cake couple times now and I love it! I am making it for a baby shower and was wondering if you think it would still be okay if for the gnache I used white chocolate so that I could dye the color blue!

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        September 25, 2020

        That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing that with me! I have not tested this with a dye but I bet that could work!

        Reply

    • Victoria
      August 14, 2020

      Hi, Natasha!

      I noticed you use a 9-inch cake pan for a lot of your desserts. How deep is your cake pan? I’m looking at purchasing a couple of pans and I am having trouble deciding on the depth. What size, in depth, do you tend to use most?

      Reply

    • Surati
      May 31, 2020

      Hi Natasha, I want to make this recipe. Can I add more poppy seeds ? Perhaps 1/2 cup instead of 1/4 cup ? I LOVE poppy seeds in pastry, my CZech Grandmother used them all the time. We like a LOT of them. But of course I do want the cake to come out right, can this work ?

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        June 1, 2020

        I haven’t tested that with this amount Surati but it may work! IF you experiment, please let me know how you like this recipe.

        Reply

    • Deeksha
      May 27, 2020

      Omg! such a mouthwatering recipe.

      Reply

    • Sara
      April 25, 2020

      This is actually art 🙂 thanks for sharing the recipe. Can i replace Bacardi with any Italian Amari? Like Montenegro, limoncello or anything else? I have so many italian amari bottles at home and wonder if i could use them here?

      Reply

      • Natasha
        April 25, 2020

        Hi Sara, I honestly haven’t tasted that variety so I’m not sure. You might do a google search to see if they are common substitutes for each other, or mix it up with a little sugar water and see how you like the taste.

        Reply

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