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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!

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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

4.88 from 33 votes
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
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.
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $20-$25
Keyword: Poppy Seed Cake
Cuisine: Russian
Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 slices

Ingredients

For the Poppy Seed Cake Layers:

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

  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 1/4 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 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:

  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.
  2. Transfer 3/4 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!

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Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • 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

  • Alla
    April 21, 2020

    I’ve made it!!!!!! Yeah first time tried and it’s works. Thank you so much for such a detailed tutorial video. Love you recipes.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 21, 2020

      You’re welcome Alla! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed that!

      Reply

  • Robyn
    April 20, 2020

    I’m SO excited I found this recipe, I’ll be making this for my boyfriend’s birthday. Is it possible to use Monkfruit sweetener instead of sugar, and would it taste similar? Just trying to limit sugar.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 20, 2020

      Hi Robyn, I have not tested that with Monkfruit to advise. I don’t see any comments made with that either. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.

      Reply

  • SJ
    February 12, 2020

    Should poppy seeds be soaked first or left dry? I usually soak in other recipes.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 12, 2020

      Hi SJ, that is a great question. This recipe does not require them to be soaked.

      Reply

  • Yolanda
    October 11, 2019

    I followed the directions exactly and beat those eggs in my 6 qt Kitchenaid professional mixer for 8 minutes. The eggs were at room temperature and the batter would just not ribbon. I extended the beating time to 10 minutes and it still wouldn’t ribbon. I made my own cake flour, I sifted the flour twice, and I added it in batches. The mixer parts were clean and I watched the video and I was very gentle and careful in folding in the flour but since the eggs never ribboned the cakes came out flat. Is it possible to over beat the eggs and sugar?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 12, 2019

      Great question, Yolanda! Yes it is easy to overbeat heavy cream and if you do, it turns buttery. It can be rescued by beating in a little bit more liquid cream.

      Reply

  • Laura
    September 26, 2019

    Hi Natasha,

    I will be trying this one for my husbands birthday…. I am a little nervous as my oven is not big enough for the two 9″ tins, can I put both of them in on different racks?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 26, 2019

      Hi Laura, you can definitely try that. One might cook better than the other at different levels from the heat source. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.

      Reply

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