Poppy Seed Cake with Chocolate Ganache

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 of
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $20-$25
Servings: 12 -14 slices


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
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios chopped
  • 13 fresh blackberries


  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.