Incredibly light and tender homemade Poppy Seed Cake, is easy to make and perfect for brunch or dessert! 

Poppy seed cake with a few slices cut into it.

I’m a huge fan of simple, classic recipes, like this Poppy Seed Cake. This cake is NOT dense, rich or overly sweet, and that’s part of why I love it so much! It’s like a step-sibling to angel food cake in how light, and mildly sweet it is.  I also think it’s beautiful in its simplicity; no frostings or glazes, but just a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Serve it for brunch with a side of fruit, coffee or tea. It could also be served as a light dessert–I’m thinking some sugared strawberries on top and maybe even a spoonful of fresh whipped cream would be divine.

My mom has been making this poppy seed cake for years ( the original recipe came from her friend–thanks Ciel!) and it’s one our family has grown to treasure.

How to make Poppy Seed Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Cream together butter and 1 ¼ cups of the granulated sugar. Stir in ¼ cup milk and vanilla.

Butter, sugar, vanilla and milk combined in a mixing bowl.

  • Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir in poppy seeds. Set aside.

A wooden mixing bowl with flour, salt, baking powder and poppyseeds.

  • Alternately add the flour mixture and the ¾ cup milk, a little bit at a time, stirring gently after each addition, starting and ending with flour.
  • Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until they stand in soft peaks and then beat in remaining ½ cup sugar. Fold egg whites into cake batter.

Egg whites being folded into poppy seed cake batter.

  • Pour batter into greased bundt pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the bundt pan before inverting on a cooling rack.

A bundt pan filled with poppy seed cake batter, ready to bake.

  • Sift powdered sugar over the top of the cake before serving.

Overhead photo of a baked poppy seed cake dusted with powdered sugar.

Storing and Freezing Instructions:

Store the cake covered at room temperature for 2-3 days. To freeze, allow the cake to cool completely, then covered tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.

More popular bundt cake recipes:

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Recipe

Poppy seed cake with a few slices cut into it.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 55 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar , divided
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk , divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites *
  • powdered sugar for garnishing, if desired

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
  • Cream together butter and 1 ¼ cups of the granulated sugar. Stir in ¼ cup milk and vanilla.
    Butter, sugar, vanilla and milk combined in a mixing bowl.
  • Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir in poppy seeds. Set aside.
    A wooden mixing bowl with flour, salt, baking powder and poppyseeds.
  • Alternately add the flour mixture and the ¾ cup milk, a little bit at a time, stirring gently after each addition, starting and ending with flour.
  • Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until they stand in soft peaks and then beat in remaining ½ cup sugar. Fold egg whites into cake batter.
    Egg whites being folded into poppy seed cake batter.
  • Pour batter into greased bundt pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the bundt pan before inverting on a wire rack.
    A bundt pan filled with poppy seed cake batter, ready to bake.
  • Sift powdered sugar over the top of the cake before serving.
    Overhead photo of a baked poppy seed cake dusted with powdered sugar.

Notes

Egg Whites: Real egg whites are essential for this cake and can't be substituted. For best results, separate the egg whites from the yolks when the eggs are cold. Then, bring the egg whites to room temperature before whipping, as they will have better whipped volume at room temperature.  
Freezing Instructions: Once cooled, the cake can be covered tightly and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 291kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 4gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 120mgPotassium: 171mgFiber: 1gSugar: 30gVitamin A: 270IUCalcium: 104mgIron: 1.3mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

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Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

I originally shared this recipe February 2017. Updated October 2020.

Incredibly light and tender homemade Poppy Seed Cake, perfect for brunch or dessert! | Tastes Better From Scratch

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 3 stars
    Hi, I followed this recipe exactly. I don’t like overly sweet cakes, so was happy that this one said it wasn’t that sweet. Also, I was looking for a poppyseed cake because I had a sudden craving for it. I did find it too sweet for my taste, and am wondering if I were to make it a second time, how cutting down on the sugar would affect the ratio of ingredients. For instance, would I have make up the volume/moisture provided by the sugar with apple sauce or something else? Kindly advise. Many thanks.

    1. 4 stars
      I made it today and replaced one cup of sugar with 1/3 cup applesauce and two packets of stevia, and mixed them with 1/4 cup of sugar. After whipping the egg whites I whipped in the last 1/2 cup of sugar. The resulting cake is delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this cake and was wonderful, moist and so delicious. Family totally loved it. Disappeared in no time. Great also with cream cheese icing. Going to be in recipe collection. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. 5 stars
    Tried this recipe tonight to celebrate Imbolc. Turned out wonderful! I love the texture and that it isn’t so cloyingly sweet. And poppy seeds are one of my favorites anyway. Thanks! I’ll be making this again.

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