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:

FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST for more great recipes!

Recipe

Poppy seed cake with a few slices cut into it.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 55 mins
Save Recipe

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?

Tag @TastesBetterFromScratch on Instagram with #TastesBetterFromScratch!

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

Related Posts

Share Recipe

Categories

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.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 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.

  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. 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!

  4. My family always told me that this recipe, my great aunt Hedwig, won a Pillsbury bake off many years back. Interesting she had a cousin Ceal! Are you from Pittsburgh! This is a family favorite as well!

  5. This looks amazing! What would be your suggestion if I wanted to add some lemon? I’m not a professional baker so any suggestions you have are appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hi Joette,
      You could easily incorporate lemon into this recipe. I would add about 2 teaspoons of lemon zest and stir it right into the batter! You could also make a lemon glaze to top the cake. Check out the orange glaze on this recipe and substitute lemon zest instead. You may also want to double the glaze recipe.

  6. I wont use recipes which only use ”CUPS” as a measurement, If I am expected to change cups to Grams or ounces, I just ignore them.
    Have consideration for the Millions of people outside the USA who use real measurements.

    You have some good recipes, but I’m not going to spend hours converting your cups to Grams or Ounces.

    1. Hi Paul, that is definitely not lost on me. Time has not allowed me to get to that point yet, but hopefully one day.

    2. Really, Paul? You couldn’t have said that without haughtiness and arrogance? The girl is from America… those are the measurements they use. Almost every recipe I look up on the internet uses those measurements. It’s not that hard to convert. She was just sharing something she loves. Give her a break …and maybe an apology!

    3. Paul, since it is your passion, why don’t you convert all of her recipes the way you want, and the millions of people around the world who use real measurements will be forever in your debt.

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe. Look amazing!
    Can I switch the 4 egg white with 2 eggs? what do I missing by doing so?
    Thanks!

    1. Sorry, the egg whites are essential in this recipe! The cake is made similar to an angel food cake or other extra-light white cake where the egg whites are whipped and then folded into the batter. Using two whole eggs would really mess with the texture and the final product. Hope you get a chance to try it 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    Hi!
    This was excellent!
    I just reduced to only 1 cup of sugar.
    Great recipe and a big hit with the family.
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. The recipe calls for 1 cup if milk, divided, yet it says to add only 1/4 cup milk to the butter and sugar mixture. There is no indication for the other 3/4 cup milk so I just added it to the batter at the end, before the egg whites. ALSO, I greased and floured the bundt pan where you only say to grease it. I have had other cakes that I have not been able to remove from the (nonstick) bundt pan before. is it preferable to use grease and flour or was this an omission in the recipe?

    1. Hi Wendy, the remaining milk is added in step 5. I clarified the instructions to make it more clear! Hope you enjoyed the cake!

  10. There are some simple dishes, like all the other simple things in our lives, that are the best and last forever. Literary. So does the magnificent evergreen Poppy Seed Cake. Thank you so much for sharing this one with us !