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Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

Serves 8–1016 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to butter the pan1 cup sugar6 eggs, separated1¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tbsp to dust the pan2½ cups freshly ground poppy seeds1 tablespoon baking powder1 cup milkPowdered sugar {pinterest_rich_pins_images} Poppy Seed Bundt Cake {/pinterest_rich_pins_images}

Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

  • 1/5
    Poppy seed bundt cake
  • 2/5
    Big bag of poppy seeds I got online
  • 3/5
    Beaten egg whites are folded into the batter
  • 4/5
    Cooling bundt cake
  • 5/5
    The slices have pretty blue color

Text, photos and food cooked by Michal Martinek

Aug 20, 2018

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Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

In Central Europe, where I grew up, using poppy seeds in desserts is as common as pumpkin purée or cream cheese in the States. And I’m not talking about adding a teaspoon to a muffin batter here or sprinkling some on top of a bagel there; poppy seeds are the main attraction, the key ingredient, and the reason that drew you to eat that particular item in the first place.

Across Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Slovakia, you can easily buy delicious baked items with speckled, denim-colored poppy seed fillings, in various shapes (cakes, individual rolls, crescents and spirals) and made from all kinds of dough (brioche, phyllo, Danish).

This particular bundt cake—a traditional recipe that my grandmother used to make when I was a kid—is intensely moist and airy, and at the same time, pleasantly dense and rich.

Because ground poppy seeds are not typically sold in America, you will probably have to do it yourself. But fear not: All you need is a coffee grinder (electric or manual).

Forget the tiny, one-ounce jars of poppy seeds in the supermarket spice section. You would need a lot of those, and it would cost you a fortune. Instead, buy your seeds in bulk. Many online sources sell high-quality, organic seeds.

When you’re ready, place about three or four tablespoons into a coffee grinder, and grind until their color changes to dark blue and the texture feels like wet sand. I use my electric coffee grinder, shaking it up and down lightly, so that all seeds grind evenly. Process only the quantity used in the recipe, because they become stale very quickly.


  1. Serves 8–10
  2. 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to butter the pan
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 6 eggs, separated
  5. 1¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tbsp to dust the pan
  6. 2½ cups freshly ground poppy seeds
  7. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  8. 1 cup milk
  9. Powdered sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly grease a bundt pan (mine measures 9.5 x 3.4" or 24 x 8.6 cm) with butter or spray with vegetable oil, and dust lightly with the 2 tablespoons of flour.


In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and egg yolks until pale and thick. Stir in in the poppy seeds, and sift in the flour with the baking powder. Add the milk and combine.


In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the poppy seed mixture.


Pour the batter into the bundt pan and smooth out evenly. Bake in the oven until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 45–50 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes; then flip over, dust with powder sugar, and slice.


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