Traditional Czech poppy seed bundt cake. It’s moist and airy, and at the same time, pleasantly dense and rich.
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).
What are Poppy Seeds?
- Tiny, dried, blue-denim/grey seeds that come from the poppy plant
- They measure about 1/16-inch in diameter and you would need close to 900,000 to measure one pound.
- Poppy seeds have a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.
- They have a high oil content and go rancid very quickly—store them for up to 6 months, in an airtight container, and in the fridge or freezer.
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.
Grind Your Poppy Seeds in a Coffee Grinder
Because ground poppy seeds are not typically sold in bulk in America, you will probably have to do it yourself. But fear not: All you need is a coffee grinder (electric or manual).
- Place 3–4 tablespoons of poppy seeds into a coffee grinder
- Grind until their color changes to dark blue, and the texture feels like wet sand (see photo above).
- TIP: shake your coffee grinder, up and down, like a shaker, so that seeds grind evenly.
Process only the quantity used in the recipe, because they become stale very quickly.
How to Make Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
There’s nothing worse than making a perfectly moist and springy cake, and having a hard time getting it out, because it’s stuck to the bottom of the pan, or its sides.
In this recipe, I used a non-stick bundt pan from Wilton, which measures 9.5 x 3.4 inches (24 x 8.6 cm). Spray it with vegetable oil (or grease it with 1 tablespoon of butter), and flour it thoroughly.
To make the poppy seed cake batter, start by creaming butter, sugar and egg yolks together. This adds lightness to the batter, as air gets whipped into the butter. Then, add in the poppy seeds, flour, baking powder, and milk.
You’ll beat egg whites to soft peaks and fold them into the batter. This step makes the cake light and airy. Then, pop it in the oven for 45–50 minutes and you’re good to go.
How to Serve Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
Let the bundt cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before inverting it. And last but not least, give it a dusting of powdered sugar and dig in!
Keep Your Oven On. More Delicious Recipes:
- Vanilla Chocolate Marble Bundt Cake with swirls of chocolate and vanilla batter. Divine!
- My friend Ben’s old family recipe for Walnut Cinnamon Bundt Cake
- Paleo, keto, gluten-free, and so easy to make: Chocolate Banana Paleo Cake
- Chocolate and apples shine in this fun and quick Rocky Road Apple Chocolate Cake
- Upside Down Cranberry Cake is perfectly sweet and sour.
- Dense and delicious: Banana Cranberry Nut Bread
- My favorite Czech pastry are Kolache.
Discover other scrumptious, vegetarian Czech recipes that I learned from my mom and my grandma—click here.
And if you’re short on time, and only have 30 minutes to cook, I have a collection of recipes that could help.
Are you a fan of poppy seeds? Did you make this bundt cake? What’s your favorite coffee cake?
Tell me in the comments.Print
Traditional Czech coffee cake made with just seven ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and milk
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to butter the pan
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust the pan
- 2½ cups freshly ground poppy seeds
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup whole milk
Powdered sugar for serving
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Thoroughly grease a bundt pan (for this recipe I used a non-stick 9.5 x 3.4 inches (24 x 8.6 cm) pan) with butter or spray with vegetable oil, and dust lightly with flour. Tap out any excess 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 on high speed, 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.
- Store covered, in a cool place, for up to 3 days.