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Poppy Seed Cake

As sweet finale for my favorite meal, this moist cake is chock full of poppy seeds. (Don't forget to soak the poppy seeds.) The cream cheese frosting adds the final touch! This is also a tasty dessert to bring to a potluck.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + standing Bake: 25 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12-15 servings


  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar


  • In a small bowl, soak poppy seeds in milk for 30 minutes. Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • In another large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; add to creamed mixture alternately with poppy seed mixture, beating well after each addition. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; fold into batter.
  • Pour into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  • For frosting, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Spread over cake. Store in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 426 calories, 23g fat (10g saturated fat), 35mg cholesterol, 184mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate (36g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • BreeAnn
    Jun 22, 2018

    My husband request poppyseed cake for Father’s Day. I’ had never made poppyseed, cake and I was nervous to make this based on some of the reviews. However, it was delicious! Some people recommended adding almond extract, and I love almond flavor so I did half a tsp of vanilla and a little more than half a tsp of almond. It was thick, moist, and better than any other poppyseed cake I’ve ever had. I definitely recommend this recipe! Also-the frosting was perfect with this cake, and unique compared to the poppyseed cake we normally eat with his family.

  • jbug827
    May 20, 2015

    Easy to make and very good. The cake part is very dense, not quite as moist as I would like it, but still good. The frosting is the star of this recipe and makes all the difference! I like the idea of adding some almond extract to the batter. Will try that next time!

  • 10sChick
    Apr 30, 2012

    I love everything poppyseed, but I found this cake to be just OK -- not sensational. The cake was quite flavorless and had a funny texture. I'm not sure if it's the shortening (vs. butter) base, or if it's the egg whites or the combination of those two flavorless elements, but it just lacked something. I will keep looking to find my ultimate poppyseed cake recipe.

  • jg.rydmark
    Jan 23, 2012

    Could you substitute the shortening for butter?

  • rudylenak
    Mar 14, 2011

    delicious cake

  • JillAndLea
    Sep 27, 2010

    A delicious cake that I have made time and time again.

  • hjwoodward
    Apr 6, 2010

    So good and moist! This is a staple when I need to bring dessert somewhere. The frosting is delicious as well.

  • BMcCarty
    Apr 1, 2010

    Yed, this is moist for a home made cake. I added almond flavoring to the batter and frosting; lemon would also be good.

  • Aquarelle
    May 14, 2009

    Read the recipe. It says to soak 1/3 cup poppy seeds in 1 cup milk for half an hour. This is pretty much SOP for poppy seed cakes.

    Mar 26, 2009

    Referring to response of soaking the poppy seeds, soak in what and why?lockhal