Poppyseed Cake

Back when we could travel more easily I picked up a couple of packages of Mohnback from Dr. Oetker when we were in Munich. Mohnback is prepared poppyseed – milled and boiled. Something not readily available here in Vancouver. Sometimes it is available in a can from Solo brand.

I didn’t know what I would do with them. Some poppyseed danish were a possibility.

A week or so ago I saw an Instagram post by @Pia-Backt of a poppyseed cake. A recipe was part of the post. It listed regular poppyseeds and prepackaged pudding as ingredients. I tried to imagine how the recipe might work with the package of Mohnback sitting in the cupboard.

I reached out to Pia to see what her thoughts were on using the Mohnback. Pia thought that spreading the contents on top of the pudding before baking.

A couple of more days of brought me to the conclusion that the Mohnback had to be mixed into a pudding mixture rather than spread on top.

My next conundrum was replacing the pudding mix that was called for in the recipe. I decided that a creme patisserie. I was unsure if the cream could be backed. I searched my regular trusted sources for recipes and couldn’t easily find if baking creme patisserie was possible. An internet search brought me back to a book I already had. Baking with Julia . Buried in the Breakfast Pastries section was a recipe for Creme Patisserie by Michel Richard that he used with Apricot Danish.

With a creme patisserie recipe in hand I was able to adapt Pia’s recipe as follows:

Poppyseed Cake

Holiday Baker Man


  • 23 cm Springform Pan


Base Layer

  • 150 gram Melted Butter
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk
  • 300 gram Cake Flour, Sifted
  • 150 gram Sugar
  • 2 tsp Finely Grated Lemon Zest


  • 685 gram Milk
  • 150 gram Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 6 Large Egg Yolks
  • 7 1/2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 4 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Pkg Poppyseed Filling
  • 1 Large Egg White


  • 70 grams Icing Sugar, Sifted
  • 2 tbsp Milk


For the Pan

  • Butter a 23 cm springform pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment and preheat the oven to 325° F.

Base Layer

  • Melt the butter and set aside. In a medium bowl combine sifted cake flour and sugar and lemon zest. Add melted butter and egg yolk and mix well. 
  • Take 2/3 of the pastry and press it into the pan. Bringing the pastry up the side about 1.5 cm. If using a tart pan pastry should reach the top. Chill pan in the fridge 20 – 30 minutes. With the rest of the pastry dough work it into crumble pieces and reserve.

For the FIlling

  • In a large pot add milk, sugar, salt, cornstarch, and butter. Over medium-high heat whisk the mixture it thickens. Continue to cook for 30-60 seconds. Push mixture through a strainer into a medium bowl and add vanilla.
  • In another large bowl, take1/3 of the cream mixture and add it to the poppyseed filling. Whisk thoroughly. Add the rest of the cream and the egg white and whisk until well blended.

Assembly of the Cake

  • Remove the pan of pastry from the fridge. Add the poppyseed mixture and top with the remaining pasty crumbles.
  • Baking
  • Bake in 325° oven until crumble browns,  50 – 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Use a pallet knife to run around the edge of the pan and release the sides. Continue to cool the cake for another 30 minutes.
  • Mix the sifted icing sugar and milk and gently spread over the warm pastry.
  • Cool to room temperature. Slice into wedges and enjoy.


  • This is truly best eaten the day it is made. Cover leftovers with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for upto one day.


When making the recipe I decided to use a tart pan rather than a springform pan. It wasn’t until I was pouring in the cream mixture that I realized the flutes of the pan would make it difficult to get out if the mixture overran the pastry. Oops! Thankfully that’s didn’t occur.

Using a tart pan will require good timing when removing the ring. The pastry part is fairly sugary and will stick to the flutes of the ring. Removing the ring after 10 minutes is essential. I think it will be more difficult to remove the ring if the cake is cooled any longer. The cake will be fragile so be extremely careful at this stage.

Another change to the recipe I made was with the glaze. The original recipe used water with the using sugar. I did use water in my recipe but, the glaze did run when I cut the cake rather than stay in place. The glaze like won’t run if made with milk.

And the result: a cake with a very tender outer layer,  a creamy poppyseed filling, a crispy streusel topping, and a tasty glaze.

We liked the cake better chilled. This isn’t a cake I would normally make but it was worth the effort.

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