Poppyseed Cake with Lemon Zest

Source:  Beerli Family cir. 2000

Poppyseed Cake with Lemon

It's hard to say why the Germans and most central European countries adore the use of poppy seeds in their baked goods, but it surely was a great discovery! I tasted my first over 20 years ago when my mother-in-law made the cake for a special occasion. It is truly unique, and special the taste that the seeds give off. This recipe is a very dainty, light cake similar to the airiness of a sponge cake. This dessert is little in my mind, it has no baking soda or powder to encourage rising. So, the art is really in the whipping of the eggs, the folding of the flour, and the prepping of the cake dish for success to be deemed. A most memorable cake. Enjoy!
Cuisine German
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10 people


US measures

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 8 egg yolks eggs should be large. double up if eggs are small
  • 1 egg large
  • 2 tbs lemon zest from 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 sticks butter 1/2 pound, or 230 grams, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds


  • 150 gr sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 2 EL lemon zest
  • 75 gr flour
  • 75 gr corn starch
  • 1 pinch salt Priese
  • 230 gr butter
  • 75 gr poppy seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter a fluted bunt pan. Take the time and do this step thoroughly. Due to the lightness of the cake, it will ruin if not oiled and floured well.
  2. In your mixer bowl, combine the egg yolks, whole egg and sugar and whip together on high, until it's pale yellow and nice and fluffy. approx. 5-8 min.
  3. nice and well combined.
  4. Add your lemon zest
  5. Sift flour and cornstarch mixture
  6. Combine dry mixture to wet by gently folding in using a spatula
  7. melt the butter and let stand for a few minutes to slightly cool
  8. On medium speed, beet in the butter, then add the poppy seeds and combine
  9. Pour mixture into cake pan and bake for 45 minutes. It has been noted on previous recipes to cover the pan with a sheet of foil to avoid burning. I do not do this step, but you can try it to see if the method works for you. When the cake is cooked to completion, the test needle should come out clean.
  10. Let stand for 10 min. on cooling rack, then flip and when cool, sprinkle with powder sugar.
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