Poppy Seed Raspberry Cake

Here’s an effortless, yet quite nice cake that doesn’t require any preliminary preparation. All can be done in one day. The filling and frosting in this cake is simply whipped cream with generous amount of seedless raspberry jam folded in. The original idea is from well-known Gayle’s bakery, although I have to admit I changed the recipe a bit. I couldn’t resist a temptation and added some sour cream to the whipped cream; it adds a pleasant tang and goes so well with berries. I have a tendency to overdo the sour cream. Well, I’m Russian, and it probably explains it. My kiddo recently brought a book about my motherland as well as a dozen of other books about different countries (he’s into geography now). Among very useful information such as demographic data and climate zoning there was a small chapter dedicated to Russian food. I found it very educational myself  –  for example, I learned that Russians eat everything with sour cream and bread, that they eat soup with every meal, and that porridge is their favorite food. Who writes this stuff..?

I hope you all had wonderful holidays!

Makes one 9-inch round cake, about 12 servings

For the cake:

  • 1 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

For the soaking syrup:

  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp raspberry liqueur

For the filling:

  • 2 cups cold whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp fine granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup seedless raspberry jam
  • ¼ cup cold full-fat sour cream
  • Fresh raspberry for decoration

Make the cake:

You can either bake the cake batter, equally divided, in three 9-inch round pans or use a high-sided (at least 3-inches deep) springform and bake all the batter in one pan. In both cases, butter the bottom(s) and sides of the pan (pans). Line the bottom of the pan(s) with a circle of parchment paper. Dust with flour, knocking out the excess. Set aside.

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F.

In a small saucepan, combine the poppy seeds and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to prevent scorching. Take off the heat, add the vanilla extract, cover, and let to cool to room temperature (it will soften the seeds).

Sift together the flour, corn starch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes.  Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and alternately beat in the dry ingredients and poppy seed mixture, starting and finishing with the flour mixture.

In another grease-free bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff but not dry peaks form. Gently fold about 1/3 of the whites into the batter to lighten the batter, then fold in the rest of the whites. If using three pans, divide the batter equally between them; or scrape the batter into the prepared springform pan. Set the pan (s) on a large baking sheet and slide into the oven. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes if the batter is baked in 3 pans, or for about 1 hr 30 minutes if you are using the springform. A cake tester inserted into the center has to come out clean. Cool in the pan (s) on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes, then unmold. Cool completely on the rack. The cake can be made a couple days in advance and stored, well wrapped, at room temperature.

When ready to fill, using a long serrated knife, level the top (tops), cutting off just enough so that none of the brown crust remains. Flip over and again cut off any brown crust on the bottom. If the springform pan had been used, slice the cake horizontally in 3 layers.

Make the soaking syrup:

In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool. Add the liqueur. Cool completely before using. The syrup can be stored for up to a month in the refrigerator.

It makes more than you will need for soaking the cake. Don’t feel you have to use it all.

Make the filling, fill and decorate the cake:

In a large bowl, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. But don’t overbeat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the jam and sour cream until smooth. Whisk in about one cup of the whipped cream, then delicately, using a rubber spatula, fold the raspberry-cream mixture into the rest of the whipped cream.

Place one of the cake layers on a serving platter. Brush it with the soaking syrup. Spread about 1 heaping cup of the raspberry cream on the cake layer; the filling should be about 3/8-inch thick. Place another cake layer over the whipped cream. Brush it with the soaking syrup. Spread it with the another portion of the whipped cream. Place the last cake layer over the cream. Brush the top with the syrup as well. Ice the cake with a final coat of the whipped cream. If you wish, transfer the remaining cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe some decorations over the top.

Top with the fresh raspberries.

The cake can be enjoyed right away or stored overnight, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.

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46 Responses to “Poppy Seed Raspberry Cake”

  1. An original combo! This cake is truly beautiful!



  2. Vera, delicious looking cake.
    Wlll the poppy seeds absorb all the milk? or the mixture will still be milky?

    Я очень люблю маковую выпечку. Спасибо что делитесь вашими рецептами.

  3. I love that you say this is simple and yet it is the most exquisite looking cake. As usual!

  4. Rosa, thank you!

    Nadia, thank you! The milk will be partially absorbed. На здоровье! :)

    Dana, thank you!

  5. Happy Easter, Vera!

    Does this mean porridge isn’t your favourite food? What about all those porridge recipes I’ve seen on your blog recently! hehe

  6. oh how beautiful! this is so pretty :) I bet it s delicious too .

  7. wow! that is beautifully presented Vera!

  8. He he, I read similar descriptions on Serbian food all the time :)

    The cake is great! I made a strawberry version a while ago, but with fresh strawberries. So, I am pretty sure yours could be made with fresh fruit also.

  9. So beautiful – I love the flavor combo too. I love stereotypes though; because I’m Irish, I obviously love corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, etc, etc. Riiiight :)

  10. The light and fluffy frosting looks so delicious. I love the pink color. It’s kind of funny what you say about sour cream because I grew up in a hispanic household and we also loved eating sour cream with everything (even chips and some soups!).

  11. So gorgeous! I have never tried poppy seeds and raspberries together, or even think they’ll match, but I must say it sounds really really good!

    My dad is half russian, that explains why he likes porridge and cabbage so much! just kidding ;)

  12. vera, this is all kinds of gorgeous! i can only imagine the texture provided by those poppy seeds, as i’ve never experienced them in cake. bravo!

  13. Does this cake come with a pack of dental floss???
    All those poppy seed would surly get stuck in my teeth! But I would still gladly eat 2 or 3 peices!

  14. Your cakes are so unique and pretty! I don’t think I could cut into that cake :)

  15. This is such a delectable looking confection! I love that you put poppy seeds in the cake, but used seedless jam in the filling. ;) This is a good recipe now that berries are coming into season…


  16. wow this cake is so amazingly beautiful!

  17. Your icing is simply gorgeous.

  18. Hi Vera,

    I came across your blog today for the first time, and I am hooked !

    your cakes and creations are just perfect. I simply have no words to express how beautiful they are !

    Thanks a lot for sharing them with us.

    – Rupa(Sydney)

  19. Wow!!! It looks really delicious.

  20. Look so professional! What a perfect combination of flavors!

  21. Pretty Vera, very pretty! I have a Ukranian friend & she cannot live without sour cream. Every recipe she gives me has either sour cream, cream or a lot of butter!! It’s her birthday today…& this cake makes me think of her even more!

  22. My greatest thanks to everyone who left a comment! I truly appreciate it! Thank you!

  23. Lovely and delicious!!! So pretty!!!

  24. Man, this sounds so yummy, and looks beautiful!

  25. I love your addition of the sour cream. This cake is just beautiful, and I love that the frosting is as simple and chic as whipped cream with seedless raspberry jam. Delicious and gorgeous!

  26. So pretty! I love the look of this cake…

  27. Hello Vera! Came across your blog the other day and am fascinated by your desserts! Here’s a couple of questions concerning this cake (I’m going to make it for my son’s birthday): how much is a North American cup: 200g? 250g? And how much is 8oz of butter? Or in some of your recipes there’s “1/2 stick of butter” – how much is that? Please don’t laugh – I’m Russian but despite this I love precision %) Thanks in advance, looking forward to your reply.

  28. Svetlana, thank you very much for your words!

    1 cup = 240 ml by volume
    8 oz of butter = 1 cup = 2 sticks = 226g; respectively, 1/2 stick of butter = 2 oz = 56g
    1 cup granulated sugar = 230g
    1 cup flour, cocoa, powdered sugar = 120g

    This system must seem pretty strange to you :) It took me some time to get used to. If you have any questions, please ask.
    Very Happy Birthday to your son!

  29. Vera, thanks a million!

  30. Vera, I’ve made the cake, but with sour cherry jam and cherries on top, as raspberries aren’t yet available. Really tasty, unusual thanks to the poppy seed pastry and quite easy to make. It wasn’t half as beautiful as yours, but everybody enjoyed it :)
    Thanks again for the recipe!

  31. Svetlana, I am so glad it turned out well! Thank you very much for coming back and letting me know!

  32. How do you know if you have over beat your cream?
    I have tried to make the cream, although, it didn’t become thick enough no matter how much i beated it. (when i tried to put it on the side of the cake, it would drip down).

  33. beautiful cake by the way

  34. Celine, overwhipped cream looks curdled, separated (you will definitely know when it happens). Your problem is completely opposite. Maybe, the fat content of your cream was low. It should be around 34-36% for successful whipping. It’s a good idea to chill a bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before whipping. And make sure the cream itself is very cold.
    And thank you!

  35. That cake looks amazing!! I make raspberry poppy seed bars and pinwheels, and love the combination of flavors. I will have to try your cake! Thanks :)

  36. Gorgeous! Please tell me how you did that piping!!!

  37. Gorgeous! Please tell me how you did the piping on top?

  38. Heather, thank you. I used a large open star tip for piping. I started in the center and worked outwards.

  39. My Son’s 28th Birthday is Friday and he wanted me to make a Raspberry Poppyseed Cake for his Birthday (He used to work in a Bakery). I searched the internet and this was the only recipe, I could find – It was rather EASY to make – after buying ALL the ingredients and WE were very pleased with the outcome – PERFECTO!!!!


  40. *gasp* This cake takes my breath away!!! It looks heavenly, and it goes on my list of cakes that I simply have to bake! :)

  41. I just want to say WOW :-) yours is the niciest and a very practical cooking blog, I cook muffins using your recepies and love them.And how delighted I was that you are Russian. С любовью из России, Наталья :-)

  42. Natalia, спасибо большое! Рада, что маффины получаются удачными. На здоровье Вам!

  43. Вера, спасибо вам большое за великолепный торт! Я торт немного адаптировала под себя (больше сметаны и меньше сливок). Нам очень понравилось! Если интересно, то можете посмотреть мой результат в моем журнале http://wp.me/p1fKNy-1s Спасибо большое! Всегда восхищаюсь вашими рецептами! :)

  44. this is v gud luking cake i’ll must try it:-)

  45. I made this cake last weekend for my BD. I was looking for a simple recipe since I have a 2.5 yo and a 7 -week old baby, and my kitchen time is very limited.
    Overall I liked the cake, however hot sure if I’d make it again.
    what I liked:
    1. It did satisfy the condition of being an easy cake. I baked it in one 9inch springform. It took 1 hour and 50 minutes to bake.
    2. The filling was extremely easy to make.
    3. The flavors were very good.
    4. The family liked it a lot.

    WHat i did not like:
    1. Since the base is essentially a pound cake, it was too heavy to serve as layers. Even though on its own the texture was very pleasing, still, I found it too much in a layer cake. I did soak it with syrup, but it did not create the illusion of lightness as it does with genoise.
    2. The filling, while excellent is flavor, was extremely unstable. Also, the sour cream tends to turn an unpleasant green after a few hours in contact with poppy seeds. I knew it happens with honey, but did not know that poppy seeds have the same effect. So I would not recommend keeping this cake overnight.

    I followed the recipe exactly, but pressed whole raspberries into the filling between layers.

    Thank you, Vera, for this recipe. Even though I had a few gripes with it, i was happy to be able to bake something even with the two monsters underfoot. Besides, my family really enjoyed it, and that’s the most important thing.

  46. Once again thank you. I baked the cake this weekend for a neighborhood progressive dinner. I also bake twenty two other cakes and tarts and this poppy cake was the first to go! I made it in a spring for pan and sliced it into four layers that I imbibed with chamborg not the syrup. Trying to think of another excuse to make it again.
    Thank you for your beautiful web site, its a source of inspiration.

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