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Layered Poppy Seed Cake

Updated: Jun 12, 2021

I usually use poppy seeds in bread or on bagels, so I was intrigued to see how they would taste in a sweet context. While the original, vintage recipe calls to layer the cake with custard, I felt that it might have produced a heavy texture. As such, I decided to omit this element. If you enjoy a layered cake, I suggest using this lemon sauce recipe instead. The combination of poppy seeds and lemon are a match made in heaven. For an extra note of citrus, I decorated the cake with pink lemons. If you are unable to get your hands on pink lemons, you can use Meyer lemons instead. Either lemon will be a nice match to the white chocolate frosting!


  • 1 cup poppy seeds

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 4 eggs separated

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • White chocolate frosting (recipe below)

  • Either Pink Lemon or Mayer Lemon segments for garnish

Yields: 1 9- inch cake

Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30- 35 minutes


  1. In a bowl, place the poppy seeds. Add the milk and stir.

  2. Set the poppy seeds aside to bloom for 2 hours.

  3. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until you have stiff peaks. Set aside in a bowl.

  4. Sift the flour in a mixing bowl, with the baking powder and the salt.

  5. Preheat oven 350°F.

  6. In the stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the sugar and butter until creamy and pale in color.

  7. Add the eggs yolks. Beat until the mixture is nice and creamy.

  8. A little at a time, begin to incorporate the flour and poppy seed/milk mixtures as follows by alternating them.

  9. Remove the bowl from the stand, and fold in the egg whites. Place the batter in a 9-inch wide pan thick enough to hold the batter (for making one cake) or into 3 (9- inch) round pans.

  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool. Place the lemon sauce between the layers, and top with the White Chocolate Frosting.

  11. Garnish with lemon segments.

Chocolate frosting:


  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 1 cup confectioners (powered) sugar

  • 1/4 cup whole milk


  1. In a double-boiler, place the chocolate and butter ( or in a microwave, melt the chocolate and butter).

  2. While the chocolate is melting, place the powered sugar in a bowl.

  3. Once the chocolate has melted, gradually add it to the sugar.

  4. Mix and slowly add the milk to achieve a thick sauce.

For more from The Settlement Cookbook, click here:

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