Poppy seeds are often viewed as a symbol of fertility and prosperity in the Ukraine. Sonia Keda shares her recipe for this dense poppy seed cake which is usually served during the Ukranian Christmas.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (166 votes)


  • 240 g (1½ cups) poppy seeds
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 150 g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 170 g caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 180 g (1½ cups) ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 egg whites



  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 125 ml (½ cup) pouring cream

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You will need to soak the poppy seeds in milk overnight.

Pour boiling water over the poppy seeds in a bowl. Strain and return to bowl with the milk. Refrigerate overnight, then drain well.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Beat the butter, vanilla and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one by one. Stir in the ground almonds, baking powder, a pinch of salt and poppy seeds. Fold in the egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks.

Pour into a greased, lined 20 cm springform pan and bake for 1 hour, or until just firm. Stand for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a plate and cool.

Melt the dark chocolate with the pouring cream. Cool for 20 minutes, then spread over the cake.



Photography by Katie Kaars.


As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4.