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Layered Poppy Seed Cake

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. + standing Bake: 30 min. + chilling


12 servings

It's just not Christmas at our house until I bake and ice this old-time layer cake-my husband's favorite since he was a boy.


  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional chopped walnuts and confectioners' sugar, optional


  1. In a small bowl, combine milk and poppy seeds; let stand for 1 hour. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with poppy seed mixture. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into creamed mixture.
  2. Spread into two greased and floured 8-in. round baking pans. Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Combine egg yolks and milk; gradually stir into sugar mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; cool completely. Stir in walnuts and vanilla.
  4. Cut each cake layer horizontally in half. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with a fourth of the filling. Repeat layers three times. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Garnish with additional walnuts and confectioners' sugar if desired.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 442 calories, 19g fat (9g saturated fat), 145mg cholesterol, 302mg sodium, 61g carbohydrate (40g sugars, 1g fiber), 8g protein.

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