Ukrainian Poppy Seed Cake with Orange Glaze

Last year a very good friend hosted a good-bye party and I volunteered for cake duty. She had two requests: red velvet cake and something with poppy seeds. Everywhere I looked for a good poppy seed cake recipe, I came across the same combination of poppy seed and lemon: lemon poppy seed muffins, lemon poppy seed coffee cake, lemon poppy seed cupcakes, etc, etc, etc. When I came across this recipe from The New Moosewood Cookbook, I was intrigued by the illustration, the method, and the combination of lemon poppy seed with an orange glaze.

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(Yes, Mollie Katzen handwrote the entire cookbook!)


She loved the cake. I have to say, I was more enamored with the Red Hot Red Velvet cake which was at the same event. I had the obligatory piece of this cake, but it didn’t leave much of an impression.

But yesterday, I was in the mood to make a Bundt cake, so I came back. And it was much better than I remembered! Super moist, super poppy seed-y, super citrus-y. Definitely a keeper.

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Ukrainian Poppy Seed Cake with Orange Glaze

From The New Moosewood Cookbook

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Baking time: 40 minutes

Yield: about 10 servings



3/4 cup poppy seeds

1 cup milk

butter or margarine for the plan, plus

1/2 lb (2 sticks; 8 oz; 1 cup) butter or margarine

1 cup sugar (white or light brown)

3 eggs

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon rind

Orange Glaze (optional) – recipe below



1. Place poppy seeds and milk in a small saucepan. Heat just to the boiling point, but remove from heat before it actually boils. (This is called scalding.) Set aside and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 10-inch tube or bundt pan.

3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at  a time, beating well after each.

4. Sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add this to the butter mixture alternately with the poppy seed milk, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Stir just enough to blend thoroughly, adding the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon rind at the end.

5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate. Allow to cool completely before adding the Orange Glaze and/or slicing.


Orange Glaze


1/2 cup orange juice

1 to 2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons dry sherry or orange liqueur



Combine the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat the simmer uncovered for about 3 minutes. Pour the hot glaze onto the cooled cake. Let stand at least 10 minutes before slicing.

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