Poppy seed cake

Poppy seed cake



Poppy seed cake served with Turkish coffee is Croatia’s version of high tea. It’s the perfect combination for social gatherings, perfumed by the strong scent of the coffee. When you’re attending a Croatian high tea, it’s important to share your views on politics, fashion and all the other important subjects in life. I love the intriguing interplay between the sweet and bitter flavours of this cake.


Quantity Ingredient


Quantity Ingredient
15g fresh yeast
or 4g dried yeast
150ml warm milk
1 tablespoon caster sugar
75g unsalted butter
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
350g plain flour
50g brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean
1 egg, whisked


Quantity Ingredient
15to milk
150g caster sugar
300g poppy seeds, ground
30ml dark rum
30g unsalted butter
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg, beaten


  1. Mix the yeast into half the warm milk. Add 1 tablespoon flour and the sugar and whisk well to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about 20 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter in the remaining warm milk. Do not allow it to come to the boil.
  3. In a bowl, mix the egg and egg yolk with the olive oil.
  4. In another bowl, place the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, orange and lemon zest and salt. Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and add these to the bowl also. Mix to combine, then make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients – the yeast mixture, the milk and butter and the egg and oil.
  5. Using an electric mixer (or by hand), work the dough until it is smooth. Cover the dough with a cloth and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour to prove. You can now prepare the filling.
  6. For the filling, put the milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the poppy seeds and all the other ingredients, except the egg, and cook for 3–5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the egg. If the mixture is too thick add a little more milk.
  7. When the dough has doubled in size, transfer it to a floured work surface and roll it out to a thickness of 5 mm (¼ in). Spread the poppy seed mixture over it evenly and roll up the dough, like a swiss (jelly) roll, into a roulade. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, cover with a cloth and leave to prove for another hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  9. Prick the roulade with a fork, glaze with the egg wash and bake for 50–60 minutes. After about 20–30 minutes, cover it with aluminium foil to prevent it from becoming too dark. When cooked, cover with a cloth and allow to cool before serving.
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