Legendary Dishes | Makowiec (poppy seed cake)


There is a delicate balance between the subtle ingredients of this cake. For that reason small is always beautiful.

In Poland the poppy seed filling is a commercial product sold in tins and the pastry dough can also be bought in shops and supermarket.

We first heard about this cake many years ago after a soccer game in north London, where a young very drunk homesick man said he missed his makowiec, and went on to explain what it was, making his misery so much worse.


  • 225 g pastry flour
  • 100 ml milk, lukewarm
  • 60 g butter, softened
  • 40 g vanilla sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 25 g yeast


  • 125 g poppy seeds
  • 125 icing sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 25 g butter, softened
  • 15 g walnuts
  • 15 g raisins
  • Brandy, splash
  • 1 orange, zest


  • 120 g icing sugar
  • 30 g candied orange peel, diced small
  • 30 g walnuts, chopped small
  • 20 ml lemon juice

Dissolve yeast in milk, sugar and two tablespoons flour. Leave to rise for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl whip egg yolks with sugar into an airy cream.

Melt butter and add half to egg yolk cream.

Sieve remaining flour and add it, with remaining butter, to the egg cream.

Knead for ten minutes into a smooth dough. Leave to rise for an hour. Degas once, leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Pour sufficient boiling water over poppy seeds to submerge them completely. When they have absorbed the water, grind in a food processor to a paste.

Put paste in a large bowl, add brandy, butter, nuts, raisins and zest.

Whip egg yolks with sugar, add to poppy seed mixture, finally the egg whites. Leave for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough into a thin rectangular sheet on a floured surface. Spread rhe poppy seed mixture over the central area of the dough. Fold the dough over to make a roulade.

Leave to rise for an hour.

Preheat oven to 175°C.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Combine icing sugar and lemon juice, spread over top of the cake, decorate with candied fruit and walnuts.