Sarah St. Aubin’s Poppyseed Cake Recipe

poppyseed cake recipe image showing a cut cake on a pink plate with poppyseeds in a bowlAs co-owner

with her husband of Futuro and Grump’s Slice Stop, Sarah St. Aubin has easy access to pizza in nearly every form. But she gets her sweets fix by recreating this two-day family recipe. The result is a sturdy old-fashioned dessert that satisfies a cake craving. Butter may be substituted for the vegetable shortening in this recipe, though for the fluffiest cake, St. Aubin recommends not tinkering with her grandmother’s original formula.

Grandmother’s Poppyseed Cake

Makes one 10-inch Bundt cake


  • 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) poppyseeds
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 3 egg whites
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting cake


  1. Place poppyseeds in a medium bowl. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles begin to appear but milk does not boil. (Milk should be around 180–185 degrees F.) Pour milk over poppyseeds and leave at room temperature overnight.
  2. The next day, preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
  3. In a mixer on medium speed or by hand, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and beat until mixture turns a pale yellow.
  4. With mixer on low, add 1/3 of the soaked poppyseeds (do not drain) and mix until incorporated. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Repeat, alternating between the remaining poppyseeds and flour, until the batter is smooth.
  5. In a clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed to stiff peaks. Fold into cake batter until only a few streaks of whites remain.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Place on the middle rack in your oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack in pan for one hour, then invert onto rack and cool completely. Sprinkle cake liberally with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with softened butter.