Flourless Poppy Seed Cake (Grain and Gluten-Free)

March 8, 2013

Flourless Poppy Seed Cake

It’s hard to believe that there’s no flour of any sort in this recipe. But it’s true – the poppy seeds steal the entire show. And rightly so…

Poppy seeds + eggs + a little bit of magic = a moist, fluffy, very flavorful cake

The nuts and raisins add to the unique texture. This poppy seed cake was inspired by the Polish “makowiec”, which traditionally does involves flour – most commonly as dough rolled around the poppy seed filling, or as a cake layer above or below it (often both).

Here, there’s only the delicious, slightly nutty poppy seed goodness, making this cake a delightful grain and gluten-free treat.

Flourless Poppy Seed Cake 2

Flourless Poppy Seed Cake 5


  • 1/2 lb. poppy seeds, ground*
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
  • 1/2 cup honey (potentially divided, depending on method of grinding poppy seeds – see below)
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • cocoa powder for dusting (optional)


*Poppy Seed Mixture:

To start, you need to grind the poppy seeds. The easiest method would be to use a traditional poppy seed grinder. But that’s not exactly something most of us have lying around. Alternatives include: meat grinder (cook the poppy seeds first, as per below), coffee grinder (grind raw, then cook), and blender (cook the seeds first). Personally, I had good results with a food processor, after cooking the poppy seeds first and adding half the honey. If I had either a poppy seed or meat grinder, I would’ve used those. Otherwise, I recommend using a food processor as follows:

1. In a small pot, cover poppy seeds with water. Bring to a boil and cook over low heat until all of the water has evaporated (approximately 30 minutes). Stir very frequently.

2. Transfer poppy seeds to the food processor. Add 1/4 cup of the honey. Process well, stopping often to scrape down the sides and help move the poppy seeds along.

3. Boil some water to plump the raisins. In a small bowl, cover raisins with just boiled water and let stand for 5 minutes, or until raisins are plump. Drain well.

4. Add the walnuts and raisins to the poppy seeds and whir the processor a couple of times to combine and lightly chop the raisins and walnuts.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line bottom of 9” springform pan with parchment paper (trace bottom of pan onto parchment paper, and cut it out using scissors). Grease bottom of pan and bottom of parchment paper with butter.

3. Beat the butter and honey (either the remaining half if already used first half in the food processor, or the whole amount) in a large bowl until well combined.

4. Add in egg yolks one at a time. Beat until well combined.

5. Add in vanilla and lemon zest. Beat briefly just until combined.

6. Stir in the poppy seed mixture.

7. Whisk the egg whites in a separate large bowl, with a pinch of salt, until stiff peaks form.

8. Gently fold the egg whites into the poppy seed and egg yolk mixture.

9. Gently pour the batter into the pan.

10. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until a wooden pick comes out clean.

11. Allow poppy seed cake to cool in the springform pan.

12. Remove cake from pan. Dust cake with cocoa powder (optional), cut and serve at room temperature.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please remember to share it (pinterest, facebook, twitter, etc.). Thanks!

Shared with Fight Back Fridays.

Flourless Poppy Seed Cake 3
Flourless Poppy Seed Cake 4
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Leave a Comment

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate @ Eat, Recycle, Repeat March 10, 2013 at 5:24 PM

NOM! This looks great – true lemon poppyseed, not lemon chemical like most commercial cakes!


BigFATcook March 14, 2013 at 10:01 AM

This cake looks so tasty. Thanks for the recipe, i love it!


admin@primalist March 14, 2013 at 8:51 PM

Thanks for stopping by! :)


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Weddywoo December 1, 2014 at 8:28 PM

So I baked this for a birthday celebration. It was delicious. I had to bake it much longer though for it to be done. I recommend using a butter knife inserted to check for doneness as with a pumpkin pie. A cake tester is not enough surface. The cocoa on top makes the whole cake simply deliciously chocolatey. I used Rapunzel cocoa powder. I am really impressed with this cake and so happy it fits dietary restrictions. I used the coffee grinder method and cooked the ground seeds in water after. Worked out pretty good. It is something like souffle cake? or a German Mohnkuchen? I highly recommend.


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