Poppyseed Cake with Crunchy Glaze


Those of you with December birthdays already know this truth I am about to share: December birthdays are the pits!  My poor husband has dealt with this his whole life.  In fact, when we had kids he was bound and determined to make sure their birthdays did not fall anywhere close to Christmas.

And quite frankly, being the spouse or parent of a December birthday is no easy task either.  There is already so much to do without having to add more presents and yet another obligation into the mix!  Luckily for me, my husband hates gifts and only ever wants one simple thing for his birthday: A poppyseed cake with crunchy glaze.

Thus, every year for the past ten years I have baked him a poppyseed cake.  And until this year, every year I have FAILED miserably at making the glaze crunchy.  No matter how what I tried–milk, water, meringue powder, different kinds of sugar–or what instructions I searched for on Google, I couldn’t get the glaze to set hard like he really wanted.

And then this year, for the first time ever, he oh-so-casually mentioned something about his mom boiling the water for the glaze.  Ten years people, and not once did he think to share with me that crucial little detail!  In any case, apparently the trick to a crunchy glaze is boiled water and a whole lot of powdered sugar.  So now you know.  Just in case your crazy wonderful Czech husband has a craving for some obscure dessert you have no idea to make.


Here is what you need:

For Cake:
1 cup butter, softened, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 can Solo Ground Poppy Seed Filling
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
For Glaze:
1/4 cup water
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon meringue powder (optional)


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a Bundt pan; set aside.


Step 2: Separate eggs into two small bowls; set aside.


Step 3:  Beat butter and sugar in large bowl fitted with paddle attachment until light and fluffy.


Step 4: Add poppy seed filling and beat until blended.  Add in egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.


Step 5: Add vanilla and sour cream and beat until just blended.


Step 6: Mix in baking soda and salt.  Add flour, a half-cup at a time, beating well after each addition.


Step 7: Beat egg whites in separate bowl with electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  If you have a hand mixer, you can use this; I always just use my KitchenAid fitted with the whisk attachment and hold the glass (non-KitchenAid) bowl in place.  It seems to work just fine!


Step 8: Fold beaten egg whites into batter.  Spread evenly into prepared pan.


Step 9: Bake approximately 1 hour, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely on rack.


Step 10: After cake has cooled,  bring 1/4 cup water to a boil in small saucepan.  Slowly add powdered sugar, whisking well, until mixture reaches a smooth glaze consistency.  Add in meringue powder and remove from heat.


Step 11:  Keep stirring with whisk, as glaze will cool and harden fairly quickly.  Transfer glaze to liquid measuring cup or small pitcher, if desired, then drizzle over cake.



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Do you have a December birthday?  How do you make it special?

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{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Cathey January 8,

    This looks delicious! No one in my family has a December birthday, but I still want to make this cake! :)

    I’ve never seen ground poppy seed filling before. Do you purchase it someplace special, or am I just not paying attention at my regular grocery store?

    Thanks for sharing this!

    • Ruth Soukup January 9,

      It is in the pie filling section at the regular grocery store. :-)

  • Stephanie @ Six Figures Under January 8,

    That is too funny about boiling the water!

    I’ve never seen poppy seed filling like that either.

    My husband’s birthday is a few days after Christmas, but he is the most laid back person on the planet. I insist on making his birthday special, but he has never made a big deal about it and wouldn’t mind if we didn’t do anything. I guess birthdays were a bigger deal in my family than his.

  • Stacy Dobecka January 9,

    Oh I can’t wait to try this! My Czech husband and daddy will love it! Thanks for the details.

    • Ruth Soukup January 9,

      You’re welcome. Let me know how it turns out! :-)

  • Victoria @ Creative Home Keeper January 9,

    This sounds delicious! I have been looking for a new cake recipe instead of the standard chocolate or vanilla. I will have to try one out soon! Thanks for sharing.

  • Laura@peacebutnotquiet January 9,

    My son’s birthday is 2 weeks before Christmas (on the plus side — the day after he was born, there were carolers roaming the hospital who came by our room singing. Still one of my favorite memories.)
    He has a few very close friends, so usually the last day of school before break, they all come over for a slumber party. Fun, inexpensive, and a great way to kick off winter break!

  • Leah W. January 13,

    My husband and daughter are the day after Christmas. I feel your pain! This year my daughter (5) didn’t even want to open her birthday presents. She wanted to save them for a different day. We always do a little something on their birthday with whatever family happens to be in town and we celebrate a half birthday in June. My husband has actually always liked his birthday because he’s never had to go to school or work on it. But coming up with birthday presents at Christmas time is stressful for me!

  • Heather January 16,

    That is too funny that he left out that crucial detail about boiling the water! When my husband and I were dating, I tried like 10 times to make this coffee cake that he loved based on the recipe his mom gave me. Turns out she too left out some important information. Now it works like a dream!

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