Chocolate Poppy Seed Cake Recipe
Chocolate and Poppy Cake Recipe is layered with sweetened condensed milk buttercream and covered with light whipped cream. This Russian cake has been a favorite for many years and once you make it, I’m sure it will become yours too!
This Russian cake is known by the many different names including Black Prince, Russian Royal Cake or Bottom of the Ocean. I’ve found that almost everybody who lived in Russia has some variation of this cake recipe and that is not to say that Americans don’t.
Sour Cream Substitutions
You can find similar recipes, with the only difference being that sour cream is sometimes replaced by yogurt, sometimes buttermilk, others decide to substitute it with vegetable oil. And no wonder it is such a popular cake worldwide – it definitely is one of the best tasting cakes. Dense, moist with a certain creaminess from the condensed milk frosting, or as I call it – Russian buttercream.
Cake Layer Filling Options
The versatility of the cake layers is also another reason this cake is popular in the Russian community. Each layer can be different, depending on what you want to add to it. You can make your cake all chocolate, or all poppy seed, or all raisins, or all white vanilla cake, or alternate the flavors of the cake layers to your liking. I used only poppy seeds and chocolate, but you’re the boss of your cake, so it is up to you! Just replace the amount of poppy seeds with an equal amount by volume with dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips.
Easy Chocolate and Poppy Seed Cake recipe
When giving somebody a recipe, I always say that if you’ve never baked a thing in your life you can still make this cake, it is that easy and straightforward.
The original recipe does not call for additional frosting for decorating the outside of the cake, but I always find that given frosting is only enough to layer the cake and make it delicious. I always add 2 cups of whip cream (whipped to stiff peaks) to decorate the outside of the cake. You can do the same, or you can omit this step and just reserve 1 cup of frosting before starting to layer the cake, for covering the outside.
Chocolate Poppy Seed Cake
Ingredients for the Chocolate Poppy Seed Cake
Condensed Milk Buttercream
- 16 oz unsalted butter room temperature (1 stick = 4 oz)
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk as is, or cooked (dulce de leche); 1 can = 14 oz
For decorating the cake
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream at least 36% fat content
- 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
How to Make the Chocolate and Poppy Seed Cake Layers
Preheat oven to 350F. Apply some butter to the inside of two 8-inch round baking pans and dust with flour. Shake out the excess. Alternatively, you can spray them with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Fasten the wet cake strips around the baking pans. Set aside.
Whisk 2 eggs with a 1 cup of sugar, add 1 cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons baking soda mixed with 2 tablespoon vinegar, ½ cup flour and 1 cup poppy seeds thoroughly until smooth and creamy. Then, divide evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
3rd and 4th layer - Follow the instructions in step 3, but replace poppy seeds with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
Invert the cakes onto a wire rack and let cool. If you'd like thinner cake layers, split each cake layer horizontally into two even layers with a long serrated knife.
To make the Russian Buttercream Frosting
In a bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the butter for about 5 minutes on high speed, scraping down the sides several times throughout.
With the mixer still running, slowly pour the condensed milk against the inside wall of the mixer bowl until fully incorporated and fluffy. As soon as the condensed milk is added, with some streaks of the condensed milk still showing, turn the mixer off and fold the frosting until fully combined.
How to cook the sweetened condensed milk.
Remove the labels off the cans, place it in a deep pot and cover with water so that the water covers the cans at least 2 inches. Cover with lid and bring the water to boil. Cook over medium heat for 1.5 hours. Do not let the water evaporate and add hot water as necessary to keep the cans submerged at all time. Take off the heat and cover with cold water until the cans are cool.
How to assemble the Chocolate Poppy Seed Cake
Place a dab of frosting on a serving platter. Top with the first cake layer and press to adhere. Spread 1/3 of the frosting into an even layer, then repeat with the rest of the cake layers and the Russian Buttercream.
To Decorate the Poppy seed Chocolate Cake:
Whip the heavy cream with a mixer fitted with a whip attachment. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip to incorporate. Whip until the cream is fluffy and there are visible ripples as the whisk is whipping. Do not overwhip or the cream might separate. If you see the cream start to separate, add a little bit of unwhipped cream and carefully mix until smooth again.
Cover the cake in the prepared whipped cream decorate to your liking.
Refrigerate the cake overnight. Serve at room temperature or cold out of the fridge, depending on how you like it.
This recipe makes one 4-inch tall, 10-inch round cake.
For 8-9 inch cake, use only 3/4 ingredients.
For a 6-inch cake, use 1/2 the recipe