5 from 2 votes
Chocolate Poppy Seed Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins

Chocolate and Poppy Cake Recipe is layered with sweetened condensed milk buttercream and covered with light whipped cream.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Keyword: chocolate poppy seed cake
Servings: 16 Servings
Calories: 572 kcal
Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin!
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
How to Make the Chocolate and Poppy Seed Cake Layers
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 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.

  2. 1st & 2nd layer - Whisk 2 eggs with a 1 cup of sugar, add 1 cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons baking soda mixed with 2 tablespoon vinegar, 1 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.

  3. 3rd and 4th layer - Follow the instructions in step 2, but replace poppy seeds with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.

  4. Invert the baked 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.

How to cook the sweetened condensed milk
  1. Do this if you prefer your frosting to be dulce de leche flavored, skip this step if you would like regular sweetened condensed milk flavor instead.


    Remove the labels off cans, place in a deep pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Keep the water at a slow simmer for 1.5-2 hours. Keep adding more hot water if the water evaporates and doesn't cover the cans (if the water evaporates and the cans cook with no water, they will explode). Take off the heat and cover with cold water until the cans are cool, about 4 hours.

To make the Russian Buttercream Frosting (click the link for photo tutorial)
  1. 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. 

  2. 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.

  3. How to assemble the Chocolate Poppy Seed Cake

  4. 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:
  1. 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, stop the mixer, add a little bit of unwhipped cream and carefully mix until smooth again.

  2. Cover the cake in the prepared whipped cream and decorate to your liking.

Recipe Notes

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

Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Poppy Seed Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 572 Calories from Fat 387
% Daily Value*
Fat 43g66%
Saturated Fat 25g156%
Cholesterol 157mg52%
Sodium 392mg17%
Potassium 156mg4%
Carbohydrates 41g14%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 27g30%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 1385IU28%
Vitamin C 0.5mg1%
Calcium 157mg16%
Iron 1.7mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.