Vegan Mohnkuchen (Poppyseed Cake)

We celebrated my husband’s birthday on Monday! This year, he requested Mohnkuchen (a German poppyseed cake) for his birthday cake. I had a hard time finding a vegan Mohnkuchen recipe in English, so I went ahead and adapted this recipe from Cookpad. It called for one egg in the poppyseed layer, which turned out to be very easy to substitute with chia seeds. After all, when you’re using over a cup of black poppyseeds in something, a few chia seeds will blend right in! Other than that, I mostly just switched out dairy products for their nondairy counterparts and made a few tweaks here and there (such as making the poppyseed layer larger at my husband’s request, which I think was a very good call).

I didn’t completely know what to expect with this cake. I haven’t baked with poppyseeds very much before and certainly never in this quantity. The finished product was extremely delicious! Each layer of the cake complements the others so well, and the subtle cinnamon and vanilla flavors blend with the poppyseed taste so harmoniously that the final result is beyond scrumptious. I seriously cannot believe how good it is. It’s a truly unique flavor profile for someone who’s used to the typical cake flavors common in America. Who would have thought that that many poppyseeds could be delicious in a cake? The people who invented Mohnkuchen, I guess! Good job, Germany.

I would also like to point out briefly just how beautiful this cake is. The stark contrast between the dark poppyseed layer and the light bottom layer is striking and visually appealing. So without further ado, here is the recipe.

Vegan Mohnkuchen Recipe

Ingredients:Mohnkuchen 2

  • 1 greased or parchment-lined 7-inch round cake pan, preferably with removable bottom. I used Fat Daddio’s.


  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons organic raw cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread

Cake layer:

  • 1 heaping cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup Silk vanilla soy yogurt or other nondairy yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk (I used Good Karma flaxmilk)
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 3 tablespoons organic raw cane sugar

Poppyseed Filling:

  • 1 cup + 1/8 cup poppyseeds (approximately 140 grams)
  • 1 “chia egg” (1 tablespoon chia seeds soaked in 3 tablespoons water and 4 tablespoons nondairy milk)
  • 2.5 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 1 cup nondairy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons organic raw cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Begin by mixing together the chia seeds, water and nondairy milk for your “chia egg” to be used later in the poppyseed layer and allowing them to soak.

Next, mix the flour, sugars and cinnamon for your topping. Add cold Earth Balance in chunks to the dry ingredients and crumble it all together using your hands or a fork. Once you have some nice crumbles, chill the topping mixture in the refrigerator until you are ready to top the other layers.

At this point, preheat your oven to 350°F. For the cake layer, add flour, baking powder and salt to a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together softened Earth Balance, nondairy yogurt, nondairy milk and sugar until combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until the batter comes together into a cakey dough. Roll the dough into a ball with your hands and then use a rolling pin to roll it out into a thick circle the size of your cake pan. Then, place your dough in the bottom of your pan and begin work on the poppyseed layer.

For the poppyseed layer, add nondairy milk and Earth Balance to a saucepan, heating on low until the Earth Balance has just melted. Whisk in the vanilla, flour, cornstarch, cinnamon and sugar. Mix well, whisking out any lumps as you bring to a simmer. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the mixture thickens. Then, let it rest for a few minutes without heat.

For best flavor and texture, roughly grind the poppyseeds in a food processor or mortar and pestle. Add the poppyseeds to the flour and cornstarch mixture and stir well. Next, add the “chia egg” that you mixed together earlier. The chia mixture should be nice and gelatinous after soaking. Once you’ve mixed it well, the poppyseed filling should be fairly thick and gooey.

Spread the poppyseed layer out over the cake layer. Finally, add the crumble topping on top of the poppyseed layer.

Bake at 350°F for 25-35 minutes, until the crumble topping has browned and the cake is cooked throughout (although the poppyseed layer will continue to firm up as it cools). While baking, check halfway through to make sure the top layer is not browning too quickly. If so, lightly cover the cake with a piece of aluminum foil. For best results, let the cake cool for about an hour before serving to allow the poppyseed layer to set. Enjoy!

Vegan Mohnkuchen
Vegan Mohnkuchen