Wirklich Wunderbar: Austrian Mohnkuchen (Poppy Seed Cake) with Schnapps Frosting

Published March 2, 2014 by The Feminist


It has been a month since I went skiing in the Alps and I am starting to feel a bit nostalgic towards all things that vaguely remind me of mountain tops and ski slopes. I even considered re-watching The Sound of Music for the umpteenth time just to satisfy my need for a good shot of Austrian happiness.

Luckily for my über cool reputation and my already severely scratched Sound of Music DVD I decided to recreate an Austrian vibe in a totally different way.

I baked a cake. A poppy seed cake.

Or as they call it in Austria: Mohnkuchen. Mohnkuchen is to the German speaking countries what tarte tatin is to the French: it is one of the signature bakes of the region and every family has its very own secret recipe.

Since Mohnkuchen is so typical of the region, it was the best way to soothe my nostalgic spirit, but there was one tiny problem…

I had never baked it before, and I had no recipe, but I still wanted it to taste just like I remembered.

So I browsed the internet for at least one hour (I tend to be very sceptical and picky when it comes to online recipes) to finally find a recipe that seemed to be giving me exactly what I wanted: the one and only Mohnkuchen.

However, I still had my doubts whether everything would go as planned so I decided to make a smaller version of the otherwise gigantic cake. (Basically, I chickened out and was afraid to end up with a failure on the baking front.)

My worries, apparently, were not justified, because this cake was freakin’ delicious! And more importantly, it tasted just like the traditional Mohnkuchen!

To make it even more great I added some Marillen Schnapps to the batter and the frosting, which made the cake extra moist and boozy.

Over the moon with delight, I have decided to share this recipe with y’all, so you can create this magical cake at home as well. Enjoy!

Ingredients (makes 4 portions):

  • 50gr ground hazelnuts
  • 120gr poppy seeds
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 100gr butter
  • 100gr sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Marillen Schnapps
  • Apricot jam

For the Schnapps frosting:

  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Marillen Schnapps

PS: Double the amounts to make a bigger cake.


  1. Whisk together the egg yolks, butter and sugar until you get a light and smooth batter.
  2. Put the poppy seeds in a blender and pulse a couple of times. What you want is a mix of whole poppy seeds, crushed poppy seeds and ground poppy seeds. (This will create a true texture sensation, I promise!)
  3. Stir the poppy seeds, hazelnuts, schnapps and cinnamon through the batter.
  4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites in your mixture. Pour the batter into a prepared cake tin. (I used a rectangular 25x15cm tin) Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Leave to cool completely. The cake will be quite flat and moist, similar to a brownie. Cut the cake in two halves. Spread a generous layer of jam on top of one half and put the other half on top. Now spread a thin layer of jam on the top layer of the cake.
  6. Make the frosting by whisking together the icing sugar and the Schnapps. Spread the frosting on top of the cake and put it in the fridge for half an hour to firm up.
  7. Guten Appetit!

19 comments on “Wirklich Wunderbar: Austrian Mohnkuchen (Poppy Seed Cake) with Schnapps Frosting

  • OMG! I haven’t thought about mohnkuchen in a very long time, but I lived in Germany for a year and there was a backerei that made the most insane mohnkuchen, I could gain weight just looking at it! BTW, what exactly is the schnapps you referred to? I’m not sure if its something they have in the states or not…does it have a particular flavor? Can’t wait to make this one!

  • My wife and I just spent a lovely hour sitting in the sun with the beautiful lawn and greenhouse before us and the ancient but renovated barn (now restaurant ) behind us on this glorious October day at the Orangerie Aukamm in Wiesbaden enjoying Mohnkuchen und Bionade. What a delightful way to enjoy the sun and the scenery!
    I had to look up a recipe . Glad I found yours,
    I’ll be testing it soon, Bon Apetit!

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