Grandma’s Old Fashioned Poppy Seed Cake

Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Poppy Seed Cake.

One of the things I love to do around my birthday is bake Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Poppy Seed Cake.

Having a birthday so close after Christmas, when everyone is really “over” sweets, Grandma made this simple cake for my birthday every year for as long as I can remember until she passed away.

May sound kind of strange that I like to bake my own cake these days, but I really do.  For me, it’s more than baking.  It’s reminiscing.  It’s sweet, loving memories.  It’s kind of a tribute to my Stella Star.

I use Grandma’s old tin measuring cup as I measure out the flour and sugar.  I grease and flour the pan – a square tube pan – because that is the way Grandma did it.   I crack eggs and stir and think of conversations Grandma and I had in the kitchen while she cooked and baked.  I put it in the oven and wait for the smell…. That smell that takes me right there to her kitchen.  Right back to that feeling of comfort and peace and unconditional love.

So yep – baking my cake gives me almost as much joy as eating it!

I love the way the outside is crisp and crunchy, and the inside is tender and moist and just a little sweet, but packed full of flavor.

This is a very basic cake.  A cake likely made in times when ingredients were simple, money was tight, and everything was made from scratch with love.  And I love it!

Do you have a recipe like this that is just as much of a memory as it is something to eat?  Something that is a ritual of love?

Here is our recipe:

Grandma's Easy Poppy Seed Cake

  • Servings: One Yummy Cake
  • Print

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 cup poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 10 inch tube or bundt pan.
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.
Make a well in the center and add eggs, vanilla, oil, and milk.  Mix well.
Fold in poppy seeds.
Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn onto rack to cool.

When cool, sprinkle generously with sifted powdered sugar.

Cheers & Hugs,

59 thoughts on “Grandma’s Old Fashioned Poppy Seed Cake

  1. Wonderful, Jodi!

    This takes me back to being in my grandmother’s (“Ba”) kitchen as she cooked and baked. How we talked and talked….whatever she made was wonderful, especially birthday cakes.

    Happy birthday—I’m sure that your Stella is smiling right now!



  2. “Baking is love made edible” – unknown. I would like to say that I am the unknown author, alas, I am not. To be honest, it was printed on a T-shirt that I purchased for my daughter. It certainly was true of my sweet Gram and it appears to describe your Grandma “Stella Star” too. My Gram was the piecrust expert. I watched her from toddler to teenager, unable to pin her down to an exact recipe. She knew by the “feel” when it was “just right” and it was always perfectly light and flaky. Mine more resembles a rock that holds a tasty filling. Your Birthday cake is the perfect combination of past and present celebrations. A tradition and gift to pass onto your Granddaughter through shared floury moments. Thank-you! P.S. A square tube pan…love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love that quote! I bet your baker daughter loves that T!!

      My grandma made a mean pie crust too, but I have to say my mother-in-law was the one who taught me how to perfect pie crust, and I must admit to not measuring either – at least the water. It just has to “feel right” – and the key is NOT to OVERWORK it. That is what makes it tough. My sister-in-law always wanted to knead it like bread dough, but you just work it until incorporated then roll out and go. At least that has been my success. I did a post a while back about pie crust 🙂 Hubby always brags on my crust. So many people eat pie filling and skip the crust, but he says crust is the best part – at least when done right. 🙂 Love my square tube pan. It makes crispy corners and is just FUN! 🙂


  3. Not only does this sound wonderful, but I am intrigued by the square tube pan, Jodi. Was that your grandmother’s, too?

    My mission this week is to try to recreate a 1:1 flour mix that King Arthur puts out, and begin baking in a gluten free or gluten reduced way so the whole family can enjoy (today: reduced gluten peanut butter cookies). I’m going to try adapting this recipe to use my alternative flour mixture…Thanks, as always, for sharing your bounty.

    And I don’t think there’s anything weird about baking your own birthday cake!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds just perfect Jodi – I love those recipes that have been passed down…my father’s mother (Mom Mom) gave me her recipe box before she passed away – I cherish it! Memories are so important…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a gorgeous recipe, such a gorgeous notion to make ones own birthday cake. This year I will do just that (no-one else will) and I will raise a slice to you (won’t be for a few months, by the way … I’m a September baby not like these silly late December and worst of all 25th burpdays 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It looks wonderfully delicious! I love poppy seed muffins so, I’m willing to bet I’d like this too.
    You were so blessed to have grown up with a Grandmother. My maternal Grandmother died when I was just 13 weeks old, and the rest had died a long time before I was born so, I didn’t have any growing up, and I knew I was missing something special when I saw my friends with their Grandparents.

    I’m so thankful my children had my He-Man’s parents, and my Mom. Actually He-Man’s mom is the Grandma I want to be. I hope #1 Grandson has fond memories of me when growing up, and when I’m gone. I thought being a Mom was the greatest thing ever and my raison d’ etre, but being a Grandma…WOW so much better! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Jodi, one of the older ladies from my church always made poppyseed cake just like your Grandma did. I had lost the recipe, but now I can make this favourite again❤️ Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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