January 29th, 2019 | Posted By: Magdalena Wszelaki | Posted in Adrenals, Desserts, Estrogen Dominance, Menopause, Recipes, Thyroid

Polish Poppy Seed Cake


Not often do I have much interest in baking, let alone Polish desserts. Even though I’m of Polish descent, I grew up and spent most of my adult life in South East Asia and China – which skewed my palette towards vibrant flavors, colors and an explosion of spices – a far departure from traditional Polish cuisine.

However, a few Polish dishes will always have a place in my heart – “makowiec”, which translates to poppy seed cake, is one of them.

I modified the traditional version to make it free of gluten, dairy, eggs, and grains. To make it nut free, substitute almonds with tigernuts.

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Polish Poppy Seed Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A modified version of a traditional Polish dessert - free of gluten, dairy, eggs, and grains. To make it nut free, substitute almonds with tigernuts.
Serves: 8
  • 1½ cups poppy seeds
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 ripe bananas, chopped
  • ⅓ cup arrowroot flour
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup sweetened cranberries, chopped
  • ¾ cup sweet sour cherries; fresh, frozen (if frozen, thaw and drain to measure ¾ cup), dried (if dried, rehydrate in hot water for 15 minutes), roughly chopped
  • ½ cup chopped 70% (or higher) dark chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons almond meal or flour (or, freshly grind a handful of almonds), or tigernut flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown, cane or coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground Ceylon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons almond slivers, roasted
How To Make
  1. Place the poppy seeds in a heavy-bottomed medium pan, add the boiling water, cover and simmer for 30 minutes on medium high heat. If any water remains, continue simmering until all water evaporates.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  3. Transfer the poppy seeds to a high speed blender and whizz on high for about 3 minutes, or until the poppy seeds become a well blended mixture. Stop the blender and use a spatula to scrapes the sides and restart.
  4. To the blender, add the bananas, arrowroot flour, coconut oil, lemon juice, all the extracts and salt. Whizz for another minute, or until well combined.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and fold in the cranberries, cherries, chocolate and almond meal. Taste and if the mixture needs more sweetness, mix in a tablespoon of maple syrup or honey at that time. If the bananes were ripe, the cake should be sweet enough.
  6. Grease the springform and pour the mixture and distribute it evenly with a spatula.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
  8. Loosen sides from springform with a knife and remove the rim. Cool on a wire rack for at least 4 hours. The cake will be soft but will harden as it cools.
  9. Grind sugar and cinnamon in a coffee grinder. Use a fine sieve to dust the cake with the sugar cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle with almond slivers.
High-speed food blender (like Vitamix, Blendtec or Nutribullet)
9-inch springform

Where to Get Ingredients

Hunting down ingredients? Here are some of our preferred brands, available on Amazon.

Arrowroot Flour | Anthony’s

Almond Flour | Anthony’s

Tigernut Flour | Anthony’s

14 Comments to Polish Poppy Seed Cake

  1. Hi Magdalena,

    Thank you for the new version “makowiec”
    WOW! Excellent combination, more rich, more healthy, gluten free – – – –
    Looks delicious! !

    My Polish favorites bakery is makowiec, klery and
    Cheese cake

  2. This is so interesting recipe that for sure I want surprise my husband on his 🎂 birthday 🙂
    Thank you Magdalena

  3. Very interesting twist Magdalena. Will definitely try it soon as eggs are excluded from my diet and I’m missing makowiec like crazy!

  4. Thank you for the recipe. I always wanted to make this cake without gluten. I will try to make it by myself and I will tell my husband’s aunt about this. She is Polish and a great cook!

  5. Hi Magdalena, this looks delicious! My daughter is allergic to bananas.
    Any idea for a healthy substitute?
    (If possible not avocado, nuts or coconut as I cannot eat them)

    • Hi Isa, we haven’t tested the recipe with a replacement for the bananas. I would leave them out or maybe try applesauce? Let us know how how it turns out, if you try it:) ~ Jeanne HB Team

  6. Wow, great recipe, and I’m glad it’s eggs free (I don’t eat eggs).
    I will definitely try it. Makowiec” is one of my favorites.
    Thank you. 😊

    • Hi Stasia, please let us know what you think after you try it:) ~ Jeanne HB Team

  7. OMWord! This looks delish! I am always looking for a healthy alternative Christmas/holiday dessert. I am going to make it and hope my polish friends love it! Maybe I can convert them?! lol

  8. This looks delicious. Is it something that can be made ahead of time and frozen?

  9. The stated “cook time” and “total time” at the top of the recipe are hopefully wrong! You may want to correct😉

  10. That’s genius idea for makowiec if you can’t eat gluten, eggs and diary. Could I replace arrow root flour with potato or rice flour?

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