Poppy Seeds and Walnuts Presburger

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The world divides to two: people who like poppy seeds and people who simply can’t stand these black seeds. It’s only in the past 2 years I started to LOVE poppy seeds, but ever since then, I can put it in just about any pastry or cake I make.

This presburger cake is a traditional Austro-Hungarian recipe for poppy seeds and walnut cake. The dough is enriched with lots of butter, and is golden and crispy, yet melts in your mouth. The filling is LOTS of poppy seeds, and all-in-all, for me it’s the perfect cake for a Saturday morning.

Poppy Seeds and Walnuts Presburger

Photo: Natalie Levin

Poppy Seeds and Walnuts Presburger

  • Based on a Miki Shemo recipe, with some changes and adjustments.

2 loaf cake pans about 25 cm in length

For the dough:
280 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
5 grams instant dry yeast
50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
100 grams soft butter, cubed
75 ml. (1/3 cup) milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
1/4 tsp. salt

For poppy seeds and walnut filling:
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
125 ml. (1/2 cup) milk
25 grams butter
Pinch of salt
150 grams freshly ground poppy seeds
1 tsp. brandy or rum
1 large egg yolk
100 grams finely chopped walnuts

1 beaten egg for brushing
Icing sugar for serving


  1. Dough: in a bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook put flour, yeast, sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, egg yolk and salt and knead at medium speed for 5-6 minutes until the dough is smooth.
  2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
  3. Poppy seed and nut filling: in a medium pot put sugar, milk, butter and salt and heat to a boil. It is important to note that all the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Add poppy seeds and stir until mixture is smooth.
  5. Add brandy, egg yolk and nuts and mix until you get a paste.
  6. Cool slightly at room temperature before using.
  7. Make the presburger: divide the dough into 2 equal parts.
  8. On a floured surface, roll each part into a 3-4 mm thick rectangle and spread half of poppy seed and nut filling in a thin layer.
  9. Roll tightly and place in a lightly greased pan.
  10. Repeat with the second part of the dough and the remaining filling.
  11. Cover the cakes with a damp towel and set aside for an hour at room temperature. The cakes are not supposed to double their volume at this time. If you want, you can scorch the top pf the cakes with a serrated knife.
  12. Preheat oven to 170c degrees.
  13. Gently brush the cakes with beaten egg and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  14. Cool at room temperature, sprinkle some powdered sugar and serve.


  • Cakes are at their best on the day of preparation, but you can freeze them (well wrapped) for up to a month. Lightly warm the cakes before serving.
  • Instead of walnuts you can use any kind of nut you like.
  • Do not omit the sugar powder when serving.
Poppy Seeds and Walnuts Presburger

Photo: Natalie Levin