Streusel Cake with Poppy Seed Filling (Mohn-Streuselkuchen)

This classic German streusel is like the best part of a coffee cake in tart-shape form. Swap out the poppy seed filling for your favorite fresh fruit, chopped, tossed with a little sugar, and cooked until softened. If you don’t like raisins, dried apricots also work nicely.

Makes 1 (10-inch) cake

Poppy seed filling

Scant 1/2 cup poppy seeds

1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp semolina flour

2 Tbsp vanilla sugar (see Note)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Pinch of kosher salt

1/3 cup raisins, rinsed and soaked in warm water for 5 minutes to soften

 Streusel cake

11/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 large egg yolk

Scant 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup plus 2 tsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of kosher salt


2 cups heavy cream

2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp vanilla sugar (see Note)

Poppy seed filling 

Using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, slightly grind poppy seeds. Set aside.

Combine milk and granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Slowly add semolina, whisking continuously. Reduce heat to low, continue to stir with a wooden spoon, and simmer for 4 to 6 minutes, until thickened. Add poppy seeds and vanilla sugar and mix thoroughly. Stir in egg, a little at a time, mixing vigorously the entire time. Remove from heat and stir in salt and raisins. Let cool to room temperature. (Filling can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 6 days, until needed.)

Streusel cake 

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a 10-inch springform tart or cake pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, butter, and egg yolk. Using your fingertips, rub butter into the flour until pea-sized. Add coconut, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Again, using your fingertips, rub them into the butter, creating a crumbly mixture. Don’t overmix or the dough will be tough.

Reserve 1/2 cup and transfer remaining dough to the prepared pan, gently pressing mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan in an even layer. Add the poppy seed filling and spread it evenly on top. Sprinkle remaining streusel over the top evenly.

Bake for 22 minutes, until top is golden. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and set aside for at least 2 hours to cool. Remove sides of pan.


In a medium bowl, whip heavy cream by hand or using a mixer. Add vanilla sugar and whip just until combined. Serve cake with the whipped cream.

Note: To make your own vanilla sugar, split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and place in a container of sugar. Set aside for at least 5 days to infuse. When the container gets low, just replenish with more sugar, as the vanilla bean will impart its flavor and fragrance for months.

Alternatively, combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Recipe courtesy of Gaumenkitzel Restaurant via East Bay Cooks (Figure 1) by Carolyn Jung

Photo credit: Eva Kolenko

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