Posted by: The MuffinTin Post | September 1, 2009

German Pastry Series: Mohnkuchen

Ready to eat

I’ve told you about German pastries before. I’ve even been a terrible friend by showing you photos but leaving you no recipe. All of your poor folks left to live vicariously through pictures. I know, I know. Life just isn’t fair.

But today I’m here to bring a little bit of equality to the world, provided you’ve got on your baker’s hat!

As a mentioned before, I returned to the US just in time to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday, and we kicked off the event this past Friday with some early morning baking. I chose three German pastry recipes to test, all chosen for different reasons. The recipes were obtained from the internet – not without some searching – because none of my cookbooks had recipes for the pastries I selected. I’ll tell you how our baking went and how the recipes turned out, but don’t worry, I’ll let you know when I have suggestions to improve the recipe.

We started this week with Mohnkuchen, my absolute favorite German pastry ever. Mohn, for the non-German speakers like me, is poppy seed. Kuchen is cake. So do the math: Mohn + Kuchen = Poppy Seed Cake. Forget the typical American poppy seed recipe, the lemon poppy seed cake (not that I’m bashing it because it’s certainly tasty), but this poppy seed mixture combines a sweet shortbread with a thick layer of the seeds, which have been swirled in all sorts of goodies. Topped with streusel, mohnkuchen is fabulous, a total show-stealer. You’ll eat the whole thing in minutes, your guests will love you, please – make – this – immediately.

Mohnkuchen is a good tea pastry, and it makes a nice party cake too. If you’re looking for an enormous sheet cake to serve 35 people, you might want to look elsewhere, but this is perfect for about 8 to 10. Umm, if you don’t eat it all first.

Just before it's baked


recipe from here

serves 8 to 10


for the dough

-1 cup sugar

-1 cup margarine (note: I used butter-flavored Crisco)

-1 egg

-4 cups flour

-1/2 cup evaporated milk

-2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

for the filling

-1/3 cup. cream of wheat

-2 1/2 cups water

-1 cup sugar

-1 tsp. vanilla

-1 tbsp. butter

-1 cup poppy seeds

-1 egg

for the streusel

-1 cup butter

-1 1/2 cup sugar

-2 cups flour

-2 tbsp. evaporated milk


Making the dough is easy. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until lumps form. I have a small food processor so I had to do this in batches. Then press into a 10-in. springform pan. I didn’t use all of the dough here because I didn’t want a super thick crust. My dough was about 1-in. thick. Feel free to make yours thicker. [If you have leftover dough, make it into shortbread by pressing it into a springform pan, and baking it on 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned and quite firm]. Set the pan aside while you start the mohn filling.

For the filling, pour the water into a saucepan, and prepare the cream of wheat, using that water, according to the directions on the box. Once the cream of wheat is soft and has thickened, remove from the heat. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, butter, and poppy seeds. The sugar should dissolve since the cream of wheat is warm. Stick the bowl in the fridge – without adding the egg. You’ll want to chill the mixture before adding the egg so that you don’t end up with mohn filling + scrambled eggs.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

While you’re waiting for the filling to cool down, make the streusel. It’s also as easy as the crust! Wash your food processor, and then put all the streusel ingredients into it. Pulse until lumpy (but not doughy).


By now the filling should have cooled off. It doesn’t need to be cold, but make sure the heat has reduced enough that the egg won’t cook. Add the egg, and mix well.

Now pour all of the filling over the crust. Then sprinkle the streusel over the filling, covering the entire filling, creating about a 3/4 to 1-in. thick streusel topping. I also had leftover streusel.

Golden mohnkuchen

Bake it! The mohnkuchen will take about 1 hour to bake. The streusel should be lightly browned, and the pastry will be quite firm. After the baking, chill the pastry until cool. During this time, it will firm up even more. After it has chilled, remove the springform ring, and set the pastry on a cake plate. The pastry will now be completely delicious and beautiful!

Ready to eat


  1. Oh, I can’t wait to make this! Mohnkuchen is my ABSOLUTE favorite and I miss it so! I eat it almost every day when I visit Germany to make up for the whole year :) Thanks for this post!

    Alles Liebe,

  2. […] is no need to review my well-documented affinity for unusual foods and my preference for weird stuff over plain old spaghetti. But let’s add another food to the […]

  3. I’ve mad this mohnkuchen for the first time today. Actually, it’s the first Mohnkuchen I ever made. Not only is the cake easy to make, but it taste delicious. Thank you for sharing. Helga

  4. Oh! I just visited Bremen in Germany and imidiately when I got home, I searched for the recept of mohnkuchen. I’m planning on making it today to my boyfriend, sister and his boyfriend for our little evening teaparty. The only loss is that in Bremen I ate a mohnkuchen like this but with somekind of vanillapudding spots under the poppyseed filling. I would be so happy if someone would be able to tell me what was that.

    • I actually have another recipe for Mohnkuchen that includes a sort of cream. My friend’s mother makes it, and he and I are planning to make it when he returns from holiday (towards the end of May). Shall I test it and send over the recipe then?

  5. Oh! That would be lovely :)

  6. This was amazing and so easy! I put it in a 9×13 in cake pan and I think with the amount of crust and strussel I had, I could have made two. I was a little hesitant about the cream of wheat but it’s delicious. I made mine with half water half milk. Awesome, thanks for sharing, the pictures made it super easy to follow.

  7. Hi there
    I’m from the UK & we don’t have cream of wheat here…. desperate to make Mohnkuchen; I lived off the stuff as a student in Germany in the 80’s!! Someone has told me I could use semolina instead – is this true? And would I add dry or make into a sloppy porridge-y consistency before adding the other ingredients? Many thanks to anyone who can help.

  8. I would love to make this cake, I don’t think we have cream of wheat here in Australia, can anyone tell me what would make a good alternative?

    • Farina?

  9. I tried this last night – unfortunately it was store-bought, so probably not as good as it could have been. At first I didn’t like it, but I guess it’s an acquired taste…I’m already sitting here wanting another piece…! :)

  10. Farina? I think……

    • Also in UK and want to make this but have no idea what cream of wheat or Farina is? Is it like a thickening flour? What does it add to the filling – texture, taste or does it just bind together?

  11. Farina is a wheat cereal. If you can’t find it labeled as cream of wheat, cornmeal/polenta might also work. Please report back if you try!

  12. Hi World…what is cream of wheat? I lived in Bremen for 4 and a half years. Loved the Mohn kuchen I bought at the train station. Really yummy. My husband is Austrian from Graz, he enjoys this cake very much and I’d like to make it for him. Do I have to use the cream of wheat or can that be left out? maybe this is why in some recipe’s they use the custard mix?

    • Hi! Cream of wheat is a wheat-based porridge. You could substitute farina or possibly chopped oats or polenta/cornmeal. Let me know!

  13. I’m curious, why did you use margarine/crisco for the dough instead of butter? I would think the flavor would be much richer with butter.

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