Vegan Poppy Seed Cake

If you have ever been a guest in my parents home you have had poppy seed cake. Poppy seed cake is my Mom’s go-to dessert, and has been my whole life. The smell of the sherry cooking in the cake batter is the ultimate smell of home for me. I once had a friend say, “Whenever I think of your parent’s house I think of poppy seed cake and jarlsberg cheese” (clearly in my pre-vegan days). My parents have moved to a mostly vegan diet and my Mom asked me to create a vegan version of poppy seed cake for her. The original recipe uses cake mix and a lot of eggs. It took me several tries, but I’ve come up with a vegan poppy seed cake that is as delicious as the original.Vegan Poppy Seed Cake Pintrest

The secret to this poppy seed cake is the Dry Sherry. It adds a very distinct flavor and will make your whole house smell delicious while the cake is baking.

Vegan Poppy Seed Cake Sherry

After the cake comes out of the oven wait about 15 minutes before you flip the cake out of the bundt pan and onto a plate. Let the cake cool completely before you pour the sherry glaze on top.

Vegan Poppy Seed Cake Glazed

When you make the glaze resist the temptation to add all of the sherry at once. The glaze can go from the perfect thick, but pourable texture to completely runny in seconds. I find that the amount of sherry I need to create the right viscosity depends on the weather. Sometimes I only need 1 Tablespoon of sherry mixed with the powdered sugar and other times I need the full 2 Tablespoons. Start with 1 Tablespoon and add additional sherry 1 teaspoon at a time until you have a nice, thick glaze that will slowly run down the sides of the cake.

Vegan Poppy Seed Cake Slice

Vegan poppy seed cake is a beautiful dessert, but also works well at brunches since it isn’t overly heavy. It is delicious with your morning cup of coffee as well.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Poppy Seed Cake
Tender vegan poppy seed cake flavored with dry sherry. A great dessert or brunch treat. Delicious with a cup of coffee.
  • CAKE
  • 1½ cups Unsweetened Almond, Rice or Coconut Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ⅔ cup Canola Oil
  • ½ cup Dry Sherry
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2.5 cups All- Purpose Flour
  • ¼ cup Cornstarch
  • 1½ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¾ teaspoon Salt
  • 2 TB Poppy Seeds
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 TB Dry Sherry
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a bundt pan. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the milk and the vinegar together and let sit a few minutes until curdled. Beat together the milk mixture, oil, sherry, and vanilla in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture. Mix until no large lumps remain. Stir in the poppy seeds.
  4. Pour mixture into greased bundt pan. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes. After 15 minutes of cooling flip the cake out of the bundt pan and onto a large plate. Let cake cool completely.
  5. Whisk powdered sugar with 1 TB of sherry. Mix it together and add additional sherry, 1 teaspoon at a time, until a thick but pourable glaze has formed. Pour over cooled cake.


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Vegan Gretchen


  1. CL says

    I made this last night and it was very good. I might increase the recipe a bit next time to have a bigger cake. I did put three T poppy seeds because my husband is Russians and they love their poppy seeds.

    Thank you for the recipe. I’m sending it to my mom and I will looking around your site for more baked goods.

    • vegangretchen says

      Thanks for letting me know how it turned out for you CL. I’m glad you liked it. I have doubled the recipe in the past to make a larger cake and it works well.

      • CL says

        WOW, I reread my comment and the typos are embarrassing. That is the last time I write any comment on my cell phone, nearly falling asleep while nursing my baby.

        Would you recommend making a larger cake by doubling the recipe or by multiplying by 1.5 instead? Doubling it did not make it too large for your bundt pan? I’m all for doubling instead of x1.5, if it will safely fit in the bundt pan without spilling into the oven.

        • vegangretchen says

          Hi CL – don’t you love looking back at what you wrote when you were tired! I’m always shocked by my typos too 🙂

          I doubled the recipe and it worked well in a large bundt pan…12 cup capacity I believe. If you have any concerns about the size of your pan I would definitely try 1.5x the recipe first. Thanks again for trying the recipe!

  2. Vanessa says

    Is there anything I could use to replace the dry sherry or does this give this cake a special flavor?


    • vegangretchen says

      Hi Vanessa – the sherry is what gives the cake its unique flavor. If you don’t want to use it I would recommend adding an equal amount of milk instead. It might be pretty plain without the sherry so you might want to add lemon extract to give it a flavor boost.

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