Vegan poppy seed roll

Vegan poppy seed roll

vegan poppy seed roll made

How are you, guys? Are you Xmas ready yet? As usual, I feel nowhere near ready and I keep on thinking that there is still plenty of time to get presents etc. until I take a look at a calendar and I am in shock at how wrong I am. This is why Duncan often laughs that my perception of time is not the most accurate. I get caught out by things.

I tell him that when you don’t have a regular 9-5 job and an office to go to, it is very often quite hard to tell a regular working day from the weekend. Take this week for example. Because Duncan is away until early next week and the weather is currently dreadful, I will probably be working on Sunday as, according to the latest weather forecast, it will be sunny (I’m not holding my breath) and I am still holding out for the magic of natural light. So yeah, as the Latin saying on the wall of our physics classroom said ‘panta rei’ (everything flows). Never thought I would say this, but Heraclitus was right 😛 . Life defies being put in the boxes we so love!

So now that I gave my absentmindedness a bit of a philosophical overtone, let me put your mind at rest. I am vaguely aware that we have entered what is often referred to as the festive period and I do have 5 cracking and very Xmassy recipes up my sleeve. I shall be posting them on here between now and the day when we all eat ourselves silly. After that, it will all be about slimming foods as I reckon we will need that…

Today’s recipe is a bit of a punt as I bet that many of you are not familiar with poppy seed roll at all, but as it is one of the traditional Xmas cakes I grew up with, I figured it’s high time I veganised it. I am really pleased with the result and judging by how quickly it disappeared after I shared it with our friends who weren’t familiar with it either, I hope you’ll like it too. It’s really easy to make with the exception of the need to grind poppy seeds. I know, I know, it does sound like a pain, but don’t be tempted to use unground poppy seeds, I beg you.

Sadly for us vegans, the best equipment for grinding poppy seeds well is one of those old fashioned cast iron meat grinders, which I do not own (for obvious reasons), but my cheap coffee grinder did a good enough job. It is also possible to buy ground poppy seeds in some shops – especially Polish, Russian, German and Isreali delis – as using ground poppy seeds in baked goods is a fairly common thing in those cuisines.

vegan poppy seed roll process

vegan poppy seed roll making

vegan poppy seed roll icing

makes
30 cm / 12"
PREP
60 min
COOKING
30 min
makes
30 cm / 12"
PREPARATION
60 min
COOKING
30 min
INGREDIENTS
FILLING

  • 150 g / 1 heaped cup blue poppy seeds
  • 120 ml / ½ cup almond (or other thin plant) milk
  • 2 tsp coconut oil or vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  • 70 g / 1/3 cup sugar (I used demerara)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 34 g / scant ¼ cup raisins, soaked in boiling water for 15 min and chopped
  • 30 g / ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • 20 g / ¼ cup chopped candied orange peel
  • 1 heaped tbsp ground chia or flax seeds

DOUGH

  • 125 g / 1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
  • 7 g / 2 tsp instant yeast
  • a good pinch of turmeric, for colour (optional)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 60 ml / ¼ cup lukewarm plant milk
  • 25 g / 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

ICING

  • 50-100 g / ½-1 cup icing sugar
  • water

METHOD
FILLING

  1. Grind your poppy seeds finely in a coffee or spice grinder or an old-fashioned meat grinder*, which actually works best. Failing that, you should be able to buy already ground poppy seeds online or in some Polish, Russian and German delicatessens, as poppy seed filling is commonly used in these countries’ Xmas dishes.
  2. Place the ground poppy seeds in a medium size bowl and bring the almond milk to a gentle boil. As soon as it boils, pour it over the poppy seeds and cover the bowl with an upside down large plate. Set aside for 15 minutes for the poppy seeds to soften.
  3. Mix in the coconut oil (it should melt right in), coconut cream, sugar (I ground it up a little bit too), cinnamon, vanilla, chopped raisins, nuts, candied orange and ground up chia (or flax) seeds. Mix everything really well and set aside in the fridge, to thicken.

DOUGH

  1. Place the sifted flour, yeast, turmeric, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  2. Add the lukewarm plant milk and mix it into the dry ingredients with a spoon.
  3. Next, mix in the melted (but not hot) coconut oil.
  4. Once a rough dough forms, knead it for 10 minutes like you would knead bread. Initially, the dough may appear too oily, but soon enough the excess oil will get absorbed by the flour and the dough will become easier to handle. Sprinkle the kneading surface with a little more flour if it’s too sticky.
  5. Once you are done kneading and the dough is elastic and smooth, place it in a bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel. Set aside in a warm place for 1.5-2 hrs, until it doubles in size.
  6. Just before you are ready to roll out your dough, heat up the oven to 180° C / 355° F.
  7. Once the dough has doubled in size, roll the dough out into a large, 3 mm thick rectangle.
  8. Spread the filling on the surface of the rolled out dough leaving a 2 cm margin on all sides.
  9. Roll the dough up into a log and then wrap it in a long (it should be long enough to go around the log twice) strip of baking paper, leaving an index finger wide gap between the log and the paper so that the cake is able to rise a little.
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut the baking paper off and allow the log to cool off.
  11. Apply the icing to the warm (but not hot) cake and decorate with poppy seeds.

ICING

  1. Whisk the icing sugar and a small amount of water in a medium size bowl until fully combined. Adjust the amount of water to achieve a consistency you like.

NOTES
*If using meat grinder, pour boiling almond milk over the poppy seeds first, set aside to soften and then grind finely.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
274
14%
sugars
17 g
19%
fats
14 g
19%
saturates
4 g
20%
proteins
6 g
12%
carbs
35 g
13%
*per serving
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5.0
13 reviews, 45 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Reka:
Hi Ania!
I have only active dry yeast. Would the recipe work if I let it activate as usually and then mix it with the dry ingredients?
Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yes, sure!
Adri:
Hi, can I make this as a nut roll instead of poppyseed? If so what changes would you recommend if any? Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Adri,
    I have not tried so it's hard for me to be 100% sure but it may be a good idea to make a light caramel from the sugar and vegan butter (use 4 tbsp perhaps and skip coconut cream) to hold the nuts together well or else you may end up with a crumbly filling. You may also need to use less plant milk, but you'll need to go by feel. Good luck! x Ania
JANE:
Weird question. I make this roll quite regularly - it is AMAZING. BUT......can you freeze it? I just went crazy and made this and some choc cookies kind if forgetting that my hungry (and skinny) daughter isn't here anymore! I really shouldn't be eating sweet treats at all and as it's just me and husband at home......well, we are now over-supplied with goodies! What do you think? :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Jane,
    I'm very happy to hear that you've made this cake several times and enjoyed it, thank you for letting me know. I'll be honest, I have not personally tried freezing it but I don't see why it would not work. I would recommend perhaps slicing it and separating individual slices with some baking paper so that you can defrost a slice here and there when a sudden hankering strikes you :) x Ania
Taylor:
Tastes so similar to how my Oma used to make!
Delicious recipe :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, I'm so happy to hear that it brought back some happy food memories for you! x Ania
celine:
Incredible! I ground the poppy seeds in my high speed blender and then added the almond milk and blended a bit more before allowing it to sit. It worked out very well.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Celine! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed this dessert! And I love your trick of using a high speed blender to grind those pesky poppy seeds!! Ania
Stephanie:
Yum! I didn't have baking paper so mine wasn't as pretty as the photos, but that didn't effect the great taste! I also didn't have coconut cream so I used almond butter so I still had a fatty ingredient, and it seemed to work just fine! So my point is, the recipe is wonderful even if you have to change a few minor things. I look forward to making it again. 🤗🥰
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much for your kind words, Stephanie! I'm delighted that you enjoyed it and plan to make again. x Ania
Annakat:
Hi,
I am hoping to try this recipe this week. I was wondering if any oil can be used for the dough in place of coconut oil?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Annakat,
    Traditionally, butter is used in this kind of recipe to enrich the dough, which is why I opted for odourless coconut oil - it has similar consistency. I would say that vegan 'butter' would be my second choice, but liquid oil should work ok too. Hope it works out well. Ania
Lydia:
Going to make this for Christmas this year! Do you think it would work with whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour, or oat flour?
Also, is instant yeast the same as fast action yeast (found in sachets)?
Thanks.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Lydia,
    No, I have not tested it with any other flour, I'm afraid. I don't think that a non-gluten (oat, buckwheat) flour would work on its own, you would need to change the recipe to compensate for the lack of gluten and even then I am not sure how it would fare. You could do add some whole wheat flour, but it's coarse and not that pleasant to eat, especially when it comes to cakes. It's more suitable for breads in general. No, they are not the same. Fast action yeast requires prior activation and instant yeast can be added to the flour directly as is, they both come in sachets. Hope this helps! Ania
      Lydia:
      Bit of a delayed update, but I did end up making it and from what I can remember I used half whole wheat flour and half white flour and it turned out fine! I think I rolled the dough a bit too thin so it cracked and splodged out a bit in the oven, but it turned out better than I expected and it was delicious. I did use "fast action yeast" that come in sachets. I think it's the same as what you were referring to, it just seems to have different names depending on who you ask.
      Just so I don't mess up - because I've forgotten what I used last year - is coconut cream the solid stuff from a can of coconut milk?
      Thanks for the awesome recipe.
        Ania
        Ania:
        Great to hear, Lydia. If it split, it is likely to the paper wrapped around it was a bit too tight - make sure there is enough room for a finger (this will allow the dough to rise in the oven). Yes, I know what you mean the naming of different types of yeast is sooooo inconsistent and confusing, I got caught out by it myself a few times...You want the solid stuff! x Ania
Michelle:
Hi Ania,
Could this be baked in a loaf pan instead of using the parchment paper? Is the paper used to keep it in the log shape, or to keep it from browning too early?
Thanks,
Michelle
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Michelle,
    The paper is designed to make it keep its shape mainly. I feel that if you were to do that (skip the paper and place it in the tin directly), the cake might mould to the shape of the tin. I wouldn't personally take that risk but if you are feeling brave, why not. It could be fine. Hope this helps! Ania
Elza:
I also find it unclear what exactly needs to be done with the parchment paper. How do you wrap it exactly? Do the ends need to be covered, too? Is it wrapped tightly apart from the very top of the log?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Elza,
    The parchment paper needs to be simply rolled around the cake (with a little slack) so that the cake keeps its shape during baking. The ends do not need to be wrapped but it is good if the paper is the width of the cake so that the entire cake browns at the same rate, if you leave the ends out they may brown a little quicker. So basically wrap it around and before you seal the paper make sure you can fit your index finger between the cake and the paper - that's the slack needed for the cake to rise. Hope this helps! Ania
Dough:
Thanks for this recipe!
I have Hungarian and Serbian roots, and I was introduced to all sort of savoury dishes when I was a kid. However, for some reasons sweets weren't passed on. But I did discover poppy-based pastries on trips to Hungary and Czechia and my mind was blown! Thanks for allowing me to recreate this one. I tweaked the filling a bit and used olive oil instead of coconut for the dough and it all came pretty nicely; it's been dubbed "the most Austrian sweet that they've had in a long time" by an expatriate Austrian ;)
The quantity of dough seemed a bit off compared to the filling, I followed the recipe instead of my instinct but I couldn't put everything inside (had to eat the remaining filling straight from the bowl, he he) and it was nowhere near 3-mm thick. I'll probably double it next time (and use it for other purposes, it's a really nice dough!).
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed it, Dough, and that it brought back some happy food memories. As for the filling to dough ratio, that's completely down to preference. As I am greedy by nature, I love a lot of filling and not that much dough, but some people prefer the other way round. Perhaps worth doubling the amount of dough if you would rather there was more of it. Ania
Lydia D.:
My parents are Croatian, and my mother used to make poppy seed roll at Christmas. She hasn't made this for so many years, and I miss these types of desserts around the holidays. I'm so happy to find this recipe and can't wait to try it! I am going to try using dates to sweeten the filling instead of sugar. I think the texture and sweetness of dates would complement poppy seeds really well. Also, I just looked up poppy seeds on cronometer, and they are very high in calcium, so that's and extra bonus!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Lydia. Dates sound like a perfect way to sweeten the filling without using sugar. I hope you'll enjoy this recipe and that it will bring back happy memories. Ania
Liz:
EXCELLENT RECIPE! I have made this twice. I have been missing poppyseed roll so much and now I can have it again. Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Liz! That's fantastic to hear and thanks so much for taking the time to let me know that you enjoyed it so much! Ania
Bungo:
Absolutely delicious! I did swap the candied orange for fresh lemon zest, and it still worked a treat.
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's great to hear and thank you for letting me and my readers know that you enjoyed it - much appreciated. x Ania
Allison Smith:
I do love the poppy seed roll / cake and was able to buy it at the Preston Market from a stall that sold coffee and other Italian biscuits, cakes etc. The stall bought these rolls in from another pastry cook, who retired at the age of 80, so hence you cannot buy them anymore. I do love the walnut version, my Slovenian mother in law made them at Christmas and I wish I could have been with her when she made them, so I could make them myself, Is there any chance that you could do a vegan version of the walnut roll?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Allison,
    Thanks for your comments, it sounds delicious although I am not as familiar with it as I am with poppy seed one (had it only once or twice). I will put it on my list for next year. Ania
Sirma:
I'm super excited to make this! I'm just confused about the baking in paper part. Do you put the roll into some sort of pan after you roll it in the baking paper?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Sirma,
    I'm glad to hear that you are planning to make this and I hope you'll enjoy it! No, the paper is to keep the roll neat and stop it from splitting. I bake it on a baking tray after the paper is in place. Hope that helps! Ania
Allison Smith:
My partners mother and stepmother (both Slovenian) made a version of this using walnuts, any chance that you could do a recipe for this too?
    Ania
    Ania:
    I must admit that I have never heard of a walnut version, but it sounds equally (if not more) delicious. I love walnuts. I might give it a crack in the autumn/winter as it feels like that kind of recipe. Ania
Dani:
I bought a new packet of the yeast you specified so I really don’t know what happened! 😩
    Ania
    Ania:
    Me neither...
Dani:
Made this for Christmas. The filling was amazing but my dough didn’t rise. But it still tasted wonderful..Any suggestions for making the dough rise. I live in a hot country so there is no problem with getting enough warmth for the dough to rise.?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Dani,
    Hmmm, not sure. Is it possible that your yeast may be quite old? Or the wrong type maybe? The one that requires activation first, for example. I am so glad it was still tasty despite the issues with your dough. x Ania
Helen:
Hello! Have you ever tried using a high powered blender such as Vitamix for the poppy seed grinding? I wondered if the quantity was too small - or maybe soften in the plant milk then blend? Thanks
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Helen,
    I have not tried as I don't have a blender like that, unfortunately so I'm not 100 % sure how well it would work. I imagine that you would need to soak the poppy seeds in warm milk / water first, blend and then drain excess moisture using a cloth. Good luck! I hope it will work out well. Ania
Emily Thornberg:
This thing is seriously SOO delicious. Was one of the tougher things I’ve ever baked (never done the kneading process before) but nevertheless my husband and I can’t get enough it. Going to keep making it over and over. Thank you for this recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that, Emily! And thanks so much for taking the time to leave us such a lovely comment and rating, it helps a lot and we appreciate it! Ania
Cristin:
Do you think spelt flour would work?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Cristin,
    I'm not sure as I have never used it, but from what I've read it is a bit tricky when it comes to getting the kneading right so you may want to read up on that before deciding. Ania
Zsuzsanna Snarey:
I also make this traditional Hungarian delicacy without the icing on Roland a walnut filled roll too. I am lucky to have a poppyseed grinder but there is ground poppyseeds in my local Hungarian shop called Paprika in Beeston Nottingham. There are branches in London Scotland and Ireland.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks for sharing, Zsuzsanna!
Lidiya:
Can this be made gluten free?
    Ania
    Ania:
    If you can find a good GF yeast cake recipe then sure, but I haven't tried making it (or any other yeast cake for that matter) gluten-free. Ania
Fabian:
Just made a Hungarian-Australian guys day : D
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yay! That's awesome to hear, Fabian! Hope you'll enjoy it! Ania
Jane:
Used to buy this from a Polish bakery in Leeds, UK, (1980s) then from a Russian bakery in St Kilda, Australia, (1990s). Haven't had it in years so am about to bring the memories rolling back when I make this!! Thanks!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's fabulous! I'm so delighted to hear that and I hope you'll enjoy my version! x Ania
Ola:
Cześć Aniu, czy mielić na sucho? Moje ulubione ciasto, nigdy nie robiłam w wersji vegan, więc nie moge się doczekać jak wyjdzie.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Cześć Ola,
    Oj, chyba kiepsko to wyjaśniłam (zaraz poprawię). Na sucho jeśli tak jak ja mielisz w młynku do kawy bo inaczej się zepsuje, ale jeśli masz maszynkę do mięsa to mak zaparz najpierw a potem zmiel. Mam nadzieję, że zasmakuje Ci moja wersja! Ania
Mary:
You just made this Polish-American girl’s day! Can’t wait to try it.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks, Mary! I'm so pleased to hear that as I was worried that not many people grew up on poppy seed roll at Xmas :) Ania
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