skip to Main Content

Poppy seed buckwheat cake with fresh red currants for my 30th birthday

Today is my birthday. Today I am 30 years old! I told you last year, and I’ll repeat it: my birthday is one of my favorite days throughout the year, along with Christmas. Those blessed five minutes I spent under the sheets before getting up are full of expectations, of a rarefied happiness that makes me feel slightly different and special all day long. Today is special for another reason, too.

When I turned 28, more than one person told me, with a worried yet enthusiastic look, that I was entering into the Saturn Return. Astrologers believe that when Saturn returns to the point where it was when you were born, you cross a major threshold and enter the next stage of your life.

Since Saturn is the planet that represents the time, the responsibility, the inner strength that helps you achieve your goals, those ranging from 28 to 30 are two years in which you cut dead branches and leave behind heavy burdens, but in the meantime you reconfirm the values you believe in and the important people in your life. These are the years when you have to make choices, and you finally realize that these choices, for the first time, depend only on you, not on your parents or on social conventions.

And so today I put ideally a full stop after two intense, sometimes tiring but always interesting and challenging years. From now on, I start a new journey, with a little more awareness of my goals, my dreams, who to consider a friend, who to rely on… and mostly who I am.

My birthday cake is affected by these changes as well. I sat at the kitchen table, with some trusted good books you know you can count on in the important moments, a squared notebook and a pencil, and I started thinking about what I wanted for my special day, because there is no doubt that my 30th birthday cake will be remembered for a long time.

I indulged in my last preference: I usually feel like a cake that is not too sugary, which has a rustic and natural flavour, made with an interesting flour. I like simple cakes, simple to make and simple to taste, with no complications, something that makes you feel good, with seasonal fruit to give freshness. I believe this is a kind of cake very similar to me, now.

So, this is the recipe, described picture by picture …

… and now, the real recipe! Enjoy it!


My 30th birthday cake, recipe adapted from 1-2-3 poppy-seed cake, from Nicole’s Delicious days book.


  • 250 g soft butter (plus a bit more for the pan)
  • 5 room temperature medium or large organic eggs
  • 200 g of caster sugar
  • 100 g of fresh cream
  • grated zest of 1 organic lemon
  • scraped seed of 1 vanilla pod
  • 100 g of ground poppy seeds
  • 200 g of buckwheat flour (plus a bit more for the pan)
  • 2 tablespoons of baking powder

Ingredients to make the butter cream filling:

  • 100 g of butter
  • 175 g of icing sugar
  • grated zest of 1/2 organic lemon
  • a few tablespoons of cherry/strawberry/wild berries syrup

To decorate:

  • icing sugar for dusting
  • 200 g of fresh red currants


  1. All the ingredients should be at room temperature for optimal baking results, so be sure to take the butter, eggs and cream out of the refrigerator ahead of time.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C and brush a 18 cm round pan with butter and dust evenly with the flour.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy with the whisk of the hand mixer.
  4. Add gradually the eggs while mixing continuously.
  5. Wash the lemon with hot water and grate the zest on a fine grater directly into the bowl. Add the scraped seeds of one vanilla pod.
  6. Whisk in the fresh cream and the poppy seeds.
  7. Stir in the buckwheat flour and the baking powder.
  8. Scrape the batter into the pan and bake in the oven for 45 – 50 minutes.
  9. Take the cake out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then turn the pan onto a wire rack and remove it. Let it cool completely.
  10. To make the filling, whip the butter at room temperature with the icing sugar, the grated zest of half of an organic lemon and a few tablespoons of your favourite berry syrup.
  11. When the cake is completely cold, slice it horizontally and spread half of the cake it with the butter cream, sprinkle with half of the red currants and top it again with the second half of the cake.
  12. Dust with icing sugar and decorate with fresh red currants. Let it set at least half an hour in the refrigerator before serving it.

Sharing is caring:

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Happy Birthday Juls! Hope your next journeys/cycle are all that you wish for and more. And thank you for all the insight, good food, stunning photos, and great writing that you share.

    All the best,

  2. Auguri! (Is that right?) This looks like a fantastic cake–some rustic flavors with the buckwheat, sweet but not too much so, and lovely lovely currants. Enjoy!

  3. Happy happy Birthday. The cake looks awesome. This years it is also my turn to become 30, in Oktober. Hope you spend a great day.

  4. Love the idea of nutty tasting buckwheat in a cake like this. And happy, happy, happy birthday to you. What a great and delicious way to celebrate such a monumental day.

  5. Happy Birthday and best wishes for this most interesting new stage in your life … your buckwheat birthday cake looks delizioso … savor both with gusto :p

  6. Juls, happy B! I wish you all the best, I wish all of your dreams to come true! Interesting theory about the age of 28-30, didn’t know about that. There is definitely something about it.
    I love buckwheat flour in cakes. This cake is magnificent, looks a bit rustic and really tasty and interesting.

  7. What a wonderfully delicious and earthy looking cake. I love the simplicity. I will look forward to hearing about your travels through Europe. Happy Birthday to you!

  8. Grazie Giulia per la ricetta! L’ho appena fatta – anche se ho messo meno semi – ed era buonissima!!!! Quasi finita!

  9. I made this cake yesterday, in order to use up some leftover poppy seeds, and it was very tasty. But how did you fit the batter into an 18 cm cake tin? I used a 20 cm one, and a big chunk of batter bubbled over the side of the tin when it was baking!

    1. probably mine was taller, I baked this cake 9 years ago and from what I can remember I did not have problems with the batter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back To Top