Almond Lovers Amaretto Poppy Seed Cake

Almond Lovers Amaretto Poppy Seed Cake ~ this is the moist, almondy, coffee cake of your dreams!

Every once in a while I can’t decide what I want to make.  I’ve got too many sticky notes plastering my desk, I’ve bookmarked too many tempting blog posts, there are too many cookbooks lying around with too many little tabs sticking out of their pages, and it overwhelms me.  At times like this the id takes over.  I just make an arbitrary decision.  I want almond poppy seed cake.

But of course no decision is ever arbitrary.  Almonds are up there with lemons and chocolate in my top flavors playbook. And ever since that tangerine cake I’ve been wanting to revisit its moist dense texture loaded with crunchy poppy seeds. Between the almond flour, the paste, the extract and the Amaretto there’s 4 layers of almond flavors here, and I could have made it 5 if I’d thought to sprinkle some nuts on top.

No need to buy a big bottle of Amaretto just for this…those mini bottles are perfect.  And you can pop the other half of the tube of almond paste into the freezer for another use.

Amaretto Poppy Seed Cake

Amaretto Poppy Seed Cake


  • 1 cup (two sticks) room temperature butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 of a 7 oz tube of almond paste, crumbled
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3 Tbsp Amaretto
  • 1 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • milk or cream to thin


  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and almond paste together.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, while beating.
  4. Mix the buttermilk with the almond extract and Amaretto in a measuring cup.
  5. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl with the poppy seeds.
  6. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet to the butter, beating just to combine.
  7. Spoon the batter into a greased tube pan and smooth out the top.
  8. Bake for about 45 - 55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Tube pans vary in capacity and shape, so baking times will vary as well.
  9. Cool completely before glazing.
  10. For the glaze mix the confectioner's sugar with enough milk or cream to thin to a glaze consistency, and add in the extract. You can also use Amaretto to thin the sugar if you prefer. Sprinkle a few poppy seeds or sliced almonds on top if you want to.

Note: This moist cake keeps well but the glaze will not stay smooth and pretty after a day under a cake dome.  If you are serving any kind of glazed cake for company, it’s best to glaze it the same day you’ll be serving it.  I won’t lie, I eat this for breakfast, but if you aren’t up for that, at the very least have a sliver before lunch.


  • Reply
    June 22, 2016 at 4:37 am

    Hi. I don’t think we get almond paste in South Africa? Is there anything that I can use as a substitute or even leave it out? Also, by almond flour do you mean ground almonds? Many thanks. Kim

    • Reply
      June 22, 2016 at 8:28 am

      Almond flour is just ground almonds, or almond meal, so you can make that yourself with plain almonds. And almond paste is a paste of ground almonds, sugar, extract, and egg white. I’ve got a homemade version coming up on the blog soon, but in the meantime you can google a recipe.

  • Reply
    Willow | Will Cook For Friends
    October 2, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Oh my gosh, this cake looks PERFECT! Almond is one of my favorite flavors, too, especially when it comes to baked goods. I can see myself eating this whole thing in one go if I’m not careful!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Just made this and unfortunately it was really disappointing! I’m an experienced baker, I followed ingredients to a T, and it came out flavorless and it was waaaaay too many poppy seeds. I would take it down to just a cup, maybe even less, and add more almond flavoring. Too bad.

    • Reply
      February 22, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      Interesting that you should post this today Liza, because I just finished another recipe that is a variation of this cake. I did reduce the poppy seeds to 3/4 cup, so I think you can definitely reduce them.

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    March 16, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Cyn—it’s about 3.5 ounces for half the tube. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    CYn Rodrigo
    March 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    May I know how many grammes or ounces is 1/2 tube of almond paste please? In Singapore, almond paste is sold in containers by weight. Thank you!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 1:20 am

    This looks absolutely heavenly. Almond and lemon are two of my favorite flavors as well. I know that I would absolutely love this.

    P.S. I have an absurd number of your cake and muffin recipes flagged to try. Next time I actually have a cake to make it’s going to be a total throw-down to see which one is chosen.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    poppy seeds are so fun, and they always make me think of seinfeld and elaine’s ordeal with her drug test, which obviously makes me smile. (if you get the reference, i’m sure you’ll agree!)

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    DROOOL! Sue, your photography keeps getting better and better!!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 11:41 am

    You have no idea how much I LOVVEEE almond poppy seed cake! All things almond, actually. Can’t wait to try this.

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    February 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I love poppy seeds in cake and this looks perfect right down to the icing!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 4:00 am

    YUM!!! I’d love to try one and thank you for sharing. Great post :) xo akiko
    Style Imported

  • Reply
    February 9, 2012 at 2:08 am

    I love baking with almond paste. It really gives the cake a nice flavor!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    i can just taste it from here! perfection!!!

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    February 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    My oh my! My mouth is watering and yep- there goes the drool right now! It reminds me of the best poppy seed bread I have ever had. It looks amazing

  • Reply
    hobby baker
    February 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    That is just beautiful.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    This is pretty much my idea of heaven. I am an almond fiend! I just want to pick up that log of almond paste and take a bite. Seriously. And I think anything studded with poppy seeds has a certain beauty. Love it.

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