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+ servings
Slice of almond poppy seed cake.

High Altitude Almond Poppy Seed Cake

Heather Smoke
Three layers of soft, light and fluffy almond poppy seed cake, frosted with almond buttercream.

All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet.

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • Stand Mixer with Paddle Attachment



  • 3 ¼ cups cake flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 ½ cups whole buttermilk, lukewarm
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 2 large egg whites only
  • 2-3 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp meringue powder
  • ¼ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tbsp whole milk, if needed
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds



  • Preheat the oven to 350F, and grease the bottoms of three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the poppy seeds.
  • Separately, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, oil, eggs, egg whites, almond extract and vanilla extract.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and whisk until combined and smooth, about 10-15 seconds. Divide the batter evenly between the greased pans. Tap the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles in the cake batter.
  • Bake the cakes on the center oven rack until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, and the tops spring back when lightly touched, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Set the pans on a cooling rack, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and cool completely before frosting.


  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute.
  • Separately, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder and salt. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar mixture by spoonfuls, mixing just until combined, but clumpy.
  • Add the extracts. Increase the speed to medium, and whip the buttercream for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl several times. Add the milk only if needed for desired consistency.
    Turn the speed down to low, add the poppy seeds, and mix for 1 minute to pop any large air bubbles.
  • If the cakes are domed on top, carefully slice off a thin layer of cake with a sharp non-serrated knife to level the cakes before frosting them.
  • Stack, fill and frost the cooled cakes with the buttercream. I always recommend spreading on a thin crumb coat of buttercream and chilling the cake for 20-30 minutes, before frosting the cake with the final coat of buttercream.


Leftover cake should be stored in an airtight container or cake carrier at room temperature for up to 3 days.
For those of you that have made and loved my original recipe, please click here.
Keyword Almond, Cake, High Altitude, Poppy Seed
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