Light and airy Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake is all dressed up with a frosty white icing glaze and a sprinkling of sliced almonds.
If you are looking for a dessert that will wow guests, you can't go wrong with this Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake. Super easy to make, it bakes up tall and gorgeous and is crowned with a very simple glaze and sliced almonds.
It is a perfect dessert for parties and special occasions!
Why This Recipe Works
An angel food cake is the lightest cake. It is totally fat-free and has a fine, light crumb. When I think about the mechanics of making an angel food cake, I often think of it as being like a soufflé.
I once read that a soufflé is a sauce that has taken a deep breath of air. In a way, this is also true of an angel food cake. But instead of being a sauce taking that deep breath of air, it is a flavored meringue with cake flour added, that takes a deep breath.
There is no baking powder or soda in this cake and it is leavened only by egg whites, which is why the crumb is so light and fine.
Often maligned as "too plain" and "too boring" the Angel Food Cake is the perfect backdrop for sweet fruit sauces, chocolate sauces, sherbets, and just about any sweet topping you can imagine.
Now, I don't know about you, but sometimes when I'm planning a get-together for friends or a holiday celebration, I become pressed for time. Luckily, this cake uses a box cake mix to get its start, and actually, the box mixes for angel food cake are very good. I add almond and vanilla extracts for extra flavor, and lots and lots of poppy seeds.
Vanilla plus almond is one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations. So, in addition to the vanilla flavor of a basic angel food cake, I've added almond extract to the cake and the glaze to make this cake taste extra-special good.
After the cake is baked and cooled I drizzle this cake with a simple white glaze and sprinkle the top with glammed-up sliced almonds.
This cake comes out gorgeous each and every time and looks like I took hours to make it even though it only takes just minutes of hands-on time.
Are you ready to make the easiest party dessert ever? Great!
So, let's cook!
Here's what you need to make this Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake:
- Angel Food Cake Box Mix - Use your favorite box mix for angel food cake. I personally prefer the Betty Crocker brand because it seems to whip up higher and thicker than other brands.
- Almond Extract - Adding a bit of almond extract is a bit of a splurge but super delicious for this cake and its glaze. If you are on a strict budget and don't already have it on hand, you can omit it and still have a delicious cake.
- Vanilla Extract - I like adding vanilla extract to temper the flavor of almond extract. If you have it on hand, add a bit of vanilla extract even if you don't have the almond extract. You will need it for the cake and the glaze.
- Poppy Seeds - Poppy seeds add beautiful visual interest to this cake and are often paired with almonds. I just think they make a pretty cake.
- Confectioner's Sugar - The sweet glaze is made with confectioner's sugar which is not only sweet but quickly makes a smooth glaze.
- Sliced Almonds - Sliced almonds are used to decorate the cake.
- Water - You will need plain tap water both for mixing with the cake mix and also for the glaze.
Please see the recipe card for the exact quantities.
Use a stand or hand mixer to prepare the cake batter according to the directions on the box, except substitute almond extract for part of the water and add poppy seeds.
After spooning the batter into an ungreased 10" tube pan, run a knife through the batter in a circle to release any air pockets.
Bake the cake according to the package directions. The cake is fully baked if the top is golden brown and dry to the touch. You can also insert a cake tester into the center of the cake to insure that it is done.
Upon removing the cake from the oven, immediately hang it upside down using a glass, bottle, or cup. This preserves the rise of the cake and prevents the cake from collapsing.
When the cake is completely cool, run a long serrated knife between the cake and the pan to release the cake from the pan.
Plate the cake and place small pieces of parchment paper under the edge of the cake.
Make the glaze and then drizzle it over the top of the cake, letting the glaze drip down the sides. Sprinkle the top of the cake with sliced almonds. Then, remove the pieces of parchment paper from under the edges of the cake.
How long does it take to make this cake?
This cake is ready for the oven in less than 10 minutes! Yes! Really! Assembling the ingredients, beating up the batter, and putting it into the pan really does take just ten minutes. Plus, you don't have to grease and flour the tube pan!
The icing glaze also comes together very quickly and it only takes a few minutes to sprinkle the almonds over the top of the cake. So you see, the majority of the time is spent baking and cooling the cake.
My Top Tips
♡ Squeaky Clean Bowl and Beaters. The bowl and beaters must be absolutely free of any fat or oils. This allows the mix (or egg whites, if making the cake from scratch) to beat up high and light.
♡ Don't Open the Oven Door. I know you will be tempted to see how the cake is doing as it bakes. But, please, don't open the oven door! Opening the oven door can cause the oven temperature to suddenly drop and the cake might not properly rise. Wait until the minimum baking time has elapsed to take a peek.
♡ Bake Until Completely Done. A brown top that is dry to the touch is a signal that the cake is truly done. Insert a long tooth-pick or cake tester into the cake if you are uncertain if it is done. It should come out without any batter clinging to it (clean and dry).
♡ Cool Upside Down. After the cake is removed from the oven, it needs to be inverted so that the cake hangs upside down as it cools. This keeps the cake from collapsing. You can use a heatproof bottle, glass, or mug. Just make sure the cake is fully suspended and does not touch the counter.
Make the Cake From Scratch - You can also make this cake from scratch using my Angel Food Cake recipe, which is found in the "Angel" column in my Basic Cake Recipes Chart. Simply substitute almond extract for one-half of the vanilla extract and add the poppy seeds. Then make the glaze as listed below in the instructions and finish the cake with sliced almonds.
Extra Beauty with Luster Dust - You can make this cake extra beautiful and festive by using a small amount of pearl white or silver luster dust. Just place the sliced almonds into a plastic sandwich bag with a very small amount of the luster dust, close the bag, and gently shake it to coat the almonds. Now the almonds will have a subtle shimmer that will give your cake a lovely glow.
Make-Ahead & Storage
Angel food cake is best when made and served on the same day. Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
Isn't this a lovely cake? I have to say... lately, it has become my absolutely favorite cake to make and to serve!
More Delicious Cakes
Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake
- 1 Box Angel Food Cake Mix, 16 ounces
- 1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
- 2 Tablespoons Poppy Seed
Glaze & Topping:
- 1 ½ Cups Confectioners’ Sugar, Sifted
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ½ Teaspoon Almond Extract
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- ¼ Cup Sliced Almonds
- Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C.
- Prepare the angel food cake according to the package’s direction, except remove 1 teaspoon of water from the measured water and replace it with 1 teaspoon of almond extract. Add the poppy seeds during the last few seconds of beating the cake mix.1 Box Angel Food Cake Mix, 1 Teaspoon Almond Extract, 2 Tablespoons Poppy Seed
- Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10” x 4” tube pan and run a knife through the batter to disperse air pockets.
- Bake the cake for ⏲️35 to 45 minutes or until the top of the cake is dark brown and dry to the touch.
- Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert it onto a ceramic cup or glass bottle. The cake must hang upside down as it cools for the best texture.
- When the cake has cooled, run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan and around the center hole to help release the cake from the sides of the pan. Remove the cake from the sides of the pan and run a knife between the cake and the bottom of the pan to completely release the cake.
- Set the cake on a serving dish. To help keep the serving dish clean and neat while glazing the cake, place small overlapping pieces of parchment paper just under the outer edges of the cake.
Glaze and Topping:
- Add the confectioners’ sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon almond extract, and 2 tablespoons water to a small bowl. Stir well.1 ½ Cups Confectioners’ Sugar, ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract, ½ Teaspoon Almond Extract, 2 Tablespoons Water
- Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake and sprinkle the top with the sliced almonds.¼ Cup Sliced Almonds
- Remove the pieces of parchment paper and your cake is ready to display!
- Serve and Enjoy!
Encharted Cook Notes
Per 1 serving. All nutritional information on this site is an estimate. Your results may vary.