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overhead image of almond poppy seed tea cakes on a cake stand

Almond Poppy Seed Tea Cakes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 10 reviews
  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 tea cakes
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These almond poppy seed tea cakes are buttery and light with a crunchy crackly exterior. Baked in a muffin pan, the delicate tea cakes are simple, but they taste fancy and are perfect for a tea party.


Prepare Pan

  • 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon (12g) granulated sugar


  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60gsour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract

Almond Icing

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons lemon juice or milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • optional: sliced almonds for garnish


  1. To prepare the pan: Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Whisk melted butter and 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar together. Using a pastry brush, brush it into each cup of a 12-count muffin pan. This creates the wonderfully crisp exterior that makes these tea cakes so special.
  2. Make the cakes: Whisk the flour, poppy seeds, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. The mixture may look curdled; that’s ok. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients until combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly into each prepared cup (about halfway full).
  5. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The tea cakes may have tall bumps in the very center. Remove cakes from the oven and immediately invert the pan to release the cakes. They won’t sit flat because of the bumps, but that’s what makes them so charming! Let the cakes cool, bottom side up, for at least 10 minutes before drizzling with icing.
  6. Make the icing: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or milk, and almond extract together until smooth. Add another Tablespoon of lemon juice or milk to thin out if needed. Drizzle over cakes before serving. If desired, garnish with sliced almonds.
  7. Cover and store leftover tea cakes at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Bake the tea cakes 1-2 days ahead of time. Cover tightly and store at room temperature before drizzling with icing and serving. Baked and cooled tea cakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight on the counter before drizzling with icing and serving.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): 12-count Muffin Pan | Pastry Brush | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Cooling Rack
  3. Why is Everything at Room Temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Here’s more information about the importance of room temperature ingredients.
  4. Mini Tea Cakes baked in a 24-count mini muffin pan, follow the recipe as instructed, brush the pan with the melted butter + sugar mixture, fill each halfway with batter, and bake for around 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and invert the pan as instructed in step 5. Recipe yields around 30-32 miniature tea cakes.
  5. Adapted from The Perfect Cake by America’s Test Kitchen.