This Toasted Almond Cake has spongy and incredibly soft cake layers that are sandwiched between thick, almond pastry cream, then covered with a rich almond frosting. Toasted almonds are gently pressed into the frosting to create an epic cake that everyone will love.
Photos and post updated June 2020I don’t even know where to start with this toasted almond cake. It is a cake of epic proportions. It’s wonderfully rich with the lightest cake layers around. Rich almond pastry cream is a beautiful yellow, thanks to egg yolks, and slathered between the cake layers. The outside is a rich, buttery frosting that has a little bit of almond cream mixed into it before slathering the outside of the cake. Toasted, sweetened almonds are gently pressed into the frosting to create a beautiful layer cake. Also, the almonds double as a great cover for any frosting mishaps.
It’s rich, it’s fabulous and it’s well worth the time. Make the cake layers, almond pastry cream and the almonds the day before Then, finish the cake the next day by making the frosting and assembling. Breaking up the process will definitely make it less daunting. Trust me, you’ll love it.
What you’ll need to make the toasted almond cake
- eggs- egg yolks and whole eggs
- granulated sugar all purpose flour
- heavy cream
- baking powder
- almond extract
- vanilla extract
- whole milk
- sliced almonds
- confectioners’ sugar
Let’s make it!Set some time aside, because it takes a bit to make all the components. First, start with making the pastry cream. Whisk those beautiful egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch in a pot. Then, bring the milk nearly to a boil and pour a little into the egg yolks. Whisk to temper the eggs, then pour in the remaining hot milk. Place the mixture over medium heat and whisk until nice and thick, just a few minutes. Let it cool for a couple of minutes, then whisk in the butter until smooth. Set in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow it to chill.
Next, make the cake layers. Beat the eggs for a minute or two, until they are light colored. Then, beat in the sugar until the mixture is thick and a pale yellow. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the eggs and sugar and mix until combined. In a small saucepan, melt the butter in the milk, then mix into the cake batter. Last, mix in the almond and vanilla extract. Pour into two greased and floured cake pans and bake until they are springy to the touch. Let cool completely.After the pastry cream and cake are done, toast the almonds. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Stir in the almonds until lightly brown. Then, stir in the sugar and continue to cook until slightly caramelized. Spread out on to a baking sheet to allow them to cool.
Don’t forget the filling and frosting!
The filling and frosting go hand in hand since they both involve the pastry cream. To make the frosting, beat the butter until smooth. Then, mix in 1 cup of the pastry cream until smooth again. Mix in the amaretto and a splash of heavy cream and mix again until smooth and creamy.To make the filling, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold or whisk into the pastry cream with the almond extract. Simple and fabulous.
Let’s assemble the toasted almond cake
Grab those cooled cake layers and slice them in half horizontally. Slather a third of the filling over the one layer, then top with a sliced cake layer. Repeat process with each layer, leaving the top layer clean. Spread the frosting over the whole cake, covering the sides and top. Gently press the toasted almonds over the entire cake so they adhere to the frosting. Sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar and serve!
Notes & tidbits
If you are hard pressed for time, make the pastry cream and cake layers the day before. Just wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator over night.
Other recipes you’ll love
Recipe adapted from Cooks Country Magazine, September 2015
For the pastry cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature cut into small pieces
For the cake
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the almonds
- 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
For the frosting
- 16 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup pastry cream
- 2 Tablespoons amaretto
- splash of heavy cream
For the filling
- remaining pastry cream
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped into peaks
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- To make the pastry cream, pour the milk into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. In a separate heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until well combined. Very slowly, whisk in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the eggs to temper the eggs so they won’t curdle. Whisk in the remaining milk. Place the saucepan over medium heat and whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is thick and the whisk leaves streaks through it. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla extract and almond extract, then let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in a few pieces of butter at a time until fully incorporated.
- Scrape the pastry cream into a bowl and press plastic wrap over the cream to prevent any skin from forming. Place in the refrigerator until completely cooled 2-3 hours. (Alternatively, you can chill it by creating an ice bath- place cold water and ice cubes in a large bowl. Place the bowl the pastry cream is in, in the larger bowl with the ice. Whisk every 10 minutes or so, and add more ice to the larger bowl until chilled.)
- For the cake, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans, knocking out excess flour. Making sure you grease the pans really well.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs until light and light colored. Add sugar and continue beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. On low speed, slowly add the flour to the egg and sugar mixture and beat until smooth. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter, bringing it almost to a boil, stirring all the while. Beat the milk into the batter. Stir in the vanilla.
- Pour into greased cake pans, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool for 10-15 minutes then turn them out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before assembling.
- For the almonds, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper and set aside. In a large skillet, melt the 1 tablespoon butter. Stir in the almonds and cook until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the granulated sugar and continue to cook until caramelized the nuts are a deep golden brown, another 3 minutes. Transfer the nuts to the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Let cool completely before using.
- For the frosting, transfer 1 cup of the pastry cream into a small bowl and let come to room temperature. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and light, about 3 minutes. Mix in the pastry cream in three separate additions, beating well after each addition. Mix in the amaretto and a splash of heavy cream, and continue to beat until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes longer. Set aside until ready to use.
- For the filling, fold the whipped cream and almond extract into the remaining pastry cream.
- To assemble the cake, slice the two cake rounds in half horizontally. Spread filling over the cake layers, excluding the very top layer. Stack the cakes one on top of each other. Spread frosting in an even layer over the top and sides of the cake. Gently press the toasted almonds into the frosting all over the cake. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar and serve.
* I made the pastry cream and cake the day before. I just wrapped the cake rounds in plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature before assembling.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 748
All nutritional information is an estimate.