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Almond Joy Cake

Rich chocolate almond cake layers with a coconut buttercream, toasted coconut and almond filling and chocolate ganache.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 18 minutes
Author Courtney Rich

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE

  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder or similar good quality dark chocolate powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • 3 large or extra large eggs room temperature
  • cup  buttermilk room temperature
  • cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • 2 cups unsalted butter slightly chilled
  • 1/4 cup cream of coconut
  • 6 cups confectioner's sugar sifted
  • 4 teaspoons coconut emulsion
  • Pinch of salt

FOR THE TOASTED COCONUT AND ALMOND FILLING (adapted from Milk Bar)

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 7 tablespoons  light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup toasted sweetened coconut 
  • 1 cup toasted slivered or chopped almonds

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

FOR THE CHOCOLATE DRIP

  • 1/2 cup chocolate ganache recipe above
  • 1/4-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
US Customary - Metric

Instructions

FOR THE CAKE

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8” round cake pans by spraying each with nonstick spraying, lining the bottom with parchment and spraying again. Set aside. 
  2. In a bowl of electric mixer, combine all the dry ingredients.
  3. Combine eggs, buttermilk, water, oil and almond extract in a measuring cup and lightly beat with a fork.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Batter will be thin. Scrape sides and mix for another 30 seconds. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans (I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure the batter is evenly distributed - you'll get about 15 to 16 ounces of batter in each of the 8-inch pans).
  5. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes (you may need more time depending on your oven), until toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it. Cool on wire racks for 10-15 minutes, then gently invert onto racks until cooled completely.
  6. When cakes are completely cooled, level them if needed.
  7. I like to wrap each cake layer individually with plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer until I’m ready to frost. The cake will be easier to work with if it’s cooled a bit. 

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and coconut cream. Beat on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, followed by the emulsion and salt.
  3. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Use a wooden spoon to stir out air bubbles.

FOR THE FILLING

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13" with with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, and salt. Mix on low speed until evenly blended.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add the melted butter and stir for one minute until all the dry ingredients are wet.
  4. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low speed for about one minute, until any of the white streaks from the cream have completely blended into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg yolks, stirring them into the mixture until combined. Be careful not to over beat (aerate) the mixture, but certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous.
  6. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. You want the filling to be firmer and more set toward the outer edges of the baking pan but slightly jiggly and loose in the center. If the filling is still jiggly all over, give it another 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Let the filling cool slightly and add the toasted coconut and toasted almonds. The filling can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

FOR THE GANACHE

  1. Heat the cream in a microwave safe bowl for about 1 minute. 
  2. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Let cool slightly before using in the cake. 

FOR THE DRIP

  1. Heat the remaining chocolate ganache for about 30 seconds. Add additional 1/4-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream to make the ganache thinner and easily pourable out of a drip bottle. 

ASSEMBLY

  1. On a cake board, spread a dollop of frosting to act as "glue" to the cake. Place the first cake layer, top side up, on the center of the cake board. You will have a little edge of the cake board showing around the cake.
  2. Spread about 3/4 cup of the coconut buttercream over the cake layer, followed by about 1 cup of the coconut and almond filling. Drizzle with chocolate ganache.
  3. Place the second cake layer, top side up, on the fillings and repeat step 2.
  4. Place the final cake layer, top side down, on the second layer of fillings. Apply a thin coat of coconut buttercream around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Place the cake in your freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to set the frosting.
  5. Remove the cake from the freezer and continue to frost the cake with the remainder of the frosting.
  6. If you want to pipe swirls or any decorate design on the cake, I suggest adding another quarter or half recipe of the coconut buttercream.
  7. Use the chocolate drip recipe to "drip" the chocolate along the sides of the cake (as shown in the video above).