burnt almond cake

DSCF1732I tried my hand at a burnt almond cake! The one from La Patisserie is soooo good. Best birthday cake(s) ever, highly recommend. But after a few tries (and no complaints from Stanley) I think I’ve found a reasonable #homemade alternative.

Recipe:
makes one 6″ 3-layer cake or 12 cupcakes or one 9″x12″ 2-layer cake
takes about 6 hours
serves 4-6
You need:
2 large bowls and 4 small bowls
liquid measuring cup
small saucepan
3x 6″ layer cake pans
Whisks, spatulas
Cake:
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 3/8 c all-purpose flour, loose
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp almond extract
2 large egg whites
Optional: 2 Tbsp simple sugar
Almond pastry cream:
2 large egg yolks (+ 1 small whole egg, if you have one)
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 c milk
1/2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 Tbsp cold water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 c heavy cream
3 Tbsp powdered sugar (optional)
Toasted almonds:
1 c sliced almonds
2 Tbsp very hot water
3 Tbsp granulated sugar, white or brown, separated into 2 + 1 Tbsp

DSCF1729Cake: 1-2 hours

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Separate egg whites from yolks. Set aside yolks for pastry cream.

In a large bowl, cream together 6 Tbsp butter and 3/4 c sugar until fluffy. In a separate small bowl, mix together dry ingredients: 1 3/8 c flour, 2 Tbsp corn starch, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. In another bowl or measuring cup, mix together wet ingredients: 1/2 c milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 3/4 tsp almond extract. In a third bowl, whip 2 egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Alternate mixing dry and wet ingredients into the buttercream, 1/3 portion at a time. End by mixing in your last third dry ingredients – do not overmix. Lastly, fold in egg whites until just combined. Scoop batter evenly into three 6″ layer cake pans, then bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (While baking, make the pastry cream.)

Let cool completely before frosting. Consider making cake a day in advance, and when cooled, wrap well with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

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Pastry cream: 5-6 hours

Mix 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin and 1 Tbsp water and let sit for 3 minutes. Then, microwave for 15 seconds to melt the gelatin. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix 2 egg yolks, 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch and 1/4 c sugar. Mix in an additional small egg if you have one, other wise skip it. The additional egg will keep the pastry cream more firm, making it easier to frost later, but it’s not necessary.

In a sauce pan, heat 1 c milk over low heat until barely bubbling. Slowly pour about half of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream while whisking continuously. After you’ve introduced the milk to the egg yolk mixture, slowly pour the yellow mixture back into the saucepan while whisking continuously. Continue mixing in the saucepan, scraping the bottom of the pan as well, until mixture begins to bubble again, then remove from heat.

Mix in gelatin gel, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp almond extract and 1 Tbsp butter. If mixture is chunky, press through a strainer into a bowl. Otherwise, directly transfer the pastry cream to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto the pastry cream, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When ready to frost your cake, whip 1/2 c heavy cream and optional 3 Tbsp powdered sugar into stiff peaks. Fold into pastry cream.

DSCF1725Toasted almonds: under 30 minutes (updated 5/1/2016)

Preheat the oven to 375 deg F. Heat 4 Tbsp water in the microwave until very hot, mix in 4 Tbsp granulated sugar. Stir until fully melted, making simple syrup. Place a silpat or parchment paper on a baking sheet, then spread half the syrup on the sheet. Sprinkle 1 c almond slices on the sheet in a thin layer, then pour the remaining syrup on the almonds. Lastly, sprinkle 1 Tbsp granulated sugar on the almonds. Bake for about 10 minutes, until almonds begin to color but do not burn. Let cool for a few minutes before separating brittle into rough chunks (I slid a silicone spatula under the nuts a few times lengthwise), cool fully before releasing from the pan and storing in an airtight container.

Putting it all together! 1-2 hours

Flatten cake layers by cutting off excess cake domes. Place your first cake layer, then about 1/4 of your frosting. Spread all the way to the edges and repeat for next two layers. After 3 layers are placed, frost the rest of the cake. Frosting doesn’t need to be too even because it’ll be covered in almonds anyway 🙂 Sprinkle toasted almonds on the cake’s outer walls by “throwing” them onto the edges while holding the cake slightly tilted. Cover the top with toasted almonds as well. Then cut the cake, serve, and eat.

Refrigerate if not serving immediately. Otherwise, take it out of the fridge 1-2 hours before serving to allow to come to room temperature (to soften the cake).

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