Almond Cream Cake
This cake is the perfect balance of moist, dense, and almond. It is so far my favorite cake that I have made.
I'm going to toot my own horn and say this is the best tasting cake I have made so far. Good thing I saved best for a 2 year old's birthday party, right? Nothing says turning two like a pink cat cake though!
What Do You Need?
1 cup butter softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups cake flour spooned & measured carefully
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 egg whites
butter at room temperature (8 tablespoons or 1 stick)
vegetable shortening (1/4 cup)
Cream cheese (2 ounces)
corn syrup (2 tablespoon)*
Almond extract (1 tablespoon)*
Confectioners’ sugar (1 1/4 cups)
kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon)
baking powder (pinch)
Distilled white vinegar (pinch)*
Heavy whipping cream (2-3 tablespoons)*
Where a * is indicated is where I made changes to the recipes.
Lets Start Baking!
1. Preheat your oven. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Take two 9" cake pans and spray them with bakers joy spray. If you are using cake strips, place them on in this step or before your pour the batter into the pans.
2. Whisk your egg whites. In your standing mixer, with the whisk attachment, take your egg whites and whip until they form a meringue. You want to stop when you see soft, firm peaks forming. This will take about 3-5 minutes. Pour into another bowl and then place into the fridge until you are ready to use.
3. Cream your butter. Using your standing mixer, add the softened butter and beat on medium-high until light smooth and fluffy. This will take about 2 minutes.
4. Add sugar. Once, your butter is light, add the granulated sugar and beat for 2-3 more minutes until the butter mixture is combined and fluffy. Set aside.
5. Combine your dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
6. Combine the milk and extract. In another separate bowl, add your milk and almond extract and whisk together. Set aside.
7. Add dry ingredients and milk. Make sure to scrape the sides of your mixing bowl. Add your dry ingredients and the milk mixture to your butter mixture alternating. After you add one component make sure to mix well until fully incorporated and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Continue this until all of your ingredients are added and the batter is mixed well. Your batter will be pretty thick at this step.
8. Fold in the whipped egg whites. Now take your egg whites out of the fridge and pour into your batter. Fold the egg whites in by going around the outside of the bowl and through the middle. Make sure to fold until just combined. You do not want to over-mix your batter. This will make the cake become more dense.
9. Bake. Evenly pour your batter into your prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-27 minutes. Remember if you are using the cake strips, that cooking time may increase so may sure to check your cakes.
10. Let your cakes cool. Let your cakes cool for 10 minutes in the cake pans and then switch them to the wire cooling rack. I needed to make my cakes fast so I stuck my cakes in the freezer to cool while I made my frosting. You don't want your cakes to be warm at all when you try to build your cake.
Make the Frosting
While your cakes cool, start making your frosting.
1. Cream your butter. Take your standing mixer and beat the softened butter, cream cheese, and vegetable shortening. Beat this for 4-5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
2. Add extract and corn syrup. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the 2 tablespoons of corn syrup and almond extract. Mix on medium/high until the frosting is glossy and combined.
The original frosting calls for 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, but I wanted to make almond frosting so I changed this to almond extract. The only thing with almond extract is that it is extremely potent and too much almond extract is never a good thing. Be careful when measuring and if you are worried use a little less than 1 tablespoon.
3. Add remaining ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, baking powder and distilled white vinegar. Mix slowly at first to get the sugar combined and to avoid the sugar from going everywhere. Once combined, increase the speed to medium high and mix for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add heavy Whipping cream. Add 1 tablespoon of the heavy whipping cream and continue to mix on medium high. depending on the consistency, you may want to add more powdered sugar or more heavy whipping cream. Mix on medium high until you get your perfect frosting.
Build and Decorate!
I want to apologize in advance, I was very in the zone while making this cake and decorating I didn't stop to take pictures of a lot of the steps. Now that your cake is cooled and and your frosting is made, it is time to build yourself a cat cake! I ended up making 2 batches of frosting but instead of doubling it I made one batch just for the crumb coat and then made a separate batch for decorating.
1. Build your crumb coat. First thing to do is build a crumb coat to ensure your cake is smooth and clean looking. For more details on making a crumb coat and why it is important, read more here. Once your crumb coat is made, put your cake in the fridge for 30-45 minutes. I aways leave mine in for at least 45 minutes.
2. Add the tie dye frosting. I am sorry I didn't take any pictures of any of the steps. For this, take your 1/3 of your frosting and pink food coloring and dye the frosting to your desired color of pink. With your offset spatula or a spoon and place spots on the pink frosting patches all over the sides and the top of the cake. you want to keep the spots a little separate from each other so that don't all blend together when you smooth out the cake.
3. Smooth out the frosting. With a bench scraper or a cake smoother, smooth your frosting around the cake to get the tie dye effect you are looking for. If your cake is looking sparingly in the colored frosting, add more and smooth again until it has the tie dye effect.
4. Make the face out of fondant. I use marshmallow fondant instead of the regular fondant. To make your fondant, you can follow the instructions here. Take a small amount of your fondant and dye the it black or what color your want your face to be. You don't need a lot for this and will want to save the rest for your ears and flowers.
I would recommend using gel food coloring. It will not change the consistency of the fondant like the liquid one did. If you feel like your fondant is getting too soft, add some more powdered sugar.
Once your fondant is your desired color, roll out thin pieces to create the eyes, whiskers, and nose. Take even smaller pieces and attach them to your eye outline to make eyelashes. Try to make your eyes as symmetrical as you can. Once you have your fondant it the shape you would like them, carefully place them onto the front of your cake. I did really well placing everything until the right eye. I accidentally poked the frosting with my finger. No worries, just take your cake smoother and smooth out the frosting as much as you can, place the eye over any bumps to try and cover it up.
5. Make the ears. To make the ears you need to have white fondant and a smaller amount of pink fondant. Roll these out thinly and cut out your ear shapes. The trick to making ears without have to stick them into the actual cake with a skewer or toothpick is to create a base to be able to support the ear.
To do this cut the ears out with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Turn the heart upside down and the point will be the top of the ear. Then you want to fold the two scalloped shaped onto each other. Take some water and brush a little between them to make the fondant stick. This creates a base to prop the fondant up. do the same thing with the pink fondant, but with a smaller heart cutout. You want the pink hearts to be smaller than the white hearts so it can create that pink inner ear. Let these dry for a little bit in position. Brush some water onto the white ear and stick the pink part onto it. The water will work as a little glue for your fondant.
DO NOT put the fondant in the fridge or freezer to set. When the fondant goes from cold to room temperature the fondant will sweat and the condensation will make the fondant glossy and lose its shape.
Once your ears are set and ready, place them op top of your cake in the center and lined up evenly with the face.
6. Pipe frosting rosettes. I didn't want to add anymore pink to my cake as it was very pink heavy already, so I wanted to add a little bit of purple. To do this, I took some saran wrap, and a brush and wiped a thin line of purple food coloring in the middle of the saran wrap. I then place my frosting on top of the line and rolled the saran wrap from both ends to enclose the frosting in the wrap. Cut one end and place that end down, in a piping bag. I used a Wilton 1M tip. Pipe rosettes all around the edges of the top of the cake. The food coloring will only be where that one line was so that's how you get the edges of the rosette purple.
7. Make your fondant flowers. I made one batch of the marshmallow fondant with just this one batch, I was able to make all the fondant flowers, the face, the ears, and the hamburgers form the cookout cupcakes. From this batch, I made brown, yellow, pink, purple, black and of course white fondant. I am definitely not skilled yet enough to make realistic fondant roses, so I bought these fondant flower molds.
From here you can make all different types of flowers with different colors. The best is you can mix and match like I did. I made some with brown centers and white flower petals, pink center and yellow petals, all one color flowers, or any combination you want to make. Let your flowers dry before removing the from the mold and then place them on top of the cake inside the rosettes rings.
8. Make frosting leaves. If you have any leftover frosting, make green frosting with your food coloring. Using the Wilton tip to get the exact leaf shape you would like. Careful pipe these all around the rosettes and the fondant flowers.
Now your cake is fully decorated and ready to eat!
Taste Tester Thoughts
"Best cake to frosting ratio."
"This is the best cake. The frosting is the perfect pairing to the cake flavor."
"I need this recipe."
I made several mistakes from the poking my cake while applying the face fondant, to using a little bit too much pink than I wanted in the tie dye. However, I think the biggest mistake was putting the fondant in the fridge and freezer. The fondant started getting really floppy and the ears completely drooped and folded over by the time I got to the birthday party. This was super easy to fix but a little stressful on the drive over and seeing my ears deflate. Just reshape them and they will set from there.