I think cake might just be my favorite dessert to bake. Cookies will always have a soft spot in my heart (and the majority of my freezer), but cake signifies that something FUN is happening – maybe a birthday, a wedding, drake lyrics or a new puppy. Cake is the perfect way to say so many things! So obviously, when my mom said she and my dad would like to fly up to Burlington for her birthday last weekend, I was stoked to be baking a cake for her! And not just any cake, this cute 6 inch almond cake with a layer of rich almond filling and covered with fluffy chocolate mousse frosting. Divine.
My mom and I’s love for almond cake runs deep. We treasured our favorite Kuckenmeister marzipan cake – the perfect almond pound-like cake covered in chocolate. I liked it best after it sat in the fridge a while, and then I cut it up into little squares skewered with tooth picks. Fansē schmancy for my beanie baby and american girl tea parties. Sadly, I can rarely find it in local grocery stores anymore – when either my mom or I do, we most definitely send each other an excited text. We’re so cool.
So I took it into my own hands to recreate a cake just as schmaltzy as the OG kuckenmeister for my mom’s birthday. Since it was just myself, mom, dad and Jesse for cake eating time, I decided to make a small 2 layer 6 inch cake. This cake would also make a dope Mother’s Day cake, so get baking and get your Fansē schmancy on!
Almond Cake with Chocolate Mousse Frosting (without heavy cream!)
cake adapted from Amanda Hesser’s NYT Cooking almond cake.
yields 1 two layer 6 inch cake
what you’ll need
1/2 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3.5 ounces almond paste*
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
4.5 ounces chopped dark chocolate
1/4 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons butter
4.5 ounces almond paste*
2 tablespoons almond milk
*you’ll need a total of 8 ounces of almond paste for this recipe. I use the Solo brand in the 8 ounce package, but if you can only find the 7 ounce package, just short the amount that goes into the filling.
speaking of shortening things, DO NOT short the time needed to whip the almond paste, butter and sugar together. you need that extra long whisking time to give your cake some structure so it doesn’t cave in.
don’t have heavy whipping cream laying around the house all the time? NEITHER DO I. This chocolate mousse recipe is made without heavy whipping cream, all you need is a little milk, butter and of course, chocolate!
how to whip it up
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 6 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.
to make the batter: mix together the almond milk, apple cider vinegar and baking soda. let rest.
in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream together butter and sugar until very fluffy (roughly 3 minutes). then add in chopped almond paste and cream together until you have the fluffiest almond sugar pillows (5-7 minutes). Add in egg yolks one at a time, mix until combined. Blend in almond extract and almond milk mixture. Reduce mixer speed and gently stir in salt and flour. Be careful not to over mix because it’ll knock all the air out of the batter.
pour half of the batter into each prepared cake pan, use a spatula to spread evenly. start checking for doneness at 30 minutes. tops should be just browned and the edges start pulling away from the sides of the pan. let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.
to make the mousse: chop your chocolate into small bits. Place chocolate bits into a stand mixer bowl. In a small sauce pan, bring almond milk to just barely a boil and melt butter into it. Once combined and bubbly around the edges, pour hot almond milk over chopped chocolate. Let rest 5 minutes. Using the whisk attachment on your stand mixer, whisk together chocolate almond milk mixture. Place bowl in fridge to chill, whisking every 15 minutes until your mousse is light, fluffy and holds a peak. This will probably take 45 minutes, depending on your refrigerator temperature. If you want to make this ahead, just cover with plastic and make sure to give the mousse a good whisk before using to fluff it up again.
to make the almond filling: simply blend together the 4.5 ounces of almond paste and 2 tablespoons of almond milk until you have a soft, spreadable filling.
to assemble cake: level cakes if desired. spread almond filling on top of one layer of cake, top with the other layer. spread a nice thick layer of mousse all over the cake. top with sprinkles, almonds and whatever else your heart desires.