Recipe by Brandess
This is my personal, never before published version of the 'famous Dick's Burnt Almond Cake' from Dick's Bakery in San Jose, CA. I was not as impressed as some by the original- I did, however, taste potential. After several months of testing, this is the finished product. I am told that my version is better than Dick's. I'll let you judge for yourselves. The procedure can appear a bit daunting, but trust me, it’s not. Just read the recipe from beginning to end and then take it one section at a time and you will be justly rewarded!
Top Review by cherylramsay
I'm from Campbell/Cupertino area and my employers got our cakes at Dick's or Peter's bakeries in San Jose for celebrations. (I used to get them at Leonardi's too.) I can't wait to try this one !!! After retiring, moving to the San Diego last year, I discovered NO Bakery or store in San Diego (or surrounding towns) has a burnt almond cake or, has even has heard of it! I'm thinking of adding custard in between the layers too. So maybe I will make and start a business!
- 1 (18 ounce) box French vanilla cake mix, Betty Crocker
- 1⁄3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 1⁄4 cups water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 1⁄2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3⁄4 cup slivered almonds, toasted (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla, not imitation
- 1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup water
- 1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon torani vanilla-flavored syrup
- 8 cups Pastry Pride (or 8 cups premiere non-dairy whipped topping)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons torani vanilla-flavored syrup
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup white sugar
Directions See How It's Made
- Prepare the French Vanilla cake mix according to package directions for 2 eight, or 2 nine inch, round cake pans. Remove from pans, allow cakes to cool completely.
- While cakes are cooling, spread 1 cup of sliced almonds on a dry baking sheet. Please in the oven at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes. These almonds will burn in an instant. Check almonds progress after 5 minutes and then each minute there after. You are looking for a nice golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- DO NOT LEAVE THE STOVE ONCE YOU START THIS PROCESS. To make the brittle: Combine sugar, honey and water in a heavy bottom pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Using a heat resistant rubber spatula, stir gently to dissolve the sugar. Continue to boil over medium heat without stirring for about 8-10 minutes. Mixture will darken to a rich amber color.
- Remove the pot from the heat and quickly stir in the butter, toasted almonds, and baking soda with the rubber spatula until butter has melted and baking soda is well combined.
- CAUTION! This liquid brittle is over 300 degrees at this point. Pour the liquid brittle on to a baking sheet that has been sprayed with a coating of nonstick butter flavored spray. Allow brittle to completely cool on a counter top until rock hard.
- Once hardened, break up the brittle in small pieces and place into a food processor. Process in small batches until the brittle has become a fine crumb consistency. *If you do not have a processor, use a blender or place in a freezer bag and beat to death with a rolling pin :) Keep in mind that any chunks in the crumbs will be very unpleasant and hard to chew in the finished cake.
- Simple Syrup: In a small pot add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes stirring to make sure all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add 1/2 tsp almond extract,1 tbsp Torani vanilla syrup. Set aside to cool.
- Make the Pastry Pride icing according to package directions. It is as simple as placing the ice cold contents in the bowl of your mixer and whipping to stiff peaks; adding sugar to taste. I find most people prefer little to no sugar added.
- Using a long serrated knife, slice each of the two cakes in half, horizontally. With a pastry brush, brush all layers on their cut side with the simple syrup. Place 1 cup of frosting between each layer, followed by a ¼ cup of the brittle crumbs on top of each layer of frosting. Repeat with each layer until you have 4 layers, one on top of the other, (cake, frosting, crumbs.) completed. Use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake.
- Press the toasted almond slices onto the sides, all the way around the perimeter of the cake. Top off the cake with a layer of the remaining brittle crumbs. Refrigerate cake for at least 2 hours before serving. Overnight is optimal.
- Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any). The cake will improve in flavor over the next day or 2 as everything soaks in and melds.