Burnt Almond Cake

Recipe by Steve P.




  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans.
  • For the cake: Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a bowl and set aside.
  • Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the speed to medium-low.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating 30 seconds between additions.
  • Add alternating increments of the flour mixture and buttermilk and vanilla, blending well after each addition; this should take about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Cool in pans, on wire racks, for 10 minutes, unmold the cakes and let cool completely.
  • Note: The cake recipe makes two 8-inch round cake layers.
  • Only one is used for this recipe.
  • To make the brittle: Combine the granulated sugar, honey and water in a medium-sized saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  • Boil, without stirring, until the mixture turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the toasted almonds, butter and baking soda.
  • Mix with a wooden spoon just until the butter melts and the foaming subsides.
  • Pour the mixture into a nonstick or lightly greased baking sheet and set aside to cool.
  • Once the brittle has hardened, break it up and crush to fine crumbs in a food processor.
  • Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • To make the custard cream: In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, heat milk to barely simmering.
  • Meanwhile, combine egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Whisk to blend smoothly.
  • Stir the heated milk into the egg mixture; return mixture to saucepan.
  • Bring back to a boil, over medium-low heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute.
  • Remove pan from heat; add butter and vanilla, stirring to melt the butter.
  • Transfer custard to a bowl; place a piece of waxed paper directly on top to prevent a crust from forming and refrigerate until cold.
  • Whip the cream and confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold into the chilled custard and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • To assemble cake: Cut the cake in half horizontally.
  • Place one layer on a cake plate, spread cake with cold custard cream and sprinkle with brittle crumbs.
  • Cover with the remaining layer of cake.
  • Spread the remaining custard cream over cake, applying a thinner coat to the sides than the top.
  • Chill for a least 1 hour before garnishing.
  • To garnish, press brittle crumbs onto the sides of the cake with the palm of your hand and sprinkle a layer of crumbs on the top.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Note: To toast nuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking pan.
  • Bake in a 375F oven until golden brown, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Allow nuts to cool before using.