What is considered socially acceptable adult behavior when a group of people sings you “Happy Birthday?” Avoid eye contact? Hum along? Stuff your face with the Almond Joy Cake while everyone else is concentrating on pitch? I vote Door #3. Almond Joy Cake-Moist coconut cake that tastes just like an Almond Joy Candy Bar I’m weighing my options because today just so happens to be my birthday! While it would be far more becoming of me as an (even later) 20-something adult to demurely deflect attention and insist that we skip the birthday song all together, the truth is….I LOVE BIRTHDAYS, both my own and others’. I bounced out of bed this morning to pick up a warm ham+gruyere croissant and almond croissant (it’s by birthday, so I opted not to choose) from this incredible local bakery, relished the moment when the Starbucks barista wrote “Happy Birthday,” on my complimentary caramel latte, and will spend the entirety of my workday day dreaming about the fried pickles and cocktails I plan to devour at my birthday dinner with Ben. (We skip gifts and celebrate special occasions with date nights out.)

I have been known to join the Olive Garden wait staff in hearty renditions of “Happy Birthday” for total strangers, regularly bake birthday cakes for co-workers, and I still make birthday cards by hand. I simply can’t image a sweeter  celebration than letting someone know you are happy they are alive.

Also, I really like cake. Let the festivities begin! Almond Joy Cake-Coconut Cake with Chocolate and Almonds. Tastes just like an almond joy candy bar! I realize it’s a little awkward to bake oneself a birthday cake. To be fair to Ben, he did offer to rock the Betty Crocker, but since he opts for a simple batch of chocolate chip cookies or plain yellow cake for his birthday every year, I like to use my birthday as an excuse to be a bit more…excessive. Birthdays are but once a year after all.

I have an age-inappropriate amount of fun planning my birthday cake. (Point me to the Chuck E. Cheese—clearly, I am turning five.) I was planning to repeat last year’s birthday Banana Cake with Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting because I love it so much, until a humiliating encounter at the office inspired this Almond Joy Cake. It’s insanely moist, packed with coconut flavor, and utter heaven for Almond Joy candy bar lovers. The embarrassment was worth it, even if I now have to avoid a certain section of the second floor.

Almond Joy Cake-Coconut Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Crunchy Almonds. Tastes just like an almond joy candy bar!

I have a debilitating weakness for coconut, particularly Almond Joys. The contrast of the ultra-moist coconut filling with the giant crunchy almond and smooth chocolate exterior eclipses my brain and addles my judgment, to the extent that I snuck into a total stranger’s cube and dug into her candy bowl. I was just about to make my exit when she walked right into me, Almond Joy in hand. It was awkward. My cheeks burned like a pair of flaming jalapenos. I was caught in the act with no escape. As I was about to sputter an apology, she burst out laughing, then offered me another Almond Joy. I believe we are on good terms, but perhaps I should leave a slice of Almond Joy Cake at her desk to make amends. Almond Joy Cake-Coconut cake with chocolate frosting and almonds. Tastes like an Almond Joy! Inspired by the candy bar that drove me to crime, Almond Joy Cake is every wonderful component of an Almond Joy, baked into a luscious, three-layer cake form. It begins with three super-moist layers of coconut cake made with half whole wheat pastry flour and a double punch of coconut oil and coconut flakes. The whole wheat flour is totally undetectable. Silently reward yourself for slipping in those whole grains with a second slice of cake.

Two coconut cake layers would have been satisfactory, but since we’ve established that I’m anything but reserved in the birthday department, I let it all out with three. Plus, more layers means more surface area for chocolate frosting! The chocolate frosting recipe was a fabulous experiment and will be my go-to for all of future chocolate frosting needs. Instead of a butter base, I opted for light cream cheese, which provides an incredibly luscious texture for fewer calories than butter. It spreads beautifully, sets nicely, and lets the chocolate flavor shine. If you are looking for a strong cream cheese flavor, this isn’t it, but if you are looking for a reliable, ultra-chocolately frosting that won’t slide right off of your cake, stop right here.

Actually, don’t stop. Top the cake with a birthday crown of chunky almonds. Now we’re ready to party. Almond Joy Cake-Coconut Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Crunchy Almonds. Tastes just like an almond joy candy bar! {Note to the Almond Joy purists: In my dark-chocolate loving opinion, the Almond Joy’s single flaw is its milk chocolate vs. dark chocolate exterior, so I made this frosting  very chocolatey. If you prefer more of a milk chocolate taste, simply swap milk chocolate for the semi-sweet. Power to the baker!}

Wishing you all a sweet day filled with all of your favorite treats. Just don’t steal them—bake them into a cake instead.

And just in time for Throwback Thursday ….

Birthday girlsLittle sis Elaine (whose birthday is tomorrow—Happy early Birthday Elaine!) and I celebrating our 4th and 9ths birthdays. I’m wishing for Elaine’s crown…and smaller bangs.

Today’s single birthday wish? For you to pretty please take my reader survey! It’s quick, easy, and anonymous. Provide your feedback and help me make The Law Student’s Wife a better place for YOU!

Almond Joy Cake-Moist coconut cake that tastes just like an Almond Joy Candy Bar

Almond Joy Cake

5 from 1 vote
A cake that tastes just like an Almond Joy Candy Bar! Three layers of ultra moist coconut cake with chocolate frosting and crunchy almonds. This cake is a bit healthier thanks to whole wheat flour and coconut oil, but all you will taste is decadence!

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 2 hrs 55 mins

Servings: 1 3-layer 9-inch cake, serves 8


For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 5 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut (6 ounces)

For the Chocolate Frosting:

  • 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons skim milk
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

For Serving:

  • 1/2 cup whole roasted almonds roughly chopped


  • Place rack in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 325°. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, line with parchment paper, the grease again. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, and coconut oil until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. The mixture may look a bit curdled, but do not be concerned.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the all purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beating well on low speed after each addition add ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture in the following order: 1/3 of the dry ingredients; 1/2 of the buttermilk; the next 1/3 of the dry ingredients; the final 1/2 of the buttermilk; then the remaining dry ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold in the 6 ounces flaked coconut.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (the layers will look a little thin), then smooth the tops. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, rotating the pans between the upper and lower racks and 180 degrees half way through. Remove from oven and cool cakes in their pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife along the edges and gently turn the cakes out on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Prepare the frosting: Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, then microwave in 10-second intervals, until almost but not completely melted. Stir to melt the remaining chocolate, then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and milk until smooth and creamy. Add the melted chocolate, beating until well-blended. In a small separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and cocoa powder until smooth. Add the sugar-cocoa to the cream cheese mixture a little at a time, beating on low speed until well blended. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts, then continue beating the frosting until very creamy.
  • To serve and frost: Place one cake layer on a serving plate, top side down and flat side up. Tuck strips of wax paper under the edges to protect the plate. Spread the top with 1/2 cup frosting. Place second layer, also flat side up, then spread top another 1/2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer, again placing the flat side up. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle toasted chopped almonds on top. Carefully remove wax paper strips. Refrigerate for 2 hours prior to slicing and serving.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Yum, that looks delicious! I like your rationale for 3 layers…more frosting! No complaints here ;) Happy Birthday!

  2. Happy Belated birthday Erin! I admit I make my own cake most years – sometimes my mom beats me to it. This cake is such a brilliant idea – the coconut cake sandwiched with cream cheese frosting and covered with ultra-chocolately frosting is just too delectable – I would be sneaking a piece of this out of your office if you stepped out ;)

  3. You’re so dang adorable. This is why I love you :)

    PS I just made fried pickles…coming to a blog soon!!

  4. Wishing you the happiest ever of birthdays, Erin! Be merry, be celebrate-y, and eat all the cake! Then have another slice for me. Have a great weekend!

  5. This is beautiful! My dad loves almond joy! I will be making this for him on Father’s Day. Happy Birthday Erin!

  6. There is nothing more awkward than when people are singing to you – oh well, I’d love to have this cake to concentrate on instead! Almond Joy is my favorite candy bar EVER and if I were to have a cake for my birthday, it would be this one. This was a really fun post Erin (you were and are so cute!) Happy weekend!

  7. Happy belated birthday, Erin! Hope it was wonderful. How could it not be with your awesome Almond Joy cake! That is my fave candy bar – so this cake will also be my fave! Can’t wait to make! Also glad to find the perfect chocolate frosting!

  8. Happiest belated birthday! Worked so late last night I missed this post until today! I hope you had a very special day and enjoyed this beautiful cake :-)

  9. I am totally imagining the scene when you took that almond joy bar at work right now, Erin, and it’s absolutely hilarious. Sorry, but I have just had a very good laugh at your expense. On the plus side, it did inspire this cake, which is beyond gorgeous. Happy birthday to you!

  10. Happy (belated) birthday, Erin! I love indulging myself in the little things on my birthday – usually in relation to food! And I have NO clue what to do with myself when happy birthday is being sung. I usually stare at the cake and hope no one draws it out with any “cha cha cha’s”.

    This cake is the stuff my birthday cake dreams are made of! I love, love Almond Joy’s too, and would probably be guilty of the same infraction you were. Have you seen that they make a Dark Chocolate Almond Joy now? They showed up in our (communal) work candy bowl and I just about flipped out! Deeelish.

  11. Happy Belated Birthday lovely!!

    That cakes look incredible – definitely the best way to look occupied while everyone else is busy singing in celebration of your birth day!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

  12. Happy birthday Erin- this cake looks amazing to celebrate! Love coconut and chocolate- best combo! :)

  13. Happy birthday for the other day, sounded a brill way to start, hoping it finished on an uber high too. I am exactly the same, love birthdays, mine & others. Like you, I’m renowned for joining in on singing happy birthday to strangers.
    Hahaha… Yes, that is a bit awkward, I never know what to do when everyone is singing, usually join in and hype everyone up, seems to stop me feeling awks. Anyways, hope you enjoyed the weekend and have a great week ahead. Looking forward to future posts and catching up on your old posts. Cheers, Anna

    1. Thanks so so much for the birthday wishes Anna. Glad I’m not the only one awkwardly singing along too. I say, the more the merrier!

  14. Hahah that awkward moment when people sing Happy Birthday to you! It totally is a weird moment… My favorite part about this cake is the beautiful almonds you garnished on top! Totally digging this! My grandmas Bday is coming up, and almond joy was always her favorite candy bar…hmmm may have to make this for her ;) Totally right there with ya, love celebrating bdays! Mostly other peoples and not my own though! Have a good Tuesday!

    1. Hi Sara! You can use all purpose flour in place of the whole wheat flour, but not the reverse. Since whole wheat flour is more dense than all purpose flour, it will change the texture of the cake if 100% whole wheat flour is used. If you don’t mind a slightly heavier cake though, by all means feel free to experiment! Just make sure you use whole wheat PASTRY flour (not regular whole wheat flour). Regular whole wheat flour will definitely make the cake too dense.

  15. If you are looking for a strong cream cheese flavor, this isn’t it, but if you are looking for a reliable, ultra-chocolately frosting that won’t slide right off of your cake, stop right here. Really?

    1. Yes, I agree that the cream cheese is more about structure than flavor, and it definitely stays put and SO chocolatey!

  16. Love this recipe. Very nice change from an all chocolate ingredients.  My icing skills need improvement but no one is complaining.LOL5 stars

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