Almond Joy was one of my favorite candy bars as a kid (my friends thought I was weird but hey, more candy for me!). This Almond Joy Cake is its highest calling. A decadent coconut cake enveloped in the most luscious chocolate cream cheese frosting and topped with crunchy roasted almonds, it’s one of the best-tasting things that’s come out of our kitchen.
Every year I have an age-inappropriate amount of fun planning my birthday cake.
While Ben is content with a simple batch of cookies (even Cookie Cake is a little fancy for him), I like to use my birthday as an excuse to be a bit more… excessive.
- One layer of cake? No, let’s make it three!
- Chocolate frosting? Okay, but let’s add in some cream cheese for added richness and body (like in the frosting of my favorite Strawberry Cake).
- Plain yellow cake? Nah, let’s jazz things up with some shredded coconut (like in this Banana Cake).
This Almond Joy Cake was originally the result of my joyous birthday cake plotting, but it has since earned cult status among our group of friends.
It’s buttery, moist, and boasts three proud layers.
With its rich frosting, plush crumb, and touches of texture, it is completely over the top, but that won’t stop you from having a second slice.
5 Star Review
“Love this recipe. Very nice change from an all chocolate ingredients.”— Irene —
How to Make Almond Joy Cake
This Almond Joy cake is every wonderful component of an Almond Joy, baked into luscious, three-layer cake form.
It’s utter heaven for Almond Joy candy bar lovers everywhere, without being so sweet as the turn off the skeptics.
- Flour. This easy Almond Joy cake is made with half all purpose flour and half whole wheat pastry flour. The whole wheat flour is totally undetectable, meaning you can reward yourself with a second slice for sneakily slipping in those whole grains to your unsuspecting birthday guests.
- Sugar. For moisture, tenderness, and sweetness.
- Eggs. Give this cake lift, richness, color, and a lovely fluffy texture.
- Coconut Oil. Packs this cake with moisture (like this Instant Pot Cake) and subtle coconut flavor.
- Butter. This cake is here to party.
- Coconut Flakes. Add sweetness, texture, and tropical coconut flavor. (I’m also on team coconut when it comes to this Healthy Carrot Cake recipe.)
- Cream Cheese. Instead of a butter base, I opted for light cream cheese (like I did for this Chocolate Beet Cake), which provides an incredibly luscious texture and tang to keep the frosting from being too sweet. It spreads beautifully, sets nicely, and lets the chocolate flavor shine.
- Nonfat Milk. Thins the icing to a perfect spreadable consistency.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate. 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 (like my favorite Flourless Chocolate Torte) opting for semi-sweet chocolate rather than milk chocolate.
- Cocoa Powder. Deepens and intensifies the chocolate taste of this heavenly chocolate cream cheese frosting.
- Almond Extract and Vanilla. Infuse both the cake and frosting with smooth vanilla and rich almond flavor.
- Almonds. Top the cake with a birthday crown of chunky almonds. Get after it.
- Beat together the sugar, butter, and coconut oil.
- Add the eggs, then beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
The mixture may look a bit curdled, but do not be concerned.
- Sift together the dry ingredients.
- Combine the dry and wet ingredients together in an alternating fashion. Fold in the coconut. Divide the batter evenly between three cake pans.
- Bake coconut cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and let cool completely.
- Make the chocolate cream cheese frosting. Frost the cake and decorate with a shower of toasted chopped almonds. Slice and serve. EN-almond-JOY!
- To Store. Cover the cake, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Let it come to room temperature before serving.
- To Freeze. Freeze your frosted or unfrosted cake for up to 2 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring it to room temperature before serving.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Cake Pans. For this recipe, you’ll need a total of three 9-inch cake pans.
- Offset Spatula. Makes icing this cake a breeze.
- Stand Mixer. For those who take birthday cake baking as seriously as I do, a stand mixer is well worth the investment.
It’s my party, and I’ll have an over-the-top cake if I want to!
Frequently Asked Questions
I have only made this almond joy cake as it is written, so attempting to adapt it into a vegan almond joy cake would be a serious departure. Given the number of eggs and amount of dairy in this recipe, I’m not sure this is a recipe that would lend itself well to vegan adaptation easily. I would suggest, instead, adding coconut and almonds to this Vegan Chocolate Pie.
I have not experimented with making this recipe gluten free before. However, if you’d like to attempt to make an Almond Joy cake based on this recipe, you could try swapping all purpose and whole wheat pastry flour for your favorite 1-to-1 gluten free baking mix. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear your results. This Coconut Flour Cake is another great gluten free cake option to consider.
When it comes to baking cakes, I don’t generally encourage making a recipe with entirely whole wheat flour (especially regular whole wheat flour). Whole wheat flour will almost always cause a cake to come out dense and heavy. A blend of half and half whole wheat pastry flour and all purpose flour, I find to be the best blend of flour to use for whole wheat cake recipes since it still yields a cake with a light and fluffy texture.
Almond Joy Cake
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 1/2 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
- 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 the dry 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 of 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 the center comes out clean, rotating the pans between the upper and lower racks and 180 degrees halfway through. Remove from the 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.
- To 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.
- 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 the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle toasted chopped almonds on top. Carefully remove wax paper strips. Refrigerate for 2 hours prior to slicing and serving.
- TO STORE: Cover the cake, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Let it come to room temperature before serving.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze your frosted or unfrosted cake for up to 2 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring it to room temperature before serving.
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