Almond Joy Cake

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!

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Almond Joy Cake

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!

Yield: 1 3-layer 9-inch cake, Serves 8

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 55 minutes

Ingredients:

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 (6 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut

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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

68 comments

  1. Happy, Happy Birthday, Erin!!! I hope your day is filled with all the things that you love! (And it sounds like it off to a great start already!)
    You know Shelley and I are fans of Almond Joy anything … so I’m pretty sure this cake will be making several appearances at celebrations in our lives! :)
    Your TBT pic is totally adorable! And I love what you are wishing for! So cute!

    Happy Birthday to YOU!!!!

  2. Funniest intro ever! I’m with you, I run for duck and cover when people sing to me. The floor just starts to fascinate me.

    Almond Joys translated into cake? Speechless.

    I pass on most desserts so I don’t have to workout, but this one just might be worth it =)

  3. I never know what to do during the happy birthday singing. It’s always a bit awkward. Mostly I focus on restraining myself from slamming my face into whatever cake I’ve made. There would be no restraint around this one, by the way. Chocolate and coconut LOVE FTW!

  4. I usually just try to laugh or stare awkwardly at the floor while people sing happy birthday… Especially at restaurants — for me, that’s the worst. Even when it’s a strangers birthday! I do like celebrating birthdays though, especially with a cake like this

  5. Haha I LOVE singing happy birthdays at restaurants…to other people. When they sing to me I’m totally embarrassed.
    Totally not awkward to make yourself a cake, as this one looks FAB! Almond joy anything is a win. Happy Birthday beautiful friend! Pinning!

  6. Happy Birthday! I try not to stress about birthdays. I just figure I’m glad I have another one. With a cake like this, I’d be happy to celebrate every day!

  7. Chocolate and coconut is always a favorite!! I will have a hard time not face planting into this during that awkward time of the song. Happy happy birthday my friend!! I hope you have a wonderful day filled with lots of joy and sweets :)

  8. I love birthdays! We always had fun birthday celebrations at my house growing up. I know for some people they aren’t as into it – but I think its really nice to take stock of where you are in life and celebrate! I hope you have a great day and enjoy!! This cake looks awesome too – those layers!!

  9. Happy Birthday!! This almond joy cake looks like an amazing way to celebrate!

  10. This looks FANTASTIC! I have a weakness for almond joys too, so I cannot wait to whip this up. And as the only baker in my house, I make my own birthday cakes too #noshame haha! Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Already took the survey.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  12. Happy Birthday to YOU, Erin!!! I’ve been meaning to get out to Batch Bakehouse. . now I’m going to get that ham+gruyere croissant!!! uh, yum!! Hope you have a fabulous day! See you in a couple weeks!! will you be at the WI cheese event Friday night?

  13. Happy birthday, my dear friend! I hope it is every bit as sweet and wonderful as you are. (And if you need help finishing that cake, you know where to find me. ;))

  14. Happy Birthday, Erin, and Wishing you Many Many More!

  15. Happy birthday!!! I think I know what I’ll be making for my mom for her birthday next week. She loves Almond Joys!

  16. Happy Birthday, Erin!!! Hope your day is as special and fabulous as you are. Also, please make sure to devour an extra piece of cake for me since I can’t have one :). Your cake looks absolutely delish!

  17. Diane Siniscalchi Reply

    Happy Happy Birthday, sweet lady! Wish I lived closer so I could make your birthday cake, but, since I can’t, I now have a new recipe from you for my mom’s August birthday. This is a coconut lover’s dream! Enjoy your birthday and your dinner out with Ben. I’m happy you were born! God’s blessings upon you,
    Erin!

  18. Happy Birthday Erin! Love the story of stealing candy out of a stranger’s candy bowl, hahahaha. That’s awesome!!! Hahaha, and I agree about the whole dark chocolate thing. Totally the way to go! And yea, you might want to leave that coworker a slice of cake ;)

  19. Diane Siniscalchi Reply

    Oh, btw, I did take the survey!

  20. Happy birthday! You’re cake sounds AMAZING!!! I’m about to enter into an 8 week Whole LIfe Challenge, so saving the recipe until the challenge is over and I can eat awesome things like sugar and wheat and chocolate!!!

  21. Happy happy birthday! I hope you have a marvelous day. I would totally rob a stranger’s candy bowl for a Reese’s, so no shame there. This cake looks incredible!

  22. Happy Birthday Erin! You are too funny! It’s your day, live it up and enjoy every bite :D

  23. Happy Birthday!! This almond joy cake is perfect for any celebration.

  24. Happy Birthday Erin!! This is such a lovely cake and one I could definitely go for. My birthday is in a little over a week and I’m already planning out what kind of birthday cake to make myself (I don’t find it weird at all). As far as where to look while people awkwardly sing happy birthday, I usually just hone in on the cake and keep my attention focused there!

  25. Happy birthday, Erin! What a great celebration cake! I like baking my own birthday cake too :) Have a fantastic year ahead!

  26. It might be best to avoid contact while stuffing your face with almond joy cake :) I’m kind of the opposite when it comes to my birthday, I tell no one, but then I have to awkwardly deal with people finding out a few days later and apologizing that they had no idea it was my birthday. I think I like your approach much better! Enjoy your cake and have a wonderful birthday!

  27. Happy birthday to us both! We’re never too old for birthdays though I don’t broadcast the number, lol. Today I’m having a day at the spa followed by dinner with the DH, and tomorrow it’s lunch at the conservatory with my sisters. Enjoy yours.

  28. happy birthday to one of my favorite people!!!!!

  29. Happy Birthday! I totally think it’s socially acceptable to eat this amazingly delicious sounding and looking cake while people sing happy birthday to you…and you’re so right, it is totally awkward without cake!
    Also-I loooove birthdays, my husband gets a little thrown by my absolute birthday enthusiasm lol, but I totally embrace it, glad to hear someone else does too :)

  30. Happy happy birthday Erin!!! I share the same weakness for coconut and would totally want to stuff my face with cake during the song ;) It looks stunning and makes such a perfect celebration cake! Enjoy and have an amazing day filled with lots of sweet treats :)

  31. Happy happy birthday!!! I hope you have lots of fun celebrating tonight! And I totally dig the baking of your own cake – I do it myself : ) This cake sounds like a fantastic way to celebrate a birthday! You can give me a slice and I’ll awkwardly sing you happy birthday in return lol

  32. Happy Birthday. I do not like that awkward moment when everyone is singing happy birthday to me. But I’m loving this cake. Almond joy is the best candy bar ever.

  33. Happpppyyyyy birthday!!! THIS is the cake to celebrate with! Love it. Hope you have an awesome birthday dinner with your hubby, eat until you burst! :)

  34. Happy Birthday! I was mercilessly teased for baking my own birthday cake a couple of years ago. This one: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Rhubarb-Mascarpone-Mousse-Cake-395015. I didn’t care. It was delicious.

    I’m also a fan of almond joy. I’ll be making this cake for my birthday in a couple of weeks. Incidentally, I’ve always thought almond joys would be better with the chocolate on mounds. Here’s my birthday gift to you…coconut ice cream with hot fudge and almonds.

  35. I love your throwback picture! What a gorgeous cake!

  36. That is totally something I’d do, lol. And Happy Birthday! This cake is fabulous!

  37. Happy Birthday Erin, you made a beautiful cake, love the candy bar flavor added here.

  38. Oh my gosh. I’ve never eaten an almond joy, but after reading your description I am craving one!!! Moist coconut filling, chocolatey almond exterior? Heaven! This cake looks like a brilliant adaptation of the chocolate bar into birthday-worthy goodness. Hope that you have a fantastic celebration tonight with Ben, HAPPY BIRTHDAY lovely one!! In your honour, I will bake this cake! x

  39. Happy birthday! Every year I have to bake my own cake because Squirrel has no clue. Honestly, I’d love to see him in an apron whisking cake batter. I’m going to be the big 3-0 this year. While I’d like to skip that, I wouldn’t want to skip cake and presents. I adore birthdays! This cake looks amazing. Have a wonderful day!

  40. Happy Birthday! Everyone should celebrate birthdays no matter how old they are. Its your special day to celebrate you and for others to celebrate that you are in their lives. Singing and delicious cake is essential! :) This cake is definitely a celebration cake!

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

  42. 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 ;)

  43. This cake is gorgeous Erin! Happy Birthday! Pinned :)

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

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

  45. 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!

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

  47. Happy belated birthday!

  48. 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!

  49. Avoid eye contact! Happy Birthday! This cake looks divine!

  50. 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!

  51. 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 :-)

  52. 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!

  53. 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.

  54. 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

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

  56. 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

  57. 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!

  58. Can I substitute wheat flour for regular flour? 

    • 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.

  59. 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?

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