Almond crunch cake is a light and airy sponge cake topped with whipped cream, espresso crunch candies, and toasted almonds. It is the perfect sweet dessert for a birthday, baby shower, or bridal shower. Elegant, simple, and utterly delicious.
In the very first year I started blogging, I decided to make my own birthday cake and share the recipe. This beloved almond crunch cake has been long overdue a major update so that you can enjoy this amazing recipe for a special occasion.
At the time, I had only had this cake one other time in my life, 14 years prior. It was so delicious and so memorable, in my mind I could still taste it all those years later.
My bestie nannied for a fantastic family while we were in college. The mom made this awesome dessert for a fancy party she hosted and invited us young students to attend.
I remembered the cake's texture being so unique: light, creamy, and crunchy yet chewy all rolled into one.
It takes a truly incredible recipe to stick with me that long. I hope you take the time to try this for yourself.
- Why This is the Best Recipe
- Cake Ingredients
- Almond Crunch Topping Ingredients
- Tools You Need
- Prep the Cake Batter
- Bake the Cake
- Make the Almond Crunch Topping
- Toast the Almonds
- Make the Homemade Whipped Cream
- How to Assemble the Cake
- Make Ahead Tips
- Serving Suggestions
- More Special Dessert Recipes
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Why This is the Best Recipe
Most of my dessert recipes on this site are meant for beginner bakers, this almond crunch cake is meant for a more advanced baker who wants to make a show stopping dessert for a special occasion.
I think it is the best almond crunch cake recipe for bakers who want to try something a little more challenging because:
- Tested Again and Again: I've made mistakes and documented them all so that you can make this the right way the first time you try.
- Detailed Tips: This is a very long post, unlike my easier and shorter recipes. I did this on purpose so you would have ALL the tips you need for success.
- Perfect Cake: The cake is going to be light and fluffy and delicious.
- Perfect Candy Coating: The texture of the almonds and espresso candy can't be beat.
Ready to have some fun? Let's dig in.
For this elegant cake to turn out, you must have the following ingredients:
- All-Purpose Flour
- Eggs: It is best if they are room temperature
- Lemon Juice
- Vanilla Extract
- Cream of Tartar
- Kosher Salt
- Cold Water
Almond Crunch Topping Ingredients
For the crunchy almond crunch candy topping, you'll also need:
- Instant Coffee: I used espresso powder
- Light Corn Syrup
- Hot Water
- Baking Soda
- Sliced Almond
Tools You Need
This cake does require a few kitchen tools to make it more easily:
- Stand Mixer with a Whisk Attachment
- Hand Mixer
- 10-inch Tube Pan
- Candy Thermometer
- Baking Sheet with Silicone Baking Mat or Parchment Paper
Prep the Cake Batter
To prepare the cake batter, you'll need both a hand mixer and a stand mixer.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and ¾ cup of sugar.
Separate the egg yolks and whites.
Add just the egg yolks to the flour along with the lemon juice and vanilla extract.
Beat them together with the hand mixer until smooth.
In the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat just the egg whites with the cream of tartar and kosher salt until soft peaks form.
Add the remaining ¾ cup sugar just 2 tablespoons at a time while the mixer whisks the egg whites.
Beat until the peaks are stiff.
Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer and scrape down the sides.
Add the flour mixture to the bowl and gently fold it in.
Scrape the cake batter into the 10-inch tube pan.
Use a knife to run lines around the center of the cake batter to break up any air pockets and to level out the batter.
By holding onto the SIDES of the pan, transfer it to the baking sheet.
I suggest just putting the empty cake pan on the baking sheet to start. If you're not careful, you'll wiggle the bottom of the cake pan and the batter will seep under the bottom edges.
Bake the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Use the baking sheet to transfer the cake pan in and out of the oven.
Bake the cake for 50 - 55 minutes or until the cake bounces back when gently pressed.
Invert the pan upside down for the cake to cool for one hour.
Use the bottom of the pan to press the cake out of the mold.
Run a knife or around the bottom edge to separate the cake from the cake form and place it domed side up on a cake plate.
NOTE: My cake did not rise as it should because I forgot the egg yolks. I will bake this again for fresh photos and update the post shortly.
Make the Almond Crunch Topping
Place a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper. You need a prepared place to pour the candy as soon as it is ready.
Combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, and espresso powder in a sauce pan and place it over medium-high heat with a candy thermometer.
Cook until the candy reaches 290°F, the hard crack stage.
Use caution, the sugar will be bubbling, boiling hot.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the baking soda.
Stir vigorously until the mixture thickens and begins to pull away from the pan.
Pour the candy mixture onto the prepared mat and smooth it out a bit.
Let it cool completely before you break it up into smaller chunks.
Transfer the chunks to a plastic baggie and break it up with a rolling pin.
Toast the Almonds
Bake the almonds at 350°F for 1 - 2 minutes or until golden brown.
Be careful, they will burn quickly!
Let cool completely before you try to use them on the cake.
Make the Homemade Whipped Cream
Whip the cream in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Add the sugar and vanilla.
Continue to whip until soft peaks form.
How to Assemble the Cake
With all your elements ready to go, it is time to assemble the cake.
Place the whipped cream on top of the cake.
Carefully and gently smooth it out over the cake sides and top.
Sprinkle the crunchy candy pieces over the top and then sprinkle the almonds.
Gently press them into the cream so they stick.
Make Ahead Tips
As you can see, there is a lot going on with this delicious cake.
You will want to take advantage of your time and make part of it ahead for easier assembly.
Toast the Almonds: You could have these toasted and ready several days before.
Make the Candy: You could prep the crunchy candy pieces up to 2 days in advance. Store them in an airtight container on the counter.
Then you could just bake the cake and make the whipped cream the day of your party and assemble the final dessert.
Do not try to press the candies into the whipped cream any longer than 6 hours before serving or they will soften.
This cake was the true centerpiece of the party where I first encountered it. All the guests raved about it the entire night.
While rich and decadent, it is also very light and would pair well with so many different party menus.
I recommend having a chilled champagne and toasting goblets to go with it!
Almond Crunch Cake
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar divided
- 8 eggs whites and yolks separated
- ¼ cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon salt
Almond Brittle Topping
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoon instant coffee
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup hot water
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
Whipped Cream Frosting
- 2 ½ cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup almond slices toasted
Prepare the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set a 10-inch tube pan on a large baking sheet and set aside.
- Add the flour and just ¾ cup sugar to a large mixing bowl and whisk them together.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the egg yolks, cold water, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Use a hand mixer to beat until smooth.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until soft peaks form. Add the remaining ¾ cup sugar, 2 tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until stiff.
- Fold the flour mixture gently into the egg whites.
- Pour the batter into the tube pan. Do not grease the pan. Cut carefully through the batter, going around the tube 5 or 6 times with a knife, to break air bubbles.
- Use the baking sheet to transfer the cake pan into the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Invert the pan for 1 hour or until cool.
Make the Almond Brittle Topping
- Line a shallow baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the sugar, espresso powder, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan, stirring well.
- Place the sauce pan over medium-high heat and cook to hard crack stage, 290°F. Remove the candy from the heat and add the baking soda. Stir vigorously until mixture blends and pulls away from sides of pan.
- Quickly pour the candy onto the prepared baking sheet. Let it stand until cool. Knock the candy out of the pan and crush it with a rolling pin into small chunks.
Toast the Almonds
- Place the almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake them at 350°F until golden brown, about 1 - 2 minutes. It happens very quickly so keep an eye on them. You may want to stir them once or twice so they brown evenly. Set aside to cool completely.
Make the Whipped Cream
- Whip the cream in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the sugar and vanilla. Continue to whip until soft peaks form.
Assemble the Cake
- Spread the whipped cream evenly over the cake. Cover the top and sides with the candy, lightly pressing into the cream. Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top and gently press in.
- NOTE: Do not press candy and almonds into the cream more than 6 hours before serving or they won't stay crunchy. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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