Almond Joy Cake takes the best candy bar out there and transforms it into an unbelievably decadent layer cake! An easy, homemade coconut cake is layered with fluffy coconut frosting and filling, toasted almonds, and chocolate ganache. Plus, gluten-free adaptations are included so all can enjoy!
This Almond Joy Cake recipe evolved from my quest to find THE BEST coconut cake and frosting recipe IN EXISTENCE. Those are serious words, people.
I wanted a moist coconut layer cake, not dense, using simple ingredients, and still have a solid coconut taste. For the frosting and filling I dreamed of the creamy coconut cream pie or coconut rice pudding, rather than buttercream or cream cheese frosting.
Layering the cake and coconut filling with chocolate ganache and toasted almonds not only catapulted this cake into legendary status, but also made it taste exactly like an Almond Joy Candy Bar.
Of course, if almonds aren’t your thing, leave them out and make a Mounds Cake instead!
How To Make Almond Joy Cake
(Below shows step-by-step photos and modified instructions. For the complete recipe, along with ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card.)
- It takes a couple hours for the chocolate ganache to set up and thicken enough to be spreadable. Start the ganache before you make the coconut cake or quicken the set up time by refrigerating and stirring every 15 minutes until thick.
- After you have the ganache started begin making the coconut cake batter. This cake has a fluffy texture because the egg whites are beaten separately and folded into the batter. I use this similar technique for Fluffy Banana Cake with Fresh Banana Curd Filling.
- Spread the cooled and thickened chocolate ganache on the first cake layer.
- Dollop the fluffy coconut frosting on top the ganache. Use an offset spatula to evenly spread the frosting all over the ganache layer.
- Repeat with other layers and use remaining coconut frosting to cover top and sides of cake.
- Warm remaining ganache slightly in microwave so it becomes pourable.
- Use an offset spatula to spread warmed ganache all over top of cake so it drips down sides.
Best Tips, Tricks, and Hacks
How to Toast Almonds:
There are two ways to do this. One way is placing almonds in a dry skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and toasted about 5 minutes.
Alternatively, place almonds on a small baking sheet and bake at 350ºF in a toaster oven or oven for 5-7 minutes, stirring halfway through
How to Make Homemade Buttermilk Substitute:
In a liquid measuring cup pour in 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Pour regular milk on top until the combined ingredients reach 1 cup mark. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes. The acid of vinegar or lemon juice will curdle milk slightly, but it’s perfectly fine to use.
How to Make Cake Flour Substitute:
For every level cup of regular all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons and but it back in flour bin. Then replace that flour with 2 tablespoons of corn starch. Sift the flour / corn starch mixture together a couple times and it’s ready to use.
Note for gluten free adaptation: I did not do this when I made the cake using Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour because it has a lot of corn starch already in the mix. If you are using a different gluten free baking flour, check the ingredients to see if it contains corn starch.
Using Room Temperature Ingredients:
Room temperature butter, eggs, and dairy ingredients bind together more uniformly, creating a smoother, lighter, and better incorporated batter. Cold ingredients don’t mix together well, which makes for dense, clumpy, flat, or not uniformly textured baked goods.
If you don’t have time to let ingredients come to room temperature, set whole eggs in warm water for a few minutes, soften butter using defrost setting on microwave, or set measuring cup of dairy ingredients in a small bowl of warm water, stirring occasionally.
frequently asked questions
Yes. The frosting is made with cream cheese and Cool Whip, so the cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator. However, it can stay at room temperature for a few hours.
I find, in general, cakes taste better served at room temperature. Taking a bit of the chill off leaves the cake and frosting lighter and fluffier.
Yes. For best results use Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour in place of the cake flour. Cup 4 Cup contains cornstarch so it’s a great gluten free substitute for cake flour.
When baking a gluten free cake, they generally take a few minutes longer because the moisture does not absorb into the starches like traditional flour. Add about 5 minutes to the cooking time, and be sure to check with a toothpick inserted in the middle to see if it’s done in the middle.
Yes. If you are a fan of Mounds candy bars, rather than Almond Joys, simply leave out the almonds in the filling and on the topping.
Yes. If you’d rather use homemade whipped cream instead, simply beat 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream until shaped peaks form. Fold the whipped cream, in place of the Cool Whip, in the frosting recipe.
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Almond Joy Cake
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 5 eggs, separated and room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ¼ cups cake flour, see recipe notes for gluten-free adaptation
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 cups sweetened flaked or shredded coconut
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Coconut Frosting and Filling:
- Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan heat 1 ½ cups heavy cream until just simmering. Pour heated cream over chocolate chips. Let sit for 1 minute and then stir until chocolate is smooth, melted, and well mixed.
- Set the ganache aside to cool and thicken while making and cooling cakes. The ganache will be ready to use when it holds shape and is spreadable (can take up to 2 hours). You can also speed up process by placing it in the refrigerator, just make sure to stir every 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325ºF. Spray THREE 9 inch cake pans with cooking spray. Line each bottom with a cut-to-size parchment or wax paper circle. Spray again and set aside.
- In a large bowl place sugar, softened butter, and vegetable oil. Beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the room temperature egg yolks, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Mix in vanilla, coconut, and almond extracts.
- In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add about ⅓ flour mixture to creamed butter mixture, beat well. Then add ⅓ buttermilk and beat well. Continue alternating between flour and buttermilk, beating between each addition, until all is added. Stir in the coconut and set the batter aside.
- In a separate bowl, with a clean, dry beaters, beat together egg whites and cream of tarter until stiff peaks form. Fold ¼ of beaten egg whites into cake batter. Then gently fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain.
- Divide and spread batter between three prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean (if using gluten free flour, it usually takes a few minutes longer to bake). Cool in pans 10 minutes and then turn onto wire racks to cool completely.
Coconut Frosting / Filling:
- In a medium bowl beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, heavy cream, and extract until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes on high. Fold in whipped topping (or whipped cream) and coconut. Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to frost cake.
- Place one layer of cake on serving platter or cake stand. Spread a layer of ganache on cake and then a layer of coconut frosting. Sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of toasted almonds. Repeat with second layer.
- Place third layer on top. Use remaining coconut frosting to spread over top and sides of cake.
- Transfer the remaining chocolate ganache to a microwave safe bowl. Heat ganache for 15 seconds, or until JUST pourable. Pour ganache on top and use an offset spatula to spread to sides, allowing it to drip down side of cake. Sprinkle ganache with remaining almonds. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, but serve at room temperature for best taste and texture.
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