Almond Joy Cake takes the best candy bar out there and transforms it into an unbelievably decadant layer cake! An easy, homemade coconut cake is layered with fluffy coconut frosting and filling, toasted almonds, and chocolate ganache.
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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Gluten Free Adaptation:
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, it generally takes 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.
Cool Whip Substitution:
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.
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 cornstarch. Sift the flour / cornstarch mixture together a couple times and it's ready to use.Note about gluten-free flour: 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.
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 throughRecipe adapted from Taste of Home and Kraft