Monday, April 16, 2012

Guest Post #6: Almost Vegan Almond Joy Cake

I am so excited to have Clare do her guest post.  I have to thank Stephanie for introducing us last fall....the day before we were doing a triathlon relay together...  Clare is an awesome baker and candy maker, plus basically just a kick ass athlete.  Unlike me, she really does complete triathlons and because of her awesome biking skills, along with Stephanie basically being a fish in the water, we pulled out a first in the women's relay.  Any who, I was very excited when Clare agreed to do a guest post, because she is a real deal baker and basically just needs a store front.  Seriously though, she could make you a wedding cake... So, if you like Almond Joy candy bars give this recipe a try, because its awesome!  Enjoy!

That day we were winning...(Me, Clare and Stephanie)

Thanks to Lauren for inviting me to guest post on her blog! This cake was a special request from our mutual friend, Stephanie, for her birthday. Steph likes to combine all her favorite flavors together in a single dessert, so it was no surprise when she suggested a cake that tastes like an Almond Joy candy bar. Almonds, coconut, and chocolate…delicious! This came with a twist, though, because Steph is allergic to dairy. So I put together a combo of vegan almond flavored chocolate cake, delicious gooey coconut and almond filling (much like the inside of an Almond Joy), and light, sticky frosting with coconut flakes stuck all over. It turned out super moist and rich, and I believe, holds just the right balance of the three flavors. Enjoy!

Vegan Almond Chocolate Cake: adapted from Post Punk Kitchen
Makes one 8 inch, 3 layer cake*

3 cups almond milk
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 teaspoons almond extract 

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular (or a mix of both)
2 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

1. Lightly grease three 8 inch round baking pans. Cut three circles of parchment paper, stick to the bottom of each pan, and grease again.

2. Whisk together the almond milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. 

3. While curdling, in a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

4. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla and almond extract to the milk and vinegar and mix well. 

5. Add dry ingredients in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain.

6. Pour the batter evenly into the three pans and bake for 32 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted through the centers comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 5 minutes in the pans before inverting cake onto a cooling rack.

*Note: This makes three very thick layers of cake. If you prefer, cut the recipe by one-third for thinner layers, or just make a two layer cake.  Beware: this is a tall cake! So tall that the top was squished in my cake carrier!

Coconut Filling with Dry Roasted Almondsadapted from Healthy Happy Life

While the cake is baking, you can get started on the coconut filling. When the cakes come out, keep the oven on to dry roast your almonds.

2 1/4 cups shredded coconut, sweetened
2-3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup vegan buttery spread
1 cup (or more) chopped almonds

1. Put the coconut in a dry sauce pan. Stir around over high heat for a minute, lightly toasting the coconut.

2. Reduce heat to medium and add in maple syrup, sugar, vegan butter. Stir around to melt the butter.

3. Add in the coconut milk and continue stirring until coconut browns a bit and absorbs all the liquid. If the mixture seems too wet, add more coconut. Turn off heat and set aside.

4. Chop a cup of whole raw almonds into quarters or smaller. Put almonds on an ungreased baking sheet in the 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. When you open the door you should smell a strong almond flavor – that’s how you know they’re ready. Let almonds cool before stirring them into your coconut mixture.

Seven Minute Frosting with Coconut: from Martha Stewart
*Makes about 4 cups

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3 large egg whites, room temperature
½ teaspoon coconut extract 
1 package sweetened (or unsweetened) coconut for covering the cake
Handful whole almonds for decoration

1. Combine ¾ cup sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Martha says to continue boiling until the temperature of the liquid gets to 230 degrees. I have never been able to get it this high! Not sure if it is an issue with my thermometer or my patience, but I give up at about 190-200 degrees. So far this has not affected my frosting but I can’t make any promises. You’ve been warned!

2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk room temperature egg whites on medium-high until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar, beating to combine.

3. As soon as the syrup has reached 230 degrees (or 190 like me), remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down the side of the bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high and whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form. This should take about 7 minutes.

4. Add ½ teaspoon coconut extract and whisk to combine.

Cake Assembly:

1. Due to the height of this cake, it’s important to level your three layers. It also means you get to taste the cake (my boyfriend’s favorite job)!  I level my cakes with a bread knife.

2. Spread half of the coconut almond filling on top of the first cake layer.

3. Position second cake layer on top, and use remaining filling to cover. Place third and final layer of cake on top.

4. At this point, I might stick this cake in the freezer for a few minutes before frosting to help with crumbs. However, since we’re covering the frosting in coconut flakes, seeing the dark cake through the frosting is less of an issue. Cover entire cake with seven minute frosting.

5. Using your hands, stick coconut flakes all over the frosting. Push lightly to make sure it sticks. This is a very messy process but fun to create a fluffy decoration. Add whole almonds to the top of the cake for decoration. If you have leftover dry roasted almonds, these can also be used as decoration. 


  1. Unnaturally delicious combination! So glad to have the recipe - I'll be making this once a weekend for eternity.
    Love you two girls - and LONG LIVE BANANA BACON VICTORIOUS!

  2. Um, egg whites are not vegan...

    1. True unfortunately only the cake and filling are vegan. Making a quick vanilla buttercream frosting using Earth Balance or even a chocolate buttercream frosting would be an excellent alternative to the 7-minute frosting. Thanks for stopping by my blog!