almond raspberry layer cake

My mother turned sixty-five last month, a number that’s just impossible for me to get my head around because she’s my mom, and grandmothers are 65, not moms. Oh wait. I think I just got it.

almond battertiny almond cake, cooling on the floorraspberry jam fillingwhipped bittersweet frosting

My mother is the original marzipan fanatic in my family, and the biggest cheering squad behind my single homemade attempt, not to mention all of the other almondflavored confections I’ve given spins on this site. Thus, needless to say, for her birthday, it was an almond cake or bust and this one fit the bill perfectly — a strong almond flavor, and it came together quickly.


By the way, if you find yourself baking cakes for small gatherings, I cannot underscore enough the awesomeness of investing in a set of 6-inch round baking pans. There were just going to be four of us for dinner at the restaurant, so one of my typically giant cakes seemed particularly ridiculous, but that shouldn’t mean that the birthday girl can’t have a real birthday cake. Plus, the volume of a 6-inch round pan is (here comes the fancy math!) just a little shy of half the volume of a 9-inch round which means that you can effectively halve almost any cake recipe and end up with a mini bit of awesome. And, you know, we’re all about the mini bits of awesome around here these days.


Layer Cake Tips: Read these tips before you get started if you’re intimidated by stacked, filled and frosted cakes.

More Celebration Cakes: Not the triple-stacked madness you had in mind? We’ve got cakes a-plenty over here, have fun mixing and matching their parts until you find what you want.

One year ago: Cherry Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
Two years ago: Baked Eggs + Chive Biscuits + Homemade Bloody Marys

Almond Rasberry Layer Cake
Adapted from Sky High. Of course. Always.

The almond cake is pretty intensely flavored, and really quite easy to make — a true “white” cake (as in, no egg yolks, just whites) whose advantages are that they’re pretty and light (and quite traditional for wedding cakes) but having the disadvantage of benefiting from a brush with a simple syrup if you won’t be eating it right away. The raspberry jam filling couldn’t be easier, and whether you cover the cake with a whipped bittersweet ganache (as we did), a Swiss buttercream or cream cheese frosting, it’s guaranteed to be the prettiest little thing to cut into.

Oh, and if you have a friend who loves nothing more than a good seven-layer (rainbow) cookie, don’t resist the temptation to tint the top layer green and the bottom one pink. Gah, can you imagine how adorable it would be?

The Happy Birthday Mom was piped with a handful of white chocolate chips melted with a teaspoon of cream and tinted with blue food dye before letting it thicken to a piping consistency. It was a little puddly to write with, but still so much tastier than those awful tubed things.

Makes a 9-inch triple layer cake that serves 16 to 20 people

4 1/2 cups cake flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup prepared almond paste (7 ounces)
2 2/3 cups sugar
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon almond extract
10 egg whites
1 1/2 cups whole milk

For assembly:
1 cup simple syrup (to keep cake moist)(optional)
1 cup seedless raspberry preserves

Frosting ideas: Swiss Buttercream (with or without two teaspoons of almond extract for flavoring), Cream Cheese Frosting or Whipped Bittersweet Frosting (recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch (but 9-inch will work just fine) round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set the dry ingredients aside.

3. Place the almond paste and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in another large bowl if using a handheld mixer. Begin to cream the mixture on low speed to break up the almond paste, then increase the speed to medium for about 2 minutes, or until the paste is broken into fine particles.

4. Add the butter and almond extract and beat it well, then the egg whites, two or three at a time, beating just long enough to incoperate after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl several times to make sure it is evenly mixed.

5. Dust about a third of the dry ingredients over the batter and fold in with a large rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in about half the milk. Fold in half the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk. Finally, fold in the last of the dry ingredients just until no streaks of white remain. Use a light hand and do not overmix. Divide the batter among the three prepared cake pans.

6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans on wire racks for about 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out on to wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners and let them cool completely, about one hour.

7. Assemble the cake: Place one layer flat side up on a cake stand or serving plate. Slide small strips of waxed paper under the edges to protect the plate from any messiness accumulated while decorating. Brush first layer with simple syrup, if using. Spread 1/2 cup of the raspberry preserves over the cake, leaving a 1/4 inch margin around the edges. Repeat with the second layer, brushing syrup if using and using remaining preserves. Add the third layer and brush with syrup if using.

8. Spread a thin layer frosting of your choice over the top and sides of the cake. Let frosting set in the fridge for about 20 to 30 minutes (this is your crumb coat) then spread a thicker, decorative coat over the base coat. If you have any frosting remaining, pipe a decoration of your choice.

Whipped Bittersweet Frosting

Makes about 3 cups, or enough to coat a three layer 8- or 9-inch cake. You’ll want 1 1/2 this amount if you’re using it for filling as well.

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. Melt the chocolate with the cream in a double boiler or metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk to blend well. Remove from heat and let stand, whisking occasionally, until the chocolate mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise. (No doubt, exactly what you want to think about when making chocolate frosting).

2. Place the butter in a large mixer bowl and with an electric mixer on medium speed, whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the chocolate cream and whip until lighter in color and somewhat stiff, about three minutes. Do not whip too long or the frosting may begin to separate.

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284 comments on almond raspberry layer cake

  1. Sharon

    Looks wonderful, and I’m totally making a “rainbow cookie cake” for my sister’s next birthday. Brilliant! FYI, if you halve the ingredients for a 9″ triple layer cake, you can use 2 8″ pans. The math works out, and it couldn’t be easier (especially if the original recipe calls for an even number of eggs)

  2. Ryan

    Granted, I was a music major in college, but your fancy math has me a bit confused.

    I’m guessing you meant to say, “Plus, the volume of a 6-inch round pan is … just a little shy of **Half** the volume of a 9-inch round” Is that right?

    1. deb

      Ryan — Yes half, music major. :) [Ahem, d’oh! See comment #76.]

      The area of a 6-inch circle is 28.26. The area of a 9-inch circle is 63.5. I do so much math when I bake sometimes, it hurts my brain. That’s what I get for having majored in psychology.

      Abby — Leftover yolks freeze just fine. They’re great for ice cream.

  3. I don’t do math. I’m an editor who only uses her math skills around election season. *Shudder* But I trust you.

    What did you do with all the leftover yolks? (That’s a lot.) Ever tried freezing them?

  4. An absolutely lovely cake! I always think chocolate brown and robin’s egg blue look so brilliant together…

    Thanks for being a constant inspiration!

  5. Please tell me if you use the eggs raw in your ice cream or do you make a cooked custard. Many, many years ago my mother made ice cream with a cooked custard using eggs. Today I know raw eggs are dangerous an I never use them in any recipe. For ice cream I use instant puddings for my own ice cream. Do you think I am overly anxious bcause I won’t use raw eggs.

    1. deb

      Jessica — Funny enough, the color really comes from the fact that white chocolate is a little yellow-y so when you add a drop of blue, it’s a little more turquoise than plain blue. Oh, and then you can pretend that you meant to do that, because it really is prettier.

      Dorothy — I had never heard of ice cream with raw yolks. Every recipe I’ve made cooks them lightly into a custard.

  6. As a certificed chocoholic, I feel confident in saying that this is a truly stunning cake. I can see this going with a nice scoop of buttermilk ice cream (what can I say, I’m from Alabama). :)

  7. Small pans are absolutely the best, I think they make things seem even more special because you made something just for that person! Well, and you, too. ;) And I love that you whipped up your own stuff for the piping, I agree that the stuff in the tube tastes just terrible–and why would you ruin such a beautiful thing with nasty tasting piping?!

  8. My mother is a lover of all things almond, chocolate, and raspberry! Will have to bookmark for future, as it was just her birthday in March, and Mother’s Day last weekend!

  9. Beautiful. Thanks for the tip on the frosting, I’m slightly afraid of the stuff in a tube…seems suspicious that it can be shelf stable for that long and still be edible.

  10. What a pretty cake! Lucky mom! Your frosting recipe is similar to one I use and love. I almost always have some white, homemade, buttercream frosting in the fridge for tinting and piping, but I like your white chocolate idea a lot. Nicely done!

  11. The cake looks delicious. I desperately need to go purchase some new cake pans. I love the idea of the smaller size, and I may just have to buy Sky High to try out the few recipes left that you haven’t shared. ;)

  12. This looks delicious!

    The first cookbook I ever bought for ice cream was the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream book, and the first of their ice cream bases uses eggs without any instructions for heating. It wasn’t my favorite ice cream base in the book, but when it came time to pack I left the Perfect Scoop out and packed the B&J one. Ice cream is definitely one of my favorite treats!

  13. Susan

    Question? Did you think that a tablespoon of almond extract was too much almond flavor? Would you adjust it next time? I’m sure it was an intensely flavored cake, but sometimes there’s a bitter aftertaste with a lot of almond. Was there in this recipe that you noticed? I usually cut almond with vanilla to smooth it out some. Sound reasonable?

  14. Gorgeous. This could be the perfect cake for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday. I’ve even got the 6-inch pans. Have you ever flavored the simple syrup with, say, orange zest? Do you think it would compete with the almond?

  15. Looks really good!

    I am topying with weddign cake recipes for my sisters wedding. Would this be a good one? the cake rather than the frosting (which will probs be white). Is it strucural? Can it withstand weight?

    Also, the marizpan makes me thinkof my sesmae pastes I’ve been making lateley. Wondering if I can switch it out…

  16. Susan

    BTW….I do realize that if you halved the cake recipe, that you used only 1 1/2 tsp of almond extract. It’s still alot of flavor!

    1. deb

      Susan — Actually, I thought it was a colossal amount of almond extract. It was hard for me to put the whole amount in because I was so sure it would be a disaster. But when it baked, it was a bit mellowed, and remember, I was making this for a marzipan fanatic, so there’s no such thing as too much almond extract. (I learned when I made marzipan that the flavor is 75% extract, 25% actual ground almonds.) But, if you’re concerned, definitely dial it back.

  17. Ann

    oh….. you are making me look so bad in making a simple single layer glazed cake for my wonderful Father for his birthday. I did stretch and make creme fraiche mixed with lemon curd which he inhaled and later almost licked the bowl clean – told me to make it again ANYTIME and not to forget the topping. So maybe I am ok, but this one for your Mom – WOW!! Wish someone loved me enough to bake this for my birthday! Maybe this year, I bake it for myself. Thanks for one of my favorite Blogs!

    1. deb

      Recessionipes — They’re different books. Sky High is ALL layer cakes, frostings, fillings. If you make a lot of birthday cakes, you should have it. Baked is great, it’s got a lot of nostalgic flavors like butterscotch pudding (tartlets) and peanut butter bars and chocolate malt things, only a few layer cake recipes.

  18. I imagine that the almond paste keeps it fairly moist without resorting to simple syrup — nuts always seem hygroscopic in cakes. Does the chocolate overwhelm the almond flavor though?

  19. This looks amazing. I am trying to decide on a suitably awe inspiring birthday cake for my 30th and a tripe layer extravaganza might just fit the bill.

  20. alix

    Deb, the cake looks great. Your mother is so lucky to have such a good chef as a daughter. One quick questions though… I’ve had so much bad luck with melting white chocolate. I’m wondering, since you seem to have successfully melted and used it if you have any brand recommendation for white chocolate? Hopefully, it’s recession friendly and not too hard to find. thanks!

  21. deb

    Alix — Me too, many times. Make sure you buy a real white chocolate (even Ghiradelli sells “white chips” which are not real chocolate and melt terribly) that is labeled as such. I buy Callebaut white chocolate pieces at the New York Cake and Baking Supply on 22nd Street sometimes; that’s what I had on hand.

  22. Jess

    I just have to say that I love Sky High and would have never found it without you. Gracias from the bottom of my cake-lovin’ heart. If you haven’t made the marbled lemon-blueberry butter cake, it’s divine. Your mom would probably also really dig on the chocolate cake with almond cream filling on page 59. It’s super yummy, though the next time I make it, I am going to cut back on the almond in the cream filling because it was a bit much. But the frosting and apricots more than made up for it!

  23. Beatiful cake! This is a rhetorical question, but how do you get your frosting to be so nice and even?? I was frosting a cake last night for 20 minutes and it really wasn’t going well (even with a crumb coat). And then I sighed, gave up, and took a few swipes at the bowl of Nutella buttercream. Gah!

  24. Thanks! Makes me miss my Mum, her birthday was on Tuesday. She would have loved that cake. I love the frosting. I’m going to send her your recipe for the frosting, she will love that.

  25. Ah, I love the encouragement to get 6-inch pans. I’ve been wanting a set for exactly the reasons you describe – half of a regular-sized recipe and extreme cuteness.

  26. Mary

    As for the leftover egg yolks: mayonnaise! Homemade mayonnaise is easy-peasy, especially in a food processor, and astronomically better than anything that comes in a jar! And you can make it as heavy/light as you want, and flavor it for your own use. I even like an extra egg yolk in mine, makes it nice and rich and yellow. Just don’t try to make it before or during a thunderstorm. Granny was right, simply will not work.

  27. Jessica

    A lovely cake, but I am really commenting on the memory of that cherry cornmeal upside down cake – I made that last year after you posted it, when I was newly pregnant myself. It brought back lots of happy early pregnancy memories – and now I have a 4.5 month old baby girl sleeping in the next room! Enjoy your pregnancy, it is such a special time! Congratulations :)

  28. Rose

    I’ve seen so many recipes from “Sky High” that I want to try… but I only own two round cake pans (9″), because that’s what most of my other cake recipes use. Seems like a lot of “Sky High” cakes are written for three 8-inch pans, so I’m excited to see this one written for 9″. There’s no room for new pans in my teeny kitchen.

    If I didn’t want to risk a math malfunction (dividing 10 egg whites by 3, say), do you think it’d work to make this cake in two 9″ rounds plus some cupcakes? If so, think I’d get a full dozen cupcakes out of 1/3 the batter?

    1. deb

      Rose — Ha. Thanks for noting that because I mistyped it — it is actually 8-inch. HOWEVER, I also own only two 9-inch pans and always use them instead. Every recipe you’ve seen on this site from that book has been made in the larger pans. The layers might be slightly thinner (very slightly) but nobody will ever be the wiser because the cakes are so tall to begin with.

      RJ — The mention of 6-inch cake pans is linked to Amazon, where you can buy them. I have bought miniature (4-inch, I think) pie tins there too.

  29. Get out of my head! It seems like everything I’m craving, you make before I get a chance to do it! This looks wonderful, I’m about 100% positive that I will love it! Thanks for being awesome.

  30. The bit about 6″ vs 9″ pans made me laugh out loud as I spent nearly an hour in the cooking store today … on the phone with my guy … debating the size of cake pans I should get. I waffled and waffled until I’m sure he could have smacked me (had he been there) and I finally settled on 2 9″ pans and 2 6″ pans. Nice to know my decision was a good one!

    I’m definitely going to try this recipe now that I’m in cake baking mode.

    1. deb

      Yes, fixed now. And now I realize that’s exactly what Ryan (#2) was talking about — I thought he’d been questioning how 6″ could be half of 9″, d’oh. Thanks to both of you! I’m a little extra slow these days.

  31. Tamsin

    I’ve only recently discovered your site and I think it’s fabulous. I love almond and raspberries together and really want to have a go at this cake but I’ve never come across almond paste in the UK before. Is it anything like marzipan? I imagine almond paste contains less sugar so perhaps I could try using marzipan and cutting out the sugar. Otherwise does anyone have a recipe for almond paste?

    1. deb

      Tamsin — Yes, it tastes exactly like marzipan. Marzipan has a couple extra stabilizers in it — which make it easier to mold into those shapes you always see — but in a pinch, could probably replace the almond paste in this recipe.

  32. Boy, you can really ice a cake…. so smooth. Thanks for all the cake baking tips, today and always. My cakes always look like a 3rd grader made them. Working on it though. This one sounds delectable….almonds and raspberries…. mmmmm.

  33. Oh wow, that does look sumptuous!
    I was also going to ask what you do with all the leftover yolks (10!!) because aside from a ginger cookie recipe that I’ve got, I don’t have anything that requires yolks. (I keep hoping for more though, since I love meringue — the ultimate use for leftover whites!)

    I haven’t tried making my own ice cream yet though, so thanks for the ideas deb (and others!)

  34. JC

    You’re right about the photos in restaurants! Sort of detracts from the fun when you demand that no one take a bite before you squat down to take the perfect photo. I was being selfish :) Thanks for responding though!

    Based on the number of cakes I need to bake a year, and my firm aversion to anything in a box, I think I need to buy that book from Amazon!

  35. Connie

    What flavor ice cream do you think would go best with this cake? I mean, a girl’s gotta have ice cream with her cake and with all those leftover yolks…

  36. stephen

    hello! ok, so i am going to attempt this cake tomorrow for a birthday party – can i buy egg whites at the store in the little container and use them, or are fresh egg whites actually from a real egg better? any suggestions?

  37. Rebecca

    When you make birthday cakes, how much input do you get from the Birthday boy or girl on flavor? Do you surprise them with something you’re sure they’d like as it seems you did here, or ask for suggestions?

    1. deb

      Well, it was my mom, I know what she likes. And if I know what the person likes, I don’t ask. In fact, I can think of very few times I’ve had to ask because I’m always making them for friends and family and I have an uncanny ability to remember what everyone likes and loathes (including how they like their coffee. Seriously.). It is practically the only thing I am good at remembering.

  38. Liz

    Brilliant idea about the rainbow cookie cake! I DO have a friend who loves those and she has a bday coming up this summer…

  39. Susan

    Question..again! What’s the approximate time for baking the 6 inch cakes? I always check early, but don’t want to keep opening and closing the oven door unncessarily. BTW..How’s the new oven for baking? Running true? Thanks.

    1. deb

      Allison — You buy it. It comes in tubes or cans in the baking section of your grocery store, usually. Or you can get it in a specialty shop, baking supply store or order it online.

      Susan — I don’t remember. I would start checking at halfway through the time and every five minutes from there. (I do remember it being more than half the baking time of a 9-inch but my old oven was so cool, everything took forever so it’s best to just check early and often. New oven, only used twice, seems far more accurate.)

  40. Nuala

    deb– what do you usually use to do the writing on your cakes? i’ve tried mixing powdered sugar with water but always end up with something too thick that doesn’t stick to the cake, or something too thin that’s running all over the place. suggestions?

    1. deb

      Nuala — In the recipe notes, I explain that I wrote on the cake with white chocolate. If I had started with a lighter frosting, I’d have just tinted that.

  41. Dawn in CA

    Okay, maybe I am a bit slow these days, too (although I can’t blame it on being pregnant, since my youngest kids are almost 4…). Deb, I am so confused after reading your comment #72. If you only own two 9-inch pans, do you still make a triple layer cake? Do you bake two, turn them out, and then bake the third on its own? Or do you mean that you take the triple-layer recipe and bake only a double-layer cake? Yes, these are the burning questions in my mind this morning. Thanks.

    The cake looks delicious and adorable, BTW. Great advice on the 6-inch pans.

    1. deb

      Dawn — Yes, I bake two and then bake the third layer after. Takes longer but I’m so stubborn about buying extra things (obviously, I’m overdue for that third 9-inch pan) and seriously, in our new kitchen I barely have room for ten baking pans, nonetheless the 50 (approximation, but could be!) I have, so it’s hard to convince myself I’m wrong in being stingy about that third one!

      Sharon — Just practice. Get a good long flat or offset spatula and play around. It’s never perfect. Whipped frostings (like this) and Swiss buttercreams get the smoothest — it has to do with the recipe too.

  42. Anne

    Looks so yummy! You should get a commission for marketing the Sky High book. I bought it after I saw your peanut butter chocolate cake, and it’s totally wonderful. I’ve gotten so used to always making 3-layer cakes now, I made a 2-layer last month and it seemed so lackluster (well, until I devoured a slice of course) :)

  43. regina

    hi deb. cake looks yummy. and i loved the 7 layer cookie from your site. i made it for new year’s. have you ever tried just melting the chocolate and not mixing anything in? check out the book whimsical bakehouse by hansen and hansen. it’s surprisingly easy and i always just write on parchment paper, so i can have more than one go at it. just lift it off and place it on the cake. i have even traced my son’s drawings of guitars and tractors out of chocolate and put them on a cake. love your site.

  44. Danielle

    yummmm, I love this book as well! Have you tried the coconut cake? AMAZING! (if you haven’t let the frosting sit in the fridge for awhile before attempting to ice the cake, it’s runny, but firms up nicely). I now make my co-workers pick from this book which cake they would like for their birthday, hehehe. This looks delish, I might make it for father’s day!

  45. Happy birthday Deb’s Mom! Thanks for sharing so many of your amazing recipes with her (and us!) and I wish you many more healthy and happy years ahead of you.
    Deb, this cake looks fantastic! I actually just got myself 6-in baking pans and they are just the perfect size, I love them!

  46. That cake definately does not look bad to eat at all :) I should buy three six inch cake pans immediately!! I made your Pink Lady Cake from Sky High and it turned out quite well! -Chris Ann

  47. woohoo! having 6′ pans would look adorable. One cake for the party, one cake for ME! hehe. perfect!

    there are a few more birthdays coming up. so this should be very helpful…

    have a nice weekend everyone!

  48. Yes, love and completely agree with your suggestion re: a smaller cake tin. I have a few different sizes for the same reason. Sometimes you just want to have a cake, but don’t want the massive-ness of a regular size one. My mum turned 70 a couple of years ago and that freaked me out a little, too. I thought “EEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKK!!!”. BTW, love the simple decoration on this cake. Something I have to learn to be more patient with myself! Lovely job.

  49. I just wanted to say I tried your broccoli slaw and am in HEAVEN. It is so tasty. It’s 10:00 at night and I want to go back for another helping. Thank you so much!

  50. Sandy (MA)

    I’ve been a follower of your site since I learned about your blog from an article in the Boston Globe in 2007 and have been hooked ever since — you do great work — thank you!!!

    Question: What size decorating tip did you use for the star rosettes on the cake?

  51. annie

    Oh, what deliciousness this must be…my mom loves raspberry and I adore marzipan.. a cake made in heaven! Happy Birthday, Deb’s mom! Lucky daughter, luck mom!

  52. Deb, I’m a new reader and found you from the recommendation in Entertainment Weekly. Lovely cake. My 5yo son was reading over my shoulder as I brought up your site, and he went wide eyed when he saw it.

    My husband is reading Jacques Pepin’s Complete Techniques, after we saw it recommended by Tom Colicchio in a recent NYT magazine:

    Pepin says that freezing egg whites is fine, but not yolks, as the bacteria in yolks doesn’t get killed till some ridiculously low temp. Mayonnaise is a great idea, as is a high cholesterol omelet or frittata, mixing them with an equal number of whole eggs, or a Caesar salad. Nigella Lawson has a lovely lemon linguine recipe that calls for at least one raw egg yolk.

    @ Dorothy, that raw eggs are bad is up for debate. There are raw egg advocates who maintain that raw ones have increased health benefits over cooked, as long as they’re fresh and healthfully produced, not factory farmed.

  53. Mila

    wow, that cake looks divine!!!!!!! my mouth is already watering!!!! i’m definitely gonna have to find an excuse to make that this week ;)

  54. Lindsay

    I made this cake yesterday and while it turned out absolutely beautiful it was decidedly dry. I’m regretting not brushing with a syrup – completely forgot this step before frosting. I also think that I ended up mixing too much, which I did because the almond paste really was difficult to cream into the sugar and I was concerned about the lumps it left in the batter. Oh well, cake lesson learned.

  55. JulieH

    Thanks so much for the tip re: 6″ pans. I am quite comfortable with le math, but never bothered to actually do it, as I didn’t know I could get a 6″ pan! There’s only two of us in my household (not counting the cat) … and there is still a chunk of your chocolate-peanut butter cake in my freezer from October (Alex is aghast, I’m sure). Now I can make red-velvet cake, and not make too much! So – thanks very much.

  56. You mentioned not wanting to buy a third 9″ pan, so I thought I’d share with you my “cheat”. I have a 9″ springform pan that I use as that third. It’s actually very nice, just slip a piece of parchment over the bottom and snap the frame tight before you grease/flour it and it’s pretty much strong enough to handle almost any batter, not to mention it’s a breeze to unmold.

  57. My Mom died just a few months after she turned 65. I baked her a cake and in the humid Texas air, the happy birthday scribble on top of the Italian meringue slide right off the top of the cake. (I’m sure it had nothing to do with how stable my Italian meringue was). Anyway, congratulations on your Mom’s 65th, and I know how lucky you both are to celebrate it together.

  58. Happy b’day to your mommy! I miss my mom … we live pretty far apart these days, and I don’t usually get to be there for her b’day :( But it’s all good, ‘coz I spoil her when we do meet up (and get completely spoiled rotten in return). That cake has got all the right elements for me … almondy, fruity AND chocolatey. Hallelujah!

  59. I’m looking for a white or lemon cake recipe that I can make for my best friend’s baby shower. Can this one be adapted just exclude the almond paste and extract? Thanks!

  60. Jess

    I got married two weeks ago and this was our wedding cake (except with plain buttercream icing) – I’m so excited to have the recipe for future celebrations! Thanks Deb!!

  61. Ooh is that a le creuset spatula in the batter-in-the-tin photo? I love those things, I nearly cried when it got caught on the blade of my food processor and got split in half!

    The cake looks divine! Do you reckon it would be too sweet/not as nice with a chocolate filling rather than the raspberry jam?

  62. I, too, am a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE fan of all things almond/marzipan. My German roots have certainly contributed to this.

    But what I really wanted to say is that this recipe was a HUMONGOUS hit at my very good friend’s baby shower.

    Huge. Huge. HUGE. hit.

    I made a few allowances, like changing the almond paste to marzipan (because that’s what I had on hand) and using a delicious peach-pomegranate jam instead of raspberry and it turned out amazingly. The recipe for the buttercream icing really did the trick. Not too heavy, not too sweet, but JUST right.

    Thank you so much for blogging all of this stuff. I can’t tell you how many recipes I’ve used from here. And that cake? I’ll be making that repeatedly – for every special occasion I can come across.

    Hm. I wonder who’s birthday is next…

  63. Shannon

    I’m excited to try this cake for my husband’s birthday, but I have a question…do you flavor your simple syrup (almond, for example)?


  64. Kelli

    I know this is TERRIBLY lazy, but rather than separating all those eggs could I use an egg white subsitute? Would it affect the quality of the finished cake? Or should I just not cut corners when I’m baking? :)

    1. deb

      Hi Kelli — Have never tried to use an egg white substitute before, and certainly not with this cake, but if the box (carton?) suggests it swaps well with fresh ones in baking, I’d say give it a try. And let us know how it goes. I am sure others out there are curious.

  65. Jeniyo

    Since is this is so high, i’m debating whether i should make a 8″ square or 8″ circle+ 4″ circle tier??
    would either work? i’m worried about the balancing act when trying to cut thinner slices of a tall cake since we’ll have around 15 people..

  66. Hi! I baked the cake layers yesterday and it turned out great. i picked off a piece where the big bubble is and had an initial taste. i can somehow taste the fine specks of almond pieces. i was pretty sure mine was broken up as much as possible. is this normal?

    I plan to put whipped mascarpone cream and fresh raspberries in the middle. the dark chocolate whipped ganache outside. I hope this one works out!

  67. deb

    Big bubble? Almond paste tends to want to stay clumped; your best bet is to beat it for a long time with the sugar to make sure it is smooth, and ready to incorporate other ingredients.

  68. yup… i’ve made my share of cakes but sometimes, the cake come out with a nice crumb and minimal “large” bubbles, sometimes it gives me a swiss cheese effect. I am sure it tastes fine either way but always wondered what makes a difference..

    i cut the tops of the cakes last nite. the cake is a bit dry. i’m gonna brush on some syrup the day of frosting. Thanks your writing me back!

    And by the way, my husband and won the lottery to run the NY marathon in November. I’m excited cuz i’ve never been to the EC! woohoo! can you point out one or 2 of your favorite bakeries or restaurants (unfortunately not flecked with gold though)?

  69. Erin

    I made this cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday–she absolutely loved it! It was delicious and moist. I made sure to beat the sugar and almond paste together for a long while until it looked like fine sand before adding everything in. I did brush all of the layers with a simple syrup that I had added a little vanilla extract to. The almond flavor was lovely and not overpowering at all, even using all of the almond extract called for. I actually can’t wait to make this cake again–I think I might make it for my sister-in-law’s baby shower. Thanks Deb!

  70. hey sara! i’m a big fan of excel. copy and paste the recipe on excel, add and extra column and divide the numbers by half and drag down!! =) make sure you hide the original 2x amounts so you don’t get confused.

    by the way. i made these with fresh raspberries and mascarpone cream in the middle in 8″ squares. The cake definitely need the syrup. the peeps loves it, unfortunately, i didn’t get a chance to see/taste it. This just means i have to make it again!

  71. Jenny

    Beautiful cake! I love almonds, almond paste and marzipan in any form. It is my mom’s 60th in 2 weeks and I plan to make the cake portion of this, but am thinking about a lemon buttercream for the frosting. When you say that you bake 2 layers and then wait to bake the 3rd once the other pan is free, don’t you have some problems with the levening in the 3rd layer since it has been sitting around?

  72. Anna

    Deb, I thought you might want to know that The Olympian Newspaper used your birthday cake photo for their August Birthdays Column. They didn’t put in on their web site so I can’t send you a link. I saw it and immediatly knew it was your almond raspberry layer cake!!! Yay!

  73. Carmela

    Deb – Thanks for the great recipe, i’ve been searching forever for a cake like this for my brother in laws b’day. He loved it so much, he asked if i could make it every year. lol
    Maybe you can tell me what I did wrong though, the cake came out a little dry (i used 8 in square pans), even though i brushed the simple syrup on it. Also, it has the same sheen as my 7 layer cookies usually do, but your cake seems to look more like a cake cake, not so glossy.
    Thanks so much for you input!!

  74. Mels

    Deb- not sure if you’re still answering questions on this – but plan to make this for the bf’s birthday. I know you’ve gone over this approx. 40 thousand times but just one more please because I’m a spaz in the kitchen?… Am I correct in understanding I can halve this recipe, and make it in 3 6″ pans? Or use 2 pans and then bake the other layer? And if I use 3 pans and bake them all at the same time, how do I arrange them in the oven? Thank you SO much!!

  75. Wendy

    I made this cake for my daughters 21st birthday and colored each layer to resemble a rainbow cookie. I could not find almond paste, so used almond filling (Solo). I used the simple syrup and baked the cakes in 8 inch pans. The cake looked and tasted fantastic. If I were to do this cake again, I would use 2 8 inch pans, and make a total of fourthinner layers. Using the recipe “as is” yielded too much cake for the filling, but YUMMY!!!

  76. Wendy

    Okay…I tried it again. This time I found the almond paste, but used half paste, and half Solo Almond filling. I baked it in the three 9 inch pans (I found they had to bake a bit longer). When cooled, I cut each into 2 layers. I made the cake with 5 layers, and saved the 6th the munch on. It was the perfect height and the perfect cake to jam ratio with the thinner layers. This one’s a keeper.

  77. Laura

    I found this through the chewy Ameretti Cookie recipe (which I adore). I am wheat-free but have just decided I *must* adapt this cake. I must, must, must!

  78. Maria

    I have to say, I made this cake and it was delicious! Just absolutely delicious. I had problems getting the almond paste to get to a fine consistency and found that it worked best when I crumbled it up with my hands, then used the mixer. 10 egg whites is a lot but the cake was so fragrant and the simple syrup made it so moist. I can’t say enough about this cake. I had some leftover frosting, for which my roommate is very grateful :) and I have been getting RAVE reviews. Thanks so much for this delicious recipe! It smells and reminds me of the rainbow cookies (7-layer) that they sell in the italian pastry shops in my neighborhood.

  79. Meg

    Made this today (was planned, the brownies were unplanned) for my Dad’s 50th birthday. He does NOT want a party, so it was just dessert, not an “official” birthday cake. Everyone loved it.

    I found it quite hard to work with the almond paste and my hand mixer. I did crumble it up with my hands first, and it was still hard to get smooth, and contain all the bits in my bowl. I ended up dumping it into the food processor, which worked well. Next time, I’ll start that way and use the mixer after…unless I finally buy a stand mixer.

    I did two 10 inch square pans (took 45min to bake), with homemade raspberry jam and a buttercream frosting (similar to swiss meringue but using whole eggs).

  80. Megan

    I made this Friday for a gathering my mom was having and everyone loved it. The bittersweet chocolate frosting was intense but worked so well with the sweetness of the cake. There were two pieces left last night and I opted for the larger one – don’t know if that was necessary:)

  81. thewheeler

    I just made this cake and it was pretty awesome. Since some people said it was dry, I divided the cake batter into 6 8″ pans (baking 2 at a time) and make sure to take them out as soon as the edges started to brown (about 25 min). It made a gigantic six-layer cake (probably dont need six, but the thickness of the layers was just right). I put the simple syrup (with a little kalhua in it) on each layer and put jam on each with the frosting in between the first and last three layers. It was delicious and beautiful. I thought the frosting was only okay though – somehow the butter just tastes weird.

  82. Maysem

    I made this cake and it came out dry. Do you know what I may have done wrong? I was thinking it could be the milk. I used 1% (we only buy 1% or 2%). Would that have made a difference? Also, in general, when a baking recipe calls for “milk”, does the type of milk matter?

  83. Toni

    My husband made this cake for me yesterday for my birthday, and I have to thank you! It was amazingly good. I think it will be my requested birthday cake from now on. FYI, he made 2-8″ layers from 1/2 the recipe, and it turned out great!

  84. Erica

    Hi Deb–first time commenter here and first I must say I absolutely love this blog (and your boy is so beautiful!)

    I made this cake for my almond-loving grandmother on her 87th birthday last weekend (she has a July 4th birthday, so of course she needs a sky-high cake) and it was a such a hit! Everyone loved it–thank you so much for the recipe!

  85. Jen

    Hi Deb,
    Just wondering ~ can the whipped bittersweet frosting be made ahead of time? Any suggestions? I was thinking I could make it the night before, refrigerate it, and then let it come to room temperature before piping it the next day? Thanks!

  86. No way! I totally made almost the same thing in quarter-sheet cake form a few weeks ago, except without the almond paste, and I can’t agree more about the deliciousness of that combination. I probably put almond extract in more things than I should, but it’s just so yummy! I brushed mine with Chambord, but simple syrup is a good idea for those adverse to liquor…I always forget those people exist. I definitely need that book!

  87. Gluten free girl

    Huge success. I made the 6″ version gluten free using marzipan instead of almond paste which contains glucose syrup of unknown origin and gluten free all purpose flour from Gluten-Free Pantry because it has such a fine texture.
    Maripan and sugar had to be blended in mini food processor for proper mix.

  88. Gluten free girl

    For gluten free frosting all heavy creams contained mono and diglycerides but found Hood light cream is ok. So had to chill the frosting in bowl of ice water to make it spreadable. Cake held together great and was loved by all.

  89. Brie

    This looks amazing. So amazing, I’m thinking of making it for a wedding cake…for my wedding (and yes I’m aware how crazy that sounds). What are your thoughts about using already separated egg whites? At the grocery store, I noticed one brand uses 100% egg whites. I’m very skeptical, but at the same time separating 5 dozen eggs makes my head hurt.

  90. Alexis

    Gluten free girl: That’s a problem with supermarket ultrapasteurized cream. If you try Whole Foods/a good HFS/farmers market stall, they usually sell plain pasteurized heavy cream which doesn’t have stabilizers added. It whips better and is often higher fat than the UP kind, too–I buy it whenever I can get it.

  91. Gluten free girl

    Thanks Alexis, will look at Whole Foods to be ready for next time. This is such a great cake. Will definitely make it again.

  92. This was AMAZING. My best, most favorite cake yet. I bake a lot, but this was actually only the third cake I’ve ever made. Beautiful. I made a pink butter cream, frosting and then lined the rim with raspberries. I also made this a four layer cake and added a cream layer in the middle (this was inspired by the cream in a marzipan princess cake). I also used about a table spoon or more of almond paste because the jar I got had a little more left and I didnt want to waste it and it wasnt to almondy at all.
    I love almond and raspberry, and together it is to die for.
    If you like marzipan and raspberries you will LOVE this cake.

  93. I LOVE my 6 inch cake pans – I have four of them, just right (as you mentioned) for halving a cake mix. I also plan on using it to try and make a two layer cake from a gluten-free cake mix. Most of those are only meant to make one layer. Well… being who I am (a can-do baker!) I decided to buy two cake mixes and make a double layered cake. WRONG! Oh, it was delicious, but that baby cracked under the mass. I am hoping that it was because the cake was so wide. We’ll see…

  94. Mandy

    Thank you so much for this. It is my new favorite. I bake a lot of birthday cakes for my family and there have been a lot of favorites over the years.

    I’d been looking for something with almond and buttercream. I used this cake recipe (without the almond paste because I didn’t have any on hand and I was working a little last minute; it was still fantstic). I made Italian meringue buttercream from Epicurious and I added a teaspoon of almond extract. I spread seedless raspberry jam and buttercream between the three layers and covered it all with buttercream. It was totally fantastic.

  95. Lauren

    Do you think I could use almond or soy milk rather than whole milk? Will it make the cake too dry or make the flavor too almondy (almond paste, almond extract, almond milk…sounds great to me but I’d like the expert’s opinion!)?

  96. Emma

    Hello there! After recently discovering your website (hyperventilating!) this was the first recipe I tried. I am a pastry chef at a French restaurant in western Massachusetts and i just had to try this. I want to say that the cake was easy to make and came out of the pans easily. The simple syrup brushing is a fabulous technique. The use of raspberry preserves sandwiched between is also brilliant. My only complaint is the bittersweet frosting. Perhaps I over whipped it, but it ended up seemingly, oily? and the flavor was sub-par in comparison to the rest of the cake. (Although the crumb coat was helpful and the second layer went on easily and presented wonderfully). I am wondering if you could suggest a different frosting recipe. Something light (so it wont pull chunks off when im trying to set the first layer) but a bit more flavorful than the suggested recipe. Perhaps i just overmixed it. suggestions?

  97. Rose

    Hi. I am hoping to make this for my husband’s 60th (!) later this week and am wondering if you might offer some clarification – I am planning halving the recipe and using 6″ pans and am wondering about the salt and baking powder amounts, should I just cut the amount in half and reduce them to 3/8 t. salt and 2 1/4 t. powder. Thanks in advance.

  98. Rose

    Thanks Deb for the speedy reply. btw, I want to also thank you for the Petit-Four cake recipe, I made it for my daughter’s b’day and she in term made it as a going away gift for a teacher – that cake is a winner. I’ve got a feeling that this cake will be too.

  99. Gabby

    what in the world is simple syrup? and how does one subsititute for cake flour???
    it looks delicious – so good in fact I’m going to make it for a community auction and pieces will get sold!!! Im so excited but the only bummer is i dont get to eat it!!

  100. Kristina

    Question for you Deb. I made this recipe and halved it. The cake was in for 30 minutes and did not set at all in the center. Any ideas as to why?

    1. deb

      Did a tester come out clean? Baking times vary in different ovens, and definitely when you’re changing the size of the cake; the safest thing is always to make sure that the tester comes out clean.

  101. So good! I made a mini cake (1/8!) for my almond/marzipan-obsessed roommate this Valentine’s day and combined the recipe for this and the recipe for your pistachio petite four cake to make it… using the almond cake, substituting in strawberry jam, placing in sheets of marzipan and topping it with more marzipan and sliced almonds. It was a hit! My roommate tore through 1/2 of the cake by the next day!! Thank you! :)

  102. Hillary

    Hi Deb, I am attempting to make this for my bff/roommate’s birthday, and I’m trying to make it in advance AND be sneaky about it (we’ll see how that goes). I know you’re the queen of making cakes ahead of time and freezing them, and upon reading your tips about leveling cakes (SO helpful!) I see how I can properly utilize my freezer, but I have a few questions, if you please:
    After baking, flash freezing, and leveling, do you THEN pour on the simple syrup and then freeze again to assemble later?
    Once ready for assembly, you can just do so by popping the cakes right out of the freezer, right?
    Would you say the assembled and decorated cake would keep in the fridge (or freezer?) for about a day?
    Silly questions, I know…but thank you!

  103. Rachel

    Hi Deb–this cake looks beautiful!
    Quick question–how much food dye do you think it would take to make this cake look like an Italian rainbow layer cookie?

  104. I got my direction for piping chocolate from the cookbook Hello, Cupcake!

    I take white chocolate melting wafers and put them in a ziplock or a piping bag. I microwave them at 50%, checking every 15 seconds or so and massaging them until it’s melted. I’m then good to pipe! It’s never failed me. I pipe it on to parchment on a cookie sheet then put it in the fridge for 5 mins to place on cheesecakes or flat-iced cakes, or just pipe it straight on to cakes. I haven’t tried adding cream but I will next time for a more liquid look!

    Side note- love your blog and celebration cakes category! I bought Sky High Cakes and couldn’t be happier with it! I suggest trying the Triple Lemon Chiffon Cake with the almond oil- delicious and beautifully flavoured. I can’t wait to make it again.

  105. Matt

    I love this frosting; probably one of the smoothest I’ve ever worked with. Can you think of something like this without the chocolate? I’m not sure if the chocolate adds to the smoothness or not.

  106. leigh

    Hi. Having trouble finding the almond paste. If I leave it out will it affect anything other than the taste.



  107. Jia

    Great recipe! I used a little less than the 7oz container of almond paste because I was scarred the cake would be too almond-y but the cake turned out perfect. My mom loved it for her bday today which made the chocolatey mess in my kitchen all the more worthwhile:) I had a little trouble getting the almond paste to blend in smoothly but that might just be my hand-blender. Oh I thinned out the raspberry with a little water to use instead of simple syrup for more raspberry flavor… Definitely making it again!

  108. Danielle D

    Heeeeelp! I’m trying to make the Whipped Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting and it’s soup! I’ve tried to add some thickeners (cornstarch and *cringe* powdered sugar) and it’s still not coming together. What did I do wrong?

  109. Sara M

    I wished there had been more reviews on how this cake actually TASTED. Yes, it is gorgeous. The version I made (with the Swiss buttercream + almond extract and raspberries on top for garnish) was stunning (stunning!). But as far as flavor goes-not a show stopper. I will keep the cake recipe and next time, half the recipe and make the cake as a sheet cake with a raspberry compote or some sort of a tart fruit topping instead. The almond in the cake is so rich and baking it gives the edges a delicious caramelized texture that was lost once frosted. The raspberry jam (which is so sweet) would be better replaced with something a little more tart to compliment the sweet almond.

  110. dancing gal

    Hi Deb!
    Following your “invitation” to do so, I’m mixing and matching different parts of different cakes* for a friend’s birthday. Given I’m a novice at layered/filled/frosted cakes (to be precise, this is the second time I’m frosting a cake, the first one was your dobos torte last September), I have a somewhat stupid question:
    Supposing I should keep the frosted cake in the fridge between frosting and serving, should I bring it to room temperature before serving? I’m not sure if it’s just a matter of taste or if it has to do with the cake’s (and/or the frosting’s) consistency/texture/etc, that’s why I’m asking, mostly.

    Thanks so much!

    *promise, I’ll share my mix’n’match adventures afterwards!!!

    ps: I saw a friend earlier, whom I introduced recently to your site, and we were talking about how much we love the fact that you make everything seem so easy, and thus, no recipe is intimidating or scary! Oh, and how great these recipes are ;)

  111. dancing gal

    Just re-read my comment and realised I forgot to mention what is obvious to me, that I’m using THIS frosting for the cake, so the question is mostly about this frosting. Just in case that matters, the cake I’m using is your “best birthday cake” recipe.
    There, I hope now my question is clear! (what is also clear is that I need some sleep :p)


  112. deb

    Whether you bring it back to room temp is only about preference. Cold, things are pretty firm (but refreshing, IMHO); as they warm up, the frosting and cake itself will be softer. I tend to take things out of the fridge about an hour before serving them. I like a slight coolness but not for the frosting to be butter-hard (and possibly fleck off a little when sliced).

  113. Kim

    I’m featuring your cake on my start-of-birthday-month cake roundup! Thanks for the recipe. I’m still trying to decide what I’m going to bake myself. I always trust you for awesome delicious cakes!

  114. Stephanie

    Hey there! I just have this feeling that raspberry won’t taste well with a chocolate frosting.I’m probably very wrong but do you think I can make a white chocolate frosting? If you think it’s doable but will be a disaster,I blindly trust you. I just want your advice and your opinion.

    Thanks :)

  115. deb

    I think the chocolate-raspberry combination is a matter of personal preference; it is a favorite in my family. Nevertheless, I don’t see why you couldn’t make the same frosting with white chocolate. It will be sweeter and take longer to firm up but should otherwise work about the same.

  116. Stephanie

    so this is what I finally did: I used the bittersweet frosting just like you did -I had a hard time thickening it but I made it eventually.
    But I did make a change: I am used to more creamy birthday cakes so I mixed the blueberry -instead of raspberry- jam with whipped cream. I know it sounds really weird and kind of not tasty at all but it actually is really delicious!

    I can’t wait to eat a slice of it,come on people,come to the damn party so we can it Deb’s divine cake!

  117. Lisa

    This is my husband’s new favorite cake! The only issue I had was that it was very crumbly – when you went to take a bite it would all crumble to bits. Any idea what I did wrong here? I’d love to perfect this recipe since my husband has declared it his yearly birthday cake. :)

  118. Kate

    I just made the big version of this (due to housesitting) for my own birthday and have plans to eat it all. It’s so good! Thanks for the birthday gift! :)

  119. Margie

    My mom loved the cake, its her new favorite birthday cake! She was so suprised when she saw it, well she was the one who showed me the recipie!

  120. I love the fact that you did the math on the 6-inch cake pans. I love making cakes but it’s a bit indulgent to do. Since I already HAVE a 6-inch cake pan I’m taking this as a sign. Maybe I’ll finally get enough practice for my cakes to look pretty like yours. And, I LOVE marzipan. This is going on the list!

  121. Rebecca

    Deb – I’m making this for my boyfriend’s mom the day before serving. Should I store in the fridge or room temp? Also, I’m using Fat Daddio aluminum pans, Sur La Table told me to adjust the baking temp by 20-25 degrees, does your recipe account for that already? Thanks!! LOVE your site!

  122. Ivy

    I made this cake for my thirtieth birthday brunch yesterday, am grateful for the recipe and for how delicious and beautiful it turned out. It was my first serious attempt at a three layer cake and one that would be in the spotlight.

    The almond cake was delicious. After leaving it in just a bit too long it was hard in parts, so once cooled, I shaved the overcooked part off with a small serrated knife then soaked it in simple syrup. For jam I used Sarabeth’s strawberry raspberry, and iced with the bittersweet chocolate buttercream: the real deal! A Delicious icing!
    A cake that impressed my guests and truly serves 20 people at least. Cheers

  123. Maureen & Dan

    I made this cake for a friend who loves Italian tri-color (/seven-layer/rainbow) cookies, and followed your advice to fashion it like the cookie. Here’s a link to what it looked like: I halved the cake batter recipe and still had enough to make a regular-sized layer cake using 8″ pans. I also used apricot preserves rather than raspberry, because that’s what I typically use for the cookies. The cake was delicious and truly reminiscent of the cookies, so big success!

  124. Camille

    Deb, this may seem like a silly question, but it looks like you have a full sheet of wax paper sitting underneath the entire cake. How in the world did you get that from up under a heavy, iced cake + transfer it to the nice gold cardboard piece with no mishaps?! Thx -CC in NC

  125. deb

    It’s just an optical illusion; it was just scraps (that you remove after you ice the cake; it protects the plate or board). That said, with a 6-inch cake such as this, odds are you could still lift it with two big spatulas and some care.

  126. Karen

    First time post: discovered you a couple of months ago, and love your site. One question: I would love to make this for a luncheon next week, but am concerned about the frosting: I must bring the cake by 8 a.m., and lunch will not be until close to 2. Air-conditioning, but refrigeration not available. Will the frosting hold up?

    1. deb

      This frosting should be just fine. I wouldn’t have it (or any frosting ever) in the hot sun, but room temperature should not be an issue.

  127. B.

    Hi there! So excited to try this recipe this weekend. I would like it to yield for a slightly larger party of 35 and wanted to make a 10-inch triple layer cake instead. I did follow the link for pan size conversion chart but it was a bit confusing and I’d rather ask the expert (YOU!) than ruin the recipe. How should I adjust the ingredients so it looks and tastes as perfectly as yours? Please let me know! Thank you!!

  128. KJ

    I’m using this delicious cake for a wedding cake this weekend. With a cherry filling spiked with chocolate whiskey and a light cream cheese/whipped cream frosting. It’s the second time I’ve used one of your cakes for a wedding cake. Last year used a chocolate cake from here with huge success!

    I went to cooking school for pastry and I always find myself on your site versus back in my school books or other resources. Thanks for curating such a delicious site!

  129. Clara

    Hi Deb, I live in Holland, but grew up in America, so I love your baking and have your book. But always have to find things here… so I bought Almond butter from the organic store which is meant as a spread… so not specifically for baking… what do you think??? Will this work?

    I’m making this cake for my daughter’s first birthday this weekend, with swiss buttercream and decorated with blue edible butterflies I bought from Etsy :) SO excited! (But worried about the almond paste!)

  130. Clara

    Hi again Deb, another question, how does this freeze? Can I make the cakes a few days ahead of time? Don’t know if these white cakes are different from the yellow cakes. Will it dry out since I won’t put the syrup until assembly??? Should I wait until the night before? Trying to avoid that!

    1. deb

      White cakes to tend more towards dryness, but freezing shouldn’t hugely affect it. Just wrap it tightly in a couple layers of plastic and you should be fine.

      Clara — Almond butter is really different from marizpan. It’s a nut butter, like peanut butter, intended as you said, for sandwiches and toast. You should be able to get almond paste in Holland, right?

  131. Clara

    Thanks so much for answering Deb! Oh oh I guess I didn’t know it was the same thing as marzipan! Yes, I can definitely find it here. You just saved me, I would have made a disaster with the almond butter! Will update how this turns out ;)

  132. Prentiss

    Hi! I wanted to know if I wrap my cake in plastic then it means there shouldn ‘t be any frosting on, right?
    And what can I put instead of almond paste and extract? :) Do you have similar cakes?

    1. deb

      Prentiss — No plastic if frosted. I often suggest freezing cake layers if you’d like to make them in advance, but I always frost within a day before serving. There are many cakes in the archives that use neither almond paste or almond extra… see here.

  133. Prentiss

    Can I use curd cream (curd, sugar and cream) as assembly? And only cream as frosting? Also to taste it I baked little cupcakes first and they tasted amazing only they rose up, so when I bake the real cake what should I do when it rises up? Should I just cut that part, because that’s how it looked in the pictures. ;)
    Also I’m going to put nuts not almond paste. Can I also put some berries? Are they still good when baked? ;)

  134. Hi Deb!

    I’m planning on making this cake for my daughter’s first birthday party! I will make the 3 layer cake for the adults. However, I’m wondering how I can adjust this to make a smaller, 4-inch, layered smash cake for my baby girl? Any help here would be greatly appreciated! I don’t know much about changing baking recipe quantities so I’m seeking expert advice!

    1. deb

      Anna — Do you want the smash cake to be a single layer or more? It cannot hurt to make an extra layer’s worth of batter — maybe 125% or 133% of this recipe and pour it into 2 4-inch pans. If you only wanted a single layer 4-inch smash cake, it may not even be worth creating extra batter for such a small amount. You could take a spoonful from each cake layer and not ultimately notice the difference in height.

  135. Lisa

    I’ve read every comment (I think) and I can’t see that anyone has asked about using whole eggs instead of egg whites. I want to use the whole egg but do not know how to calculate it. HELP!

  136. deb

    Lisa — I don’t think it’s come up because they work differently in cakes. This was designed to take advantage of egg whites. It doesn’t mean that a whole egg or two will ruin it, but it will be hard to guess how the cake will be affected. That said, volume-wise, a yolk is about 1 tablespoon and a white is about 2 tablespoons. You might start figuring out the volume equivalent of 10 egg whites from there.

  137. Emily

    Hi Deb,

    If you had to pick a chocolate frosting for someone who LOVES dark chocolate, would you pick this one, or the ganache frosting on your double chocolate layer cake? My husband’s 30th birthday cake depends on you. ;) (also if you have another suggestion, I’m all ears!)

  138. deb

    This is a whipped ganache — well, the other is too, but with more butter — which is probably the most intensely bitter and chocolaty of the chocolate frostings. My only quibble, and it’s a small one, with whipped ganache is that it’s not terribly shiny and swirly/frosting-like. If your husband also respects a good dark chocolate buttercream, he might like the one we used here. Definitely sweet like a buttercream, but has a much stronger chocolate flavor than any other I’ve tried. Hope that helps.

  139. Emily

    I’m planning on making the double chocolate layer cake, with espresso buttercream as a filling. Right now I’m leaning towards the other ganache frosting, as I’ve heard great things about it. (And really Deb, he LOVES dark chocolate. The darker and the more bitter, the better. If it’s under 70%, he’s not interested) thank you!!

  140. Hi Deb,
    I want to make this as a smaller 6″ 2-layer cake, but I still plan to make all the batter and just use the leftovers for cupcakes. But my questions are:

    1. How high should I fill the 6-inch pans?
    2. How long should they be baked for?

    ** And if I didn’t want extra batter, is it as easy as just halving this recipe? If you have to do crazy math for this then don’t worry about it, I’ll just make it all :) But curious if you already solved for that scenario.

    Thanks so much!!

  141. deb

    Bonnie — I didn’t jot down the baking time for the 6-inch pans, but you can start checking in at the halfway point and every 3 to 5 minutes after that.

  142. Stacey

    I originally made this for husband’s birthday cake. My sister loved the cake so much she asked me to use the recipe for her wedding cake. I made a three tiered cake that served 130 people and it cooked beautifully. I filled it with lemon custard and frosted it with italian meringue. It is a very versatile recipe that is an instant crowd pleaser.

    1. Lucy

      I am also making this cake as a wedding cake and I am very stressed about how it is going to hold up before the wedding. I am making three separate regular sized cakes and test running each one, but I have a plethora of questions to throw at you.
      #1 How long in advance did you make it?
      #2 Did you use the simple syrup?
      #3 Did you use swiss buttercream or chocolate?
      #4 Did you assemble it day of?
      #5 Did you refrigerate it at all or just leave it out until serving time?
      So many questions! Thanks!

      1. Stacey

        I was terrified too but it was a lot of fun. The cake held up well when stacked. I did use teir pillars in the layers for extra support. I made the cake the weekend before the wedding and froze the layers. The cake is easier to assemble when it is frozen. For the frosting, I made an Italian meringue buttercream which is a pain to make but it is very elegant looking. I made the frosting the day before and then assembled the cake the morning of the wedding. I did keep it refrigerated because it was an outdoor wedding and the temperature reached 90 F.
        Good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions.

    1. deb

      They’d be half as thick as shown here, so quite thin but not necessarily a bad thing. For more of a standard two-layer cake thickness, I’d double this and bake it into 2 9x13s. You can also, especially with the thinner version you were going for, bake it in one pan and split the layer, should you feel confident in your layer-splitting skills. (A long serrated knife will make it easy.)

  143. Sandra

    Since you’re baking them 2 or 3 at a time – I’m guessing the given temperature (350f) refers to fan assisted oven?

      1. Sandra

        I *think* you have to lower the given temperature slightly (200°c instead if 220°c) if you use the fan. At least if judging by anything bought frozen with a given temperature 😀

        I did end up baking them all at once and it resulted in a lot of moving them around for then to bake evenly – but the end result was delish! :) Next time though – I’m doing them one at a time.

      1. Beep

        Thanks for your reply. I did try it as cupcakes, minus the jam, with amaretto simple syrup and your easy fudge buttercream frosting (made with almond extract instead of vanilla). The recipe as written made 36 cupcakes. Cooking time was 19 minutes in a convection oven. The overall flavor was good but not a knockout. Even with all that almond, the almond flavor was pretty subtle. Next time I would increase the extract and/or sub amaretto for some of the milk in the cake. The simple syrup helped greatly in keeping the cupcakes moist. The cake was a little dense for a cupcake–more like pound cake–but it was ok. My son (whose birthday was the occasion for cupcakes) gave it a thumbs-up.

    1. Sujatha

      I had enough leftover batter to make 4 cupcakes and they turned out nicely. I would brush the tops with simple syrup to keep them moist. I poked a hole in each one, filled it with a small bit of raspberry jam, packed the cake crumbs back in, topped with cream cheese frosting & a raspberry.

  144. Therese

    Hi Deb,

    I’m going to make this for an upcoming birthday and I have been reading all your cake posts for tips on how to best prepare and assemble. I wanted to make the cakes in advance and freeze them. When exactly should the flash freeze (followed by subsequent triple wrap and storage) happen?

    In this recipe the cooling process is: “Let the cakes cool in their pans on wire racks for about 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out on to wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners and let them cool completely, about one hour.” Should I flash freeze when I turn the cakes out on to the wire rack, or after they are completely cool? Or, should I skip the 10 min in the pan and just turn out and put in the freezer immediately?

    Thank you so much and my apologies if this has been covered elsewhere!

  145. Has anyone else had trouble keeping this cake moist? Maybe its just because I didn’t use the simply syrup but I’ve made it twice in the past two weeks and both times came out sort of dry. I froze the cakes almost immediately after coming out of the oven.

    1. Sujatha

      Definitely use the simple syryp. I made 1/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup water and it was plenty. I brushed the cakes three times – tops and sides – while they were cooling. I know it made a difference b/c I had enough leftover batter for 4 cupcakes that I forgot to brush, and they got crusty on top.

  146. Sujatha

    I made this cake yesterday for my 17 year old son’s surprise birthday party, it was absolutely delicious — one of the best I’ve ever made. I made some adjustments based on my needs. Assuming the original volume of batter was appropriate for three 8″ layers (3 x 50 sq in area = 150 sq in), I scaled it up by 1.5 for two 9×13 pan layers (2x9x13 = 234 sq in). The math was perfect but the layers were a bit too thick: it made for a beautifully tall stacked cake (plus 4 cupcakes) but one cake layer cracked while stacking it. In the future, I would use the original recipe volume in three 9″ round layers or two 9×13 layers and I think that would make generous enough cake layers. I had never heard of using simple syrup to keep a cake moist. I used that method and it worked really well (I know b/c I did not brush the cupcakes and they got crusty on top). So definitely baste with simple syrup but make at most 1/4 cup to avoid waste (1/4 c sugar to 1/4 c water). The almond paste really kept the inside of the cake moist and made for a nice crumb. I thought the chocolate frosting might overpower the almond flavor (I did slightly increase the almond flavoring after reading some other reviews). First I made the swiss buttercream Deb has on her wedding cake post. I’m sorry Deb — I swear by most of your recipes and laud you to my friends who cook and bake — but I hated that swiss buttercream recipe. I don’t like buttercream in general and only tried it b/c I trust you, so partly my taste. I could not bear to ruin such a delicious cake with frosting I disliked, so I scrapped it and made a half-recipe of Ina Garten’s cream cheese frosting for her flag cake (the half recipe = 2 sticks unsalted butter + 12 oz cream cheese, whip, add powdered sugar to your taste & I used a combo of vanilla + almond flavor to compliment the cake flavor). The whole party loved this cake, as did some of their parents who were lucky enough to get packed slices (15 boys finished about half the cake). I poked holes in the tops of the cupcakes, filled with raspberry jam, packed the cake crumbs back in, and topped with frosting & a raspberry to give to the moms who helped me pull off the suprise. One mom who does not bake told me it happily reminded her of a cake her grandmother used to bake for her. Definitely a keeper but I will figure out a way to cut it in half to make for our family of 4.

  147. Leslie

    My friend and I are testing a few different almond cake recipes for my wedding. We tried this one, and liked it a lot (love the full almond flavor from the paste– we used an almond oil flavoring rather than an alcohol-based extract, and it was very potent, but not overpowering).

    One question- we expected it to be a bit fluffier/lighter. We did not beat the egg whites before folding in. Was this wrong? Would whisking help?


  148. Ellie Stolen

    A surplus of egg yolks is not a problem y’all: creme brulee! Shockingly easy to make, even according to my go-to recipe from Cooks’ Illustrated.

  149. GA

    Super tasty, and was a hit for the work bakeoff! One suggestion for future bakers: maybe something was up with the mixer I used, but I had bits of almond paste and sugar flying out of the bowl even at low speed! Breaking up the almond paste and combining it with the sugar was super easy and fast in a food processor, if you have one and can live with getting multiple appliances dirty.

  150. Cathy

    This was by far the favorite cake in the 4 tiered wedding cake I made for my daughter (my first, and hopefully last!). At her request I added poppy seeds (1/3 c for a 12” round layer). I also glazed the layers with apricot and filled with Swiss buttercream (also yours). Such a success! (Everyone also raved about the chocolate cake from your wedding cake article—so tender). All the layers were made and frozen weeks in advance and held up beautifully. Thank you for giving me the confidence I needed!

  151. Lauren

    My husband wanted a fancy birthday cake and chose this one. It was delicious. I used vanilla instead of almond extract, but it still was great. Thank you!

  152. maraha.k


    I want to use this frosting for a 6-inch triple layer chocked cake. Would this be enough For frosting and filling or should i increase the amount?

    1. Megan C.

      I made this frosting today and it was more than enough for a 3 layer 9″ cake. Beware though, this frosting is intense! Not terribly sweet (though that could have just been my chocolate). The texture was amazing though, so smooth.

  153. Megan C.

    I made this for my sister’s birthday dinner, and it was a gorgeous cake. The flavor combo of almond cake, raspberry preserves, chocolate frosting, and vanilla ice cream was amazing. A few things I’d do differently next time if I were to make this again:
    -I’d try whipping the egg whites. The cake was pretty dense.
    -I’d add more preserves between layers so that flavor shows ups better and also adds more of a texture break between layers.
    -I’d use a different frosting recipe. This frosting was INTENSE. It has no added sugar, so it was just as its name says: bittersweet.

    I’m glad that I:
    -Froze the cake layers before assembling (I did let them thaw a bit before sawing the tops off).
    -Brushed with simple syrup during assembly
    -Used the wax strips to protect the cake plate.

    See the post on cake tips! So many helpful tips!

    I also circled the base of the cake with fresh raspberries, which was beautiful.

  154. Reshma

    I’m dying to make an almond cake with chocolate frosting and cherry jam for my bday (tomorrow) but can’t get over using 10 egg whites and throwing out the yolks (if I were also making tiramisu, we’d be in business!!). I’ve also made many cakes from Sky High and other chiffon cakes and found them a bit rubbery with all the egg whites. And I’m a pretty skilled baker so I don’t think it’s my technique.
    Do you think I could do perhaps 6 whole eggs and call it a day? Do you know any other great almond layer cake recipes that use almond paste (drool) and whole eggs?
    Yay! Thank you!!

      1. Reshma

        First I’d like to thank you for responding so immediately! It made it possible for me to make the cake today and not after my birthday, so I really appreciate it! And I know you’re a lady with a lot on your plate!
        On to the cake: holy plushness!!!! I halved the recipe to make it into 3-6 inch round pans (since it’s just me, hubby, and our 2 littles) and used 3 large eggs and maybe a splash or two extra of almond extract to add a bit more liquid. Wow! The whole eggs worked beautifully and the crumb is pillow-soft but substantial and perfectly moist. I may reduce the sugar and up the salt a smidge next time (not sure if it’s just my taste or if some of the counter-sweetness got lost with the eggy swap).
        For anyone worried about all the egg whites, I definitely recommend using whole eggs (6 if following your recipe above).
        Thanks Deb!!!

  155. Megan

    So I’m trying to figure out what went wrong as the cake totally overflowed my 9 inch cake pans which resulted in scorched cake batter in the bottom of my oven! It’s also no where near done in the 25-30 minutes. What did i do?!?!

  156. Heather

    I’ve baked/cooked from your blog and cookbooks for over a decade now. And I always make your lasagna bolognese for my husband’s birthday dinner. I tried it for the first time his first birthday after we were married in 2011, and he has requested Every. Single. Year. Since.

    That has not changed. This year, though, he has requested an almond raspberry jelly roll for his birthday dessert. I’ve never rolled a cake before! (And I’ll be enjoying the help of a two and four year old, so I’ve no high expectations.) I am hoping to give myself a reasonable shot at it: Do you think this cake would be too delicate to roll? If yes, do you think keeping the egg yolks might help it hold up?

    Thank you!