You guys. I can't even...
Let me tell you, I'm not a cake girl. I'll take a brownie or cookie over cake any day. Except this one. This cake is the best.
So, there's a bakery in my native Pittsburgh called Prantl's. They make the best burnt almond torte. The cake is fluffy and moist, with a subtle almond flavor. The toasted almonds on the outside are just magical. They're crunchy and sweet and perfect.
If you're non-vegan and want to give it a try, you can buy burnt almond torte online and they'll ship it to you. The Huffington Post even named it the Best Cake in the USA.
Traditionally, it's square and made with a custard center, but Prantl's travel torte (for shipping) just has frosting in the middle. That's the version that I'm making for you today. The most important parts: a fluffy cake, creamy frosting, and toasted almonds. There are lots of moving parts, but I will help you with each one!
As a side note, this recipe took FOUR ATTEMPTS before it was perfected. Ugh. It was a day of weird cake, haha.
Prantl's Burnt Almond Torte Copycat Recipe
For the cakes:
2 c. cake flour (makes everything light and fluffy)
1 c. organic cane sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder, aluminum-free
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/3 c. coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 c. cold water
1/4 c. amaretto, or more water (learn how to make your own!)
1/2 tsp. almond extract
For the toasted almonds:
1 1/2 c. sliced almonds
2 T. water
1/3 c. organic cane sugar
For the almond buttercream:
1 c. organic non-hydrogenated shortening, like Spectrum
1 tsp. almond extract
scant 2 c. vegan powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two 8 inch cake pans with coconut oil or organic shortening.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Have all of your liquids measured and ready to pour - you don't want to add things one at a time (you may lose the chemical reaction). Pour the liquids in and stir to combine. Be sure not to overmix; just mix until everything is combined.
Pour your batter (evenly) into both cake pans. Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes. Check the cakes' status around 15 minutes, just to be sure - you don't want them to over bake. Insert a toothpick and when it comes out clean, the cakes are ready to come out. Allow them to cool completely.
For the "burnt" almonds: in a large bowl, combine the almonds, water, and sugar. Toss to coat. In a large saucepan over medium heat, toast about half of the almonds. This shouldn't take too long, perhaps 2-3 minutes. DO NOT walk away while these are cooking; they can burn in a matter of seconds! Stir the almonds regularly. The sugar will caramelize and the almonds will turn a light brown. When the first batch is done, remove them from the heat and over to a piece of parchment to cool. Repeat this process with the second half of the nuts.
For the almond buttercream: in a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening and almond extract. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, about a 1/4 cup at a time. Continue to beat the frosting until it's nice and fluffy.
***TIP*** If your frosting is not stiff enough, add a little more powdered sugar. If it's too stiff, add a tablespoon of almond milk as needed. It will loosen up.
Assembly: place the first cake layer on your plate. Frost it with a thin layer of buttercream. Layer the second cake on top and ice it with the buttercream - it doesn't have to be beautiful because no one will see it!
Press the toasted almonds all around the cake - it will look gorgeous! (Pssssst: save any leftover almonds and use them as a salad topping!) Dust the top of the cake with some powdered sugar and you are now in business.
This cake was worth the trouble I had developing it. When you read this recipe for the first time, it seems like a daunting project. But once you try it, you will be pleasantly surprised of how easy it is!
Enjoy this classic cake from Pittsburgh and enjoy the best cake EVER!