Burnt almond cake


Joined Aug 31, 2001
Years ago I tried to get a recipe for this cake with no luck and just gave up, but just recently on another website there was talk of this very cake called Burnt almond cake where they say the recipe is a secret! And they have had over the years numerous requests for recipes from local bakeries. "Readers want the recipes but the bakeries won't talk -- for obvious reasons. FYI, the Burnt Almond Cake is their main selling cake (they told me the sell about 300 a day - and this is a tiny hole in the wall place if you've never been there.) So I don't see them giving out the recipe anytime soon." Just wondering if anyone had experience with this cake?:)
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Joined Mar 6, 2001
Hum, I'm not familar with that specific item. It might be easier if you mentioned more about it, what's it like, who's making it (who are you refering to?) ?

There's certainly dozens of cake that could be titled that. If you can describe it with some real detail it might become familar with others too.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
This recipe in from "Neighborhood Bakeshop" cookbook by Jill Van Cleave.

Burnt Almond Cake

The cake:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Honey Almond Brittle:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons water
2 ounces slivered almonds (about 1/2 cup), toasted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Custard Cream:
1 cup milk
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans.

For the cake: Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating 30 seconds between additions. Add alternating increments of the flour mixture and buttermilk and vanilla, blending well after each addition; this should take about 3 to 5 minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans, on wire racks, for 10 minutes, unmold the cakes and let cool completely.

Note: The cake recipe makes two 8-inch round cake layers. Only one is used for this recipe.

To make the brittle: Combine the granulated sugar, honey and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, without stirring, until the mixture turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the toasted almonds, butter and baking soda. Mix with a wooden spoon just until the butter melts and the foaming subsides. Pour the mixture into a nonstick or lightly greased baking sheet and set aside to cool. Once the brittle has hardened, break it up and crush to fine crumbs in a food processor. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make the custard cream: In a heavy saucepan over medium- low heat, heat milk to barely simmering. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to blend smoothly. Stir the heated milk into the egg mixture; return mixture to saucepan. Bring back to a boil, over medium-low heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; add butter and vanilla, stirring to melt the butter. Transfer custard to a bowl; place a piece of waxed paper directly on top to prevent a crust from forming and refrigerate until cold.

Whip the cream and confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold into the chilled custard and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble cake: Cut the cake in half horizontally. Place one layer on a cake plate, spread cake with cold custard cream and sprinkle with brittle crumbs. Cover with the remaining layer of cake. Spread the remaining custard cream over cake, applying a thinner coat to the sides, then the top. Chill for a least 1 hour before garnishing.

To garnish, press brittle crumbs onto the sides of the cake with the palm of your hand and sprinkle a layer of crumbs on the top. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: To toast nuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake in a 375-degree oven until golden brown, about 7 to 10 minutes. Allow nuts to cool before using.


Joined Aug 31, 2001
Hi Wendy;
I can always count on you, one way or another, even if its just for a comment. The cake or torte sounds easy enough but not sure if the yellow batter is a genois or not. Well anyway this is a copy from the bakery it self (Prantls in Pittsburgh):
'One item you must try is the burnt-almond torte. The bakery's signature item, it is an extremely delicate yellow batter with a center pudding filling. This is covered in whipped cream and sliced toasted almonds. It is light, rich, and delicious. It comes as a square that easily serves nine, and larger cakes can be made to order. Although it is also available in chocolate, I suggest you opt for the original'.
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Kimmies' recipe sounds fairly close, don't you think?

It also could be a almond pound cake (that has a finer texture then a butter cake and the discription says "it's delicate"). I like the ground brittle layered with the pastry cream for the filling, but I bet their not doing that (if they use pudding for the center). Probably instant pudding with almond extract in it. Then frost the exterior with whip cream and press on toasted almonds.

I wouldn't be at all supprised it the used package pudding instead of pastry cream. If they are calling it pudding it must be.

Sorry Oli I'd have to taste the cake to really help. Their description is still vage....
Joined Jul 28, 2001
I have come across this cake name many times in the Hotel curcuit years ago. When we made it we ball parked it but tried to upscale it by mirroring the German bienschtick sp? We also did the squares, baking the brittle right into the cake like the BS. We assembled them in collars, cut and finished with whipped cream and and brittle. The uniqueness came from the layer of brittle topping on the top layer of cake which melted a little when iced.
Thanks, I have some brioche dough that I need to use up, I will make a tray of BS tomorrow.:D


Joined Apr 4, 2000
It sounds like a Swedish cake Mjuk Toscakaka. There's a recipe in The Art Of The Tart.

Maybe you would prefer Mjuk Mandeltarta or Ambrosia Kaka?


Joined Aug 31, 2001
Hi Isa:

Now I'm curious as what would be the difference between the recipe by Kimmie and your Swedish version? Has anyone tried both in a side by side comparison? Sure would like to see the recipe, and maybe get an idea of what they would be like.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Mjuk Toscakaka

2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons water

For topping
1/4 cup slivered almonds
4 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a 9 inch tart pan.

Cream the butter and sugar together thoroughly in a bowl. Beat in the eggs, little by little, then add the vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and baking powder, beat thoroughly, then add the water and continue beating until smooth. Scrape into the buttered tart pan, smooth the top and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and turn the temperature up to 400°F.

For the top, put all the ingredients together in a saucepan and heat. Allow to bubble to amalgamate the mixture, then spoon this over the tart and return to the oven to brown for 5 minutes. Don’t let it burn. You will have a delicious fudgy, crunchy top. Serve plain, without cream, warm or cold.

P.S. This being a British book I think the tart mould is actually a cake mould.

For The Art Of The Tart by Tamasin Day-Lewis
Joined Apr 17, 2014
Huffington Post has an article today, 4.17.14 about the Burnt almond torte available from Prantl's bakery in Pittsburg. There is a link to order the torte......$28 + shipping UPS 2 day or less at about the same cost as the cake. I'd like a copycat recipe and may try the one listed here recently. If anyone has eaten this cake, please post whether or not it is worth the $48 ++ price. 
Joined Apr 23, 2014
This BURNT ALMOND TORTE is THE signature dessert at Prantl's Bakery in Pittsburgh. It is worth getting there to try it because it is, without a doubt, the most exquisite dessert on the planet. I've enjoyed GATEAU à Saint Laurent at Le Grand Véfour in Paris, the original Cheescake at Lindly's in New York and Sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher in Vienna--all extraordinary confections to be sure... But Prantl's Burnt Almond Torte is in a class by itself.
Joined Mar 23, 2017
The Burnt Almond Cake in reference is that the famous cake from San Jose, CA?

I've been challenged to come up with a recipe for an old woman who loves that cake, but I've never tried it myself....I have an idea of the kind of almond cake I want to make, but not sure I'd be on the same page as the 2 bakeries that's famous for it.

I'm wondering if someone can tell me a little more about the cake... is the texture light and fluffy, dense, etc.? is the cake white or yellow? Is the frosting a whipped cream or buttercream type? Is the filling an almond or vanilla custard? And any other detail that would help. Thanks!
Joined Jul 28, 2001
This is just me now.
I wouldn't hesitate to prepare Bienenstich. Use Brioche dough and maybe give it an extra punch.
Make a nice custard with vanilla bean in it. Whip that with some buttercream. Ya know like a quasi mousseline.
Use that for your filling. Cut the brioche, not a lot of filling, maybe 1/5 of total height. Make a wash. Use sparingly on the sliced Brioche.
Spread sliced almonds out on a sheet pan, mix it with finely chopped almonds (almost flour). Bake that and the fine almonds will almost have a burnt taste. Then into a simple syrup and reduce by 1/2.
Over the years I've had 1000's of requests from customers that bring me recipes that they remember as the best thing they have ever had. I did it one time 25 yrs. ago. I then learned, You can't re-create the recipe because the person doesn't really remember the taste, they remember the event and all the great things happening. It's like my Nonna's great cooking, it wasn't the food, it was the 20 people sitting at the table every Sunday.
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