Growing up, my mom was never much of a baker. There were a few memorable cakes that she made, but for the most part, I knew that if I wanted cake, I would have to bake it myself.
My first few cakes were all from box mixes. I'd add the oil and eggs and water that the recipe required, then marvel at the perfect springy golden goodness that came out of the oven. The frosting was packaged, too. Swirls of perfectly soft vanilla or chocolate frosting straight from the can. There was always enough leftover to eat right off the spoon.
But the memories are fortunately still sweet!
A couple weeks ago, a friend reached out asking if I had a go-to yellow cake recipe. I shared it, and then found myself thinking about yellow cake constantly.
Seriously...like I'd be laying on the couch watching TV (Younger and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are my current binging faves) while in the back of my mind it was all like "yellow-cake-yellow-cake-yellow-cake!)
I'm obsessed with.)
This recipe produces a pretty perfect yellow cake. It's like the perfect grown-up version of those classic box mix cakes. Perfect for a birthday party (or if you're just feeling a bit nostalgic). It's moist, springy, not overly dense, but not too light either. Flavored with pure almond extract I like it layered with a whipped chocolate ganache frosting and topped with a few generous handfuls of salted marcona almonds.
These fancy almonds taste like a marriage between hazelnuts and almonds, and work beautifully with chocolate. (Especially if you're into that salty-sweet thing, like I am.) If you can't find them, regular blanched roasted salted almonds or hazelnuts will work, too.
BTW, upon seeing my "rustic" cake, Eugene was like "Is that cake finished? Because it looks kind of...unfinished..."
And I was like "Did you finish cleaning up the table after dinner? Because it looks kind of...unfinished..."
We decided that both the cake and dinner table were just fine as they were.
FYI: this post contains a couple Amazon affiliate links. Check out the sidebar for details on what that means. xx
Loved this recipe? Here are three other cake ideas you might like:
- Vanilla and Brown Sugar Birthday Cupcakes
- Dark Chocolate Layer Cake with Espresso Buttercream
- Walnut Layer Cake with Orange Spice Frosting
Thanks so much for reading!
Almond Yellow Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Yields one 9" square or 10" round cake (about 16-20 servings)
For the cake:
3 cups cake flour (or 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour + 1/4 cup corn starch)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated white sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1/4 teaspoon yellow food coloring (optional, but enhances the yellow-ness of the cake)
1 cup whole milk
For the chocolate frosting:
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
2 cups salted marcona almonds, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line two 9” square cake pans (or two 10” round cake pans or 3 8” round cake pans) with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the base of an electric mixer, beat softened butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes or until light, fluffy, and multiplied several times in volume. (Don’t skip this step!)
Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each one is beat in completely before adding the next.
Stir in the vanilla and almond extract, and the milk.
Stir in the flour mixture by hand, just until completely combined with no dried spots.
Bake 30-35 minutes, or until fully baked, golden and slightly pulling away from the sides. Let cool in pan 10 minutes before flipping out onto a rack to cool completely.
Make the frosting while the cake bakes: Heat heavy cream in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan just until bubbles start to form. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips, salt, and espresso. Whisk continuously until melted and smooth. Pour into the base of a mixer (or a large bowl) and let cool completely. Once cool, use the mixer with a whisk attachment and beat until light, fluffy, and doubled in volume.
To assemble cake. Place one layer on a serving dish. Top with half the ganache, then the second cake layer. Top with the rest of the ganache, then garnish with salted marcona almonds.