Chocolate Almond Cake

Cover recipe - Chocolate Almond Cakes, The Essence of Chocolate, copyright 2006

Cover recipe – Chocolate Almond Cake, Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate, © 2006 Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, Inc.

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. I can’t seem to get enough chocolate in my life. Not a day goes by that I don’t have a bit (or more) of chocolate in some form. We usually keep a few really good bars hidden away for after the kids go to bed and we’re looking for a little treat while we watch a show before we tuck ourselves into bed. Other times, I crave something a bit more substantial than a bar of chocolate. I want something like this Chocolate Almond Cake from one of my favorite cookbooks, Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate. Because of its decadence, I’ve held off making this recipe until I had a good reason. I decided this was a mistake. I should have made the cakes first, then come up with the occasion, even if it was only a night in with my husband and movie from Netflix. Or perhaps a birthday party? Or a luncheon with the gals? I can’t think of a time when chocolate cake wouldn’t be welcome.

Now, the thing that’s hard for me is finding a good gluten-free chocolate cake recipe that passes as edible for my gluten-loving friends and family. Gluten-free can be a hard sell at times. This cake is naturally gluten-free. Much like a flourless chocolate cake, it’s made up of melted chocolate, eggs, and butter. But this recipe relies on a full pound (!) of almond paste. See? Decadent. Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.

chocolate almond cake-2

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Chocolate Almond Cake

Yield: 12 individual cakes

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 25 min

Total Time: 1 hr 30 min

Pastry chef, author, and teacher Jim Dodge has an expert touch with chocolate. His recipes are easy to follow and include some of our best-loved desserts. This Chocolate Almond Cake is a perfect example. The cake stays moist and flavorful, and it is extremely versatile. You can bake it, then cut it into rounds, diamonds, or even petit fours; fill it with jam, buttercream, whipped cream, or, as we do, melted chocolate; and top it with nuts, fruit, or anything you like. Made with 70% chocolate, 82% chocolate, and cocoa powder, it is the perfect melding of dark chocolate and rich almond paste.


12 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
Flour for the pan (for GF use fine brown rice flour)
1 pound almond paste
1¾ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
8 large eggs

Filling and glaze:
4 ounces 82% extra dark chocolate, melted
12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


For the cake:

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 17 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet (half sheet pan). Line the bottom with parchment, butter the parchment, then flour the parchment and the sides of the pan. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and almond paste on medium speed, scraping down the sides as necessary, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the sugar and cocoa and blend on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. Continue to mix for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightened, scraping down the sides as necessary.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly, making certain to get in the corners. Bake for 25 minutes, or until just set: the surface should still be slightly spongy to the touch, but a skewer inserted in the center will come out clean, and the cake will begin to pull from the sides of the pan.

4. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn out onto the rack and cool completely.

5. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes so it will be easier to cut.

To fill the cakes:

Using a 2½-inch round cutter, cut 24 disks from the cake. Brush the top of 12 of the disks with the melted chocolate, and top with the remaining 12 disks. Place a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Arrange the cakes on the rack, leaving ample room between them. Let the cakes come to room temperature before glazing.

To glaze the cakes:

1. Scatter the butter over the bottom of a medium skillet and top with the chopped chocolate. Place over medium heat and let sit until about three-quarters of the chocolate is melted. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk just to combine and melt the remaining chocolate; whisk gently, to avoid creating bubbles. Transfer the glaze to a measuring cup with a spout. Slowly pour some glaze over the center of one cake, then use a small offset spatula to push the glaze over the sides, coating the top and sides of the cake. Smooth the sides to cover if desired. Repeat with the remaining cakes. If you use all the glaze, remove the rack from the pan, remove any crumbs from the glaze that has dripped into the baking sheet, and, if necessary, reheat the glaze before using it.

2. Let the cakes sit at room temperature until the glaze sets, then transfer to a platter or individual plates.


* If you're gluten-free, make sure to use GF almond paste. Sometimes glucose syrup made from wheat is used and therefore it is not gluten-free. I ended up making my own.
* Be sure to let the cake cool before it is cut into rounds or other shapes. I found that if I rinsed my round cookie cutter after every two or three circles, they came out with cleaner edges.
*I used all 72% dark chocolate because that's what I could find.

Source:Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate, © 2006 Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, Inc.

The results

This recipe did not disappoint in the least! It’s very rich – a cross between a brownie and fudge. The cake itself is very sweet and contrasts nicely with the more bitter, darker chocolate glaze. I’m anxious to make this again during the holidays and fill it with jam or come up with other variations. I think this is my new go-to cake recipe. Just beware – a little goes a long way. One cake is even too rich for one serving. I’d say it’s more like one for every two people.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Yes. I think it must have been difficult to decide which of the many delicious recipes to feature on the cover. I think this was a good choice. It seems like maybe a more humble, less flashy kind of cake upon first glance. And maybe that’s why I held off on making for so long. But this recipe is a dazzler and a keeper. If anything having it on the cover helped make me aware of it or I might have otherwise overlooked it.

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

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8 Responses to “Chocolate Almond Cake”

  1. 1

    Tieghan — September 5, 2013 @ 6:04 am

    Oh wow, it’s stunning! I have to make these cakes, which means I need to head to amazon and buy some Almond past ASAP!

    Love this recipe!

  2. 2

    Anna@CrunchyCreamySweet — September 5, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    Loving these adorable mini cakes!

  3. 3

    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — September 5, 2013 @ 9:11 am

    What cute little cakes.

  4. 4

    Jamie @lifelovelemons — September 5, 2013 @ 10:13 am

    OH MY. Loving that river of flowing chocolate!

  5. 5

    Kiran @ — September 5, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

    Mmmm… that chocolate drizzle is mind boggling!

  6. 6

    Becky — September 5, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

    Looks and sounds delicious Linds!! Your photo is stunning!!!

  7. 7

    Faith — September 5, 2013 @ 11:19 pm

    I’m like you – a total chocolate-lover – and I also like at least a small fix every day. ;) This looks perfect, and I love the dense, rich texture you described. This cake is now on my list! And your photo is lovely…you have a real knack for making your photos even prettier than the cover shot!

  8. 8

    HDH. — September 6, 2013 @ 9:34 am

    Wow, good thing it’s my birthday today so I don’t have to invent excuses for making this cake for myself! Your timing is exquisite. Thanks, Lindsey!

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