Friday, November 20, 2009

Burnt Almond Cupcakes!

It doesn't matter if you have lived in the same place your whole life or if you've moved often and lived all over like the proverbial "army brat". We pick up special taste memories along the way. I am most certain that if you think about your favorite dish, your mind will go back to that first time you had it and how good it tasted in your mouth. I bet your thinking about it right now! It happened to me the other day and brought back a favorite memory. For no apparent reason I started thinking about a little bakery in the town I grew up in. Dick's Bakery was that cute little corner neighborhood bakery that you went to for coffee and donuts and one other thing - Burnt Almond Cake. We ordered it for birthday's, showers, and even weddings. It was that one delicious cake that you could always count on to never change. I even heard that Dick's is still there and still baking that wonderful cake. Many years ago, I took one of my first baking classes on "fancy cakes" and as luck would have it, the instructor used to work at Dick's. She showed us how to make those incredible caramelized almonds that mounded the pastry cream on top of that lovely white cake. Using that memory as inspiration, I thought I would create my own little cupcake version or that wonderful dessert. What a hit! It tasted just like Dick's and brought me right back to cakes I had as a child - minus the pink box and string. The beauty of this cupcake is that not only do I get to have that delicious taste (to curb my craving) but I also get to pass them along to my friends rather than my thighs! I'm jus' sayin'!

Burnt Almond Cupcakes

Prepare Almonds:
In a large cast iron skillet toast 1 8oz package of sliced (not slivered) almonds. (I used
Then sprinkle 1 Cup powdered sugar over almonds.
Stir constantly as not to burn the almonds.
Once the sugar is melted, add another 1/2 C. of powdered sugar to the almonds.
Your almonds should be brown in color and the aroma should be sweet toasted nuts.
Take off the heat and then spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to cool.

You may use your favorite white cake recipe here and add almond extract to the batter or you could even add almond extract to a box white cake mix (I think this recipe is all about the almonds and icing so as long as it's good cake you should be good) If you don't have one feel free to use mine.

White cake recipe.
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup butter
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon almond extract
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.

Yummy Frosting:
In a mixer blend the following in this order-remember powder sugar will go every where on high speed so put it in slowly until it is all incorporated and then whip that frosting like mad!
1/2 cup butter (softened)
3 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of vanilla coffee creamer or if you can find an almond flavor coffee creamer use that. (Yes I did say coffee creamer it's my secret ingredient)

Continue to whip until you get your desired consistency, now if it's too thin add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick then add a bit more creamer. Don't be intimidated by this. It's a no-fail icing that gets rave reviews every time.

To Assemble:
Cool cupcakes:
You can spread or be fancy and use a zip lock bag to pipe a large swirl of icing on the top of the cake. Then take your almonds (which after being cooled you should break into little clusters) and mound a good table spoon on top of frosting. If these make it after one day from being devoured I would keep them in the fridge up to 2 days. Doubt that will happen cause these really are yummy! Thanks Dick's


  1. Hi! I LOVE their Burnt Almond cake! Thanks for sharing how they make the delicious almonds! I hope to try to make this cake very soon!:D

  2. Thanks Treen-I Love Dicks too-Still the best! I hope you enjoy making this. K

  3. Heyy! Thanks for sharing your recipe! I have been trying to find the best burnt almond cake recipe for ages now and I just stumbled across yours!! I am so excited to make it for my cousins birthday!

    I have made some other burnt almond recipes that require to make a custard, but that didn't seem right because Dick's bakery didn't seem like they used custard filling. I want to know what you think.

    Also I am going to make it in a large 18 or 25 inch pan, would you still recommend those measurements or should I double it for each cake layer? thank you so much!!

  4. Sorry its me again. About the other recipes they also required almond brittle which was blended into a crumbly texture, would you also recommend that or just the almonds that you wrote above? thanks again!

  5. Nat, so glad you stumbled upon the recipe. I remember when I was trying (back in the early 80's to find a recipe as close as possible to Dicks. If I recall you could order any "filling" you wanted in a Dick's almond cake. So if you wanted to fill with bavarian custard you could, or a fruit filling. this is just the secret to the burnt almond topping. For an 18in. I would double but you may have a little extra to fill in some cupcake liners.(which how bad can that be? lol) As for the brittle my only thought on that was that they used the brittle as a topping instead of the "burnt sugar almond mixture" I used on top. It's basically the same thing but the recipe I have was taught to me in a class way back when from someone who I think actually worked there. Use the brittle in a pinch but I believe it's that topping above that makes it the closest to Dicks. Let me know how it turns out and if you used a filling. Happy Baking, K

  6. Had Dick's BAC for my birthday last night. My first time. Yummy. Found your site when googling "burnt almond cake"

  7. Cindy, I am so glad you had some of that Yummy cake-It's the best. I have such good memories of Dick's. Kristina

  8. Thanks for such a great recipe! I made some this weekend for a 50th bday party and they were a hit! I must say that my first batch of almonds did not go so well. Let's just say I had burnt almonds alright. It's difficult working with an electric stove and trying to get an even temperature. Good thing I bought 2 bags. Also, my powdered sugar was not melting well or creating a glaze. I toasted them slowly and kept stirring. They turned out toasty, sweet and crunchy and had a dusted look. They went very well with the icing. Thanks for the help!

    (: Jessica, San Jose, CA

  9. Jessica, I am always amazed at how this old post keeps popping back up. I am so glad your cupcakes were a hit at a 50th b-day party. I hope they were reminded of "dick's burnt almond cake. Cast iron skillets can be tricky. I have tried the above method using an electric skillet and it works just as well. If you try this recipe again I encourage you to play with it and tweak it to make it your own. Thanks for sharing your comments. Kristina

  10. It turned out delish, but not like Dick's or Peter's. Anyways, it turned out to be gone two days later. Check out out pictures! We might have changed the recipe a bit. :D

    1. Glad your cake turned out delicious. Yes, there is a reason why Dick's and Peter's have the legacy that they do in San Jose. I'm just curious what you changed in the recipe as it looked much like mine. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Thank you so much for posting this recipe, I grew up having burnt almond cake for my birthday and I'm trying yours out today since I live far away from Dicks now.

  12. I tried your recipe, and it turned out Yummy! Thanks! The frosting was the amazing part!

    1. Vania,
      Glad you liked it. That frosting recipe is really versatile, you can switch out the creamer flavors to create many flavors.

  13. I an currently eating a real piece of Dicks Burnt Almond cake my brother drove up to Idaho for my moms Bday. You are so right about how the food brings back strong memories. I can't wait to try this recipe, thanks so much!!!

  14. You are a very lucky to have such a thoughtful and amazing brother. Thank you so much for sharing your memory with me. I hope the cupcakes will bring you right back to all that yummy goodness from the bay are. Have a splendid day!

  15. Found this recipe on Pinterest recently and made it into a birthday cake for my mom! Was a huge hit! Everyone loved it!!!

    1. Kari, I'm so glad it was a hit. Thanks for posting how it came out.