Chocolate Almond Cake
Julia Child’s Chocolate Almond Cake may just be my new favorite cake. It’s incredibly rich and decadent. The center is purposefully undercooked, leaving a fudgy center you’ll crave long after the cake is gone.
After spending two weeks away on vacation, I very much enjoyed coming home and slipping into our old routine— grocery shopping on monday, laundry on thursday, pizza night on friday. I also relished returning to my kitchen. It felt so good to be cooking and baking again.
And after weeks of talking about things like sugar and canning on the blog, I wanted to share a purely beautiful and completely delicious indulgence. Like this chocolate cake.
And not just any chocolate cake, Julia Child’s chocolate almond cake from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If you were only to bake one chocolate cake for the rest of your life, this may be it. It’s not super fancy, with multiple layers, a complicated filling, and intricate decorating, and it doesn’t need any of that. It’s perfect as it is.
I left the recipe as she wrote it, with one exception. I could barely frost half of the cake with the chocolate butter frosting recipe provided, so I made another batch. I’ve given the recipe below with the doubled icing, but feel free to cut it in half if you’d like to try it with less.
baking tip:How to fold ingredients together
“Folding” is a method of combining ingredients without knocking the air out of the mixture, such as the folding of egg whites and batter to make this chocolate almond cake. Here’s how it’s done:
- Use a rubber spatula and make sure your bowl is big enough
- Add 1/4 of the lighter ingredients (i.e. whipped egg whites) to the batter to lighten it
- Fold the remaining egg whites in small batches
- Using the spatula, cut through the egg whites at 90 degree angle to the bottom of the bowl
- Scoop of the batter and fold it on top of itself and the egg whites.
- Rotate bowl a quarter turn and repeat only just until the lighter ingredients are incorporated into the batter.
Chocolate Almond Cake
For the cake:
- 4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate , chopped (113 grams)
- 2 tablespoons rum or coffee
- ½ cup unsalted butter , at room temperature (113 grams)
- ⅔ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar , divided (132 grams)
- 3 large eggs , separated
- Pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup almond flour/meal (35 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup cake flour , sifted (57 grams)
For the icing:
- 4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate , chopped (113 grams)
- ¼ cup rum or coffee (60 ml)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter , at room temperature (170 grams)
- Slivered almonds for garnish
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper.
- Combine the chopped chocolate and coffee or rum in a small bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir as the chocolate melts and remove from heat as soon as it's smooth. Set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and 2/3 cup sugar until pale and creamy. Add the 3 egg yolks and beat until thick. Add the cooled melted chocolate. Stir in the almond extract and almond meal/flour and mix until just combined.
- In a separate bowl and with a whisk attachment, whip the 3 egg whites and salt on high speed until foamy. Slowly add the tablespoon of sugar and whip to stiff peaks.
- Add ¼ of the whipped egg whites to the batter and fold gently until combined. Add and fold in the remaining whites in 3 additions, alternating with the sifted cake flour. Fold only until the streaks of egg whites disappear, do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake until the edges are set but the center still jiggles when the pan is bumped, about 25 minutes.
- Let cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to remove cake from pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the icing:
- Combine the chopped chocolate and coffee or run in a small bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir as the chocolate melts and remove from heat as soon as it's smooth.
- Add the butter a tablespoon at a time and use a whisk to beat it into the chocolate. Whisk until smooth.
- Let the icing cool to a spreadable consistency, stirring it every 5 minutes or so. It should take about 15-20 minutes, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
- Spoon the icing on top of the cooled cake and spread it to cover. Garnish with slivered almonds.
60 Comments on “Chocolate Almond Cake”
I am in love with this cake! The almonds on top make is so pretty – yum!
Love the flour less chocolate cakes. It means your cake always comes out delicious and fudgy! lovely flavour combo and so pretty with the icing
I love Julia Child! She’s such an inspiration to me but I have to admit I’ve never had the chance to make one of her recipes so far. I’ll be definitely trying this out, since it doesn’t look complicated to make but the final result is…beyond perfect!
Thanks so much for sharing!
This is gorgeous, Annalise. Especially with all the sliced almonds on top. It looks simple and decadent.
I love this! So simple, yet beautiful!
Love this, I have a birthday coming up, will be requesting this
My little guy has a birthday in a few weeks, and he adores chocolate! I’m going to have to show him this – I have a feeling he’ll want it for his birthday 🙂
mm a cake with which I am very familiar. One of my favorites! Beautiful pictures 🙂
Whoa. This looks so chocolatey and awesome!!
I am totally smitten with that fudgy center! Can’t wait to try this!
This cake sounds like one giant brownie. How delicious.
Oh my goodness. That fudgey center is enough to make my mouth water! And that frosting, yum!
2 great flavors together You cannot go wrong here at all Wonderful recipe
NYC Style and a little Cannoli
This is amazing!
I know how you feel, Annalise! Vacationing can be fun, but there’s no better feeling than slipping into your own bed after being away. Welcome home! This cake is a stunner, and your photos have got me drooling! Thanks for sharing.
So true, nothing better than coming home to your bed! Thanks Georgia!
Love the almonds! The more on there the better!
I made this today! turned out perfectly.
Yay, so glad you enjoyed them!
I’ve been on such an almond kick recently. (For instance, I’m currently eating some brown sugar almond butter.) I’m totally saving this recipe! Thanks for posting!
Need to bake this cake!!
i’m in love with this cake and i’ve just watched “Julie & Julia”.
Maybe Tomorrow i’ll try and let you know and publish on my blog!
Of course, i’ll try some of your website’s receipes, your photos are wonderful!!
p.s i’m sorry for my terrible english but.. i’m italian and not so good in it…
ok, i’ve just made this cake.
no words….. <3
Glad you liked it!!
I searched for a chocolate almond cake to make for my mom’s birthday and this site popped up.
The funny thing is that our family was just talking about Julie and Julia last week so when I saw the connection to this recipe, I just had to give this recipe a shot.
In short, this cake had a completely amazing taste. I didn’t spread the topping around the sides but opted to just let it ooze over when leveling on top. It gave it a molten lava visual effect.
This recipe also taught me a new technique regarding egg whites. I usually get impatient with recipes that call for those few extra steps, but these sure made a difference in the taste and texture of this amazing little cake.
Thanks much for sharing and now it’s off to the blueberry hand pies.
Hi David, I’m so glad you gave this recipe a try and enjoyed it so much! Thanks for the comment. Let me know what you think of the hand pies! 🙂
Can I use cocoa powder instead of melting chocolate?
This cake is the best! I’ve made it with and without icing, and every time it’s been absolutely magic – all I need is more occasions to bake it for 🙂
You’ve got a new follower – thanks for sharing
Can I replace the sugar with agave, honey or coconut sugar? Has anybody tried that?
I have no experience substituting the sugar in a recipe like this with something like agave or honey, so I am no help, sorry! Perhaps another reader can provide some advice. I can guess that you’ll need to change the method some, as the creaming of granulated sugar and butter helps give cakes rise and texture.
Thank you! I will be making it…on a cheat day 😉
Whoever is telling that he/she made this cake, have you not followed the instructions? Obviously you didn’t, because I just did and 170g of butter for the icing just messed up all the cake. Please check and correct the weight of your ingrediants.
Hi Mert, you left this message well over a year ago but I’m still replying, just in case anyone would be browsing the comment section and wondering.
While 170g of butter might be “too much” in terms of calories and overall richness (this is subjective), it certainly does not mess up the cake! As detailed in the recipe, you simply need to wait until the ganache cools down for it to set. I left my pan outside (it’s pretty cold now in Northeastern France) and the frosting took just under 20 minutes and a few stirs to be perfectly set and spreadable 🙂
Cake is done, frosting looks out of this world, can’t wait to try it!
All the best
Hello! and thank you so much for sharing the recipe! I’ve been craving this cake since the movie came out! I wnated to know if there’s any way to replace the almond extract! Can I replace it with amaretto? I live in Peru, and I can’t find it anywhere! please help! thanks again! Love your blog!
I am so disappointed…tasteless. The icing is terrible. Wasted my time and money…
I think people making comments BEFORE they make the cake is useless…
Don’t think i’ve ever tried this cake. Sounds so good. Thanks for sharing this recipe. will be giving this a go.
The first time I made this cake was from Julia’s cookbook and I ran out of icing too so I’m glad you pointed that out. The cake is the best I’ve ever had.
This cake really sounds lovely and in the not-to-distant future I am going to make it. I have a question: which did you use, the rum or the coffee to flavour, or both? I think this would be a lovely celebration cake and would impress those lucky enough to indulge.
I know it’s a long time since you published this recipe but I do hope you see this question and leave me an answer. Thankyou for this inspiring cake – makes me feel giddy at the thought of making it. ?
I usually use coffee, as it’s my favorite secret ingredient to making chocolate desserts more chocolaty. I’m sure rum extract would be good too, though!
Can I use a gluten flour instead of the normal flour?
What temp shld this be baked?
As stated in the recipe, bake at 350 degrees F.
made this cake 3 times and will continue as it is wonderful but the icing with a 1/4 cup of rum is a liquid so i have to add 1 and 1/2 cups powder sugar in order to thicken it to a spreadable consistency or its not usable but this works well
I’m thinking of using the cake recipe for my wife’s brithday cake. Two questions:
1) If I doubled the recipe and baked in two pans, would the cake be durable enough to stack?
2) Could I make this 1-2 days in advance and hold the cake in the fridge?
This is a pretty delicate cake, so I wouldn’t recommend stacking it. But yes, it should keep fairly well in the fridge for a few days. Hope this helps!
I love love love this recipe.. ive made it countless times and
eveyones whos had it absolutely loved this cake.. if I were to pick
one chocolate cake recipe for the rest of my life, this would be it!
Can I freeze the cake without the icing?
Yes, that shouldn’t be a problem. See my post on freezing and storing cakes for tips. 🙂
The cake looks delicious but can I freeze it?
Wow!!! Your post was easy to follow. The cake was divine. Thank you.
Recipe was detailed and easy to follow. The cake was good and the kids loved it. A real winner. Thank you.
Hello. I want to use ground almonds instead of almond flour. Do I need to make any adjustments to the butter?
You should be able to swap finely ground almonds for the almond flour without making any other changes.
Love this cake. Was so yummy gone within 3 days! One criticism is that I think you’ve made a typo in the first line of the second instruction – just to let you know.
Made this for my sister’s birthday- she loves chocolate and almonds. I switched out amaretto instead of the rum or coffee in both the cake and the frosting, and toasted the slivered almonds that top the cake. Also make sure to buy good quality dark chocolate bars, it makes a difference. WHAT A HIT!! She is still raving about how decadent, rich, almondy and delicious it is! Definitely will be making this one again and again!!
This is the first time I have ever made a comment on anything! I found your recipe about a month ago and have now made this cake about 5 times. I am in love with it. Thank you so much! I am making it right now for my mom. She is recovering from a bad case of shingles!! I just know she is going to love it. Thanks again!! I really enjoy your recipes!
Wow, 5 times, that’s awesome!! So happy you enjoy this recipe that much. Best of luck to your Mom on the mend! 🙂
Made this today, so happy with how it turned out- thank you very much 🙂
Wow, wow this cake is moist rich n deliciousssss. It is now my chocolate cake favorite!!! Thank you 🥰
Absolutely delicious, made it so many times and each time was liked by all