Make this fabulous, super easy French Almond Cake with just one bowl and no mixer! The fresh cherry buttercream is the delicious crowning glory!
Since we were planning on spending a few weeks in France this summer, I took some time to "get in the mood" before we left. How do you get in the mood to be in France? Well, the best way I know, is to create some new "French" recipes. So here you go, a delicious, super easy French Almond Cake with Fresh Cherry Buttercream. If you close your eyes when you eat it, you might just think you're eating at a fine little patisserie smack dab in the heart of France!
This easy French Almond Cake with Fresh Cherry Buttercream is a close buddy of our beloved (by our readers) French Almond Cake. It has a higher proportion of almond flour and the luscious cherry buttercream but, if you've enjoyed the original almond cake, you will LOVE this new rendition!
See the crisp candy-like glaze on this pretty cake? That's part of what makes it quite irresistible, but it's achieved quite easily. Simply stir together powdered sugar, apple (or orange) juice, a splash of vanilla and a few drops of almond extract. Brush it on the warm cake and, as the cake cools, it transforms to a shiny coat that looks beautiful, but also keeps the crumb nice and moist.
Speaking of the crumb, check it out (pictured below). Oh my! The cake rises nice and tall and the crumb is melt-in-your-mouth tender and SO delicious!
Do I have to use almond flour?
Yes and no. This recipe calls for almond flour in addition to all-purpose flour. You definitely can use 100% all-purpose flour but the almond flour adds a unique, European flavor that you won't get with just all-purpose flour. I always say, it adds a "fine", gourmet flavor.
Most larger grocery stores carry almond flour, usually in the baking or gluten-free section. Checking out the price though can bring on sticker shock, as it's often frightfully expensive. I find that almond flour is much more reasonable when purchased from big box stores like Sam's Club or Costco and it's a fraction of the price when purchased online.
Don't confuse almond meal though for almond flour. Almond meal is whole almonds (with the dark skins) that have been ground. Almond flour is ground-blanched almonds (no skin). In some recipes, the two can be used interchangeably, but not with this Easy French Almond Cake. Almond meal is too coarse and will make the cake dense.
Can I use 100% almond flour for this cake?
When I tested this cake with all almond flour it was delicious, but much heavier and it sank a bit in the center.
The crowning glory!
The pretty pink Fresh Cherry Buttercream truly is a crowning glory for this cake. It adds a festive touch of elegance making it perfect for a special celebration or for making an ordinary day extraordinary. Just like the cake, the icing can be stirred up with just one bowl and no mixer.
You'll need a quarter cup of chopped fresh, sweet cherries for the icing. Although I love cherries, I never like baking or cooking with them (it's a pain to remove the pits) until I discovered this super handy cherry pitter. It works like a dream and will take less than a minute to pit the cherries for this icing. If you're making jam or another recipe that calls for lots of cherries, this pitter will remove the stones from 6 cherries at a time! 🙌
So take a magic carpet trip to France and surprise your family and friends with this fabulous, super easy French Almond Cake!
P.S. Over the next few weeks we'll be focusing on France and Italy (we're just an hour from the Italian border). We'll be sharing delicious French and Italian recipes, some special culinary adventures and our experience of living in the French Alps. For a little "taste", check out the view from our little home-away-from-home!
Cafe Tips for making this Easy French Almond Cake with Fresh Cherry Buttercream
- See the post above, for tips on where to buy almond flour. Almond flour will keep for up to one year, unopened. Once it’s open, it’s best stored in a cool, dry, dark place in a well-sealed container. If you don’t use almond flour frequently you can refrigerate or freeze it for longer storage.
- Any type of neutral-flavored oil works well in this recipe. I have made it with sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil and avocado oil. They all work well.
- This recipe calls for ¼ cup of apple juice for the glaze. Don’t go out and buy apple juice just for this recipe. You can also use orange juice or even water in a pinch if you don’t have apple juice.
- The best way to check if a cake is done is with an instant thermometer. Instant thermometers are reasonably priced and are invaluable to determine whether cakes, cupcakes, meats, etc. are done. Cakes will be done when the internal temp reaches 205-210˚F (96-99˚C).
- No yogurt? No problem! You can use sour cream or buttermilk in lieu of the yogurt.
- If you don't have any of the above, you can quickly make your own buttermilk:
- Just add a tablespoon of white vinegar to a measuring cup. Fill the cup to the ¾ cup level and stir. Wait 5 minutes, stir again and you’re good to go! The milk should thicken just a bit and work perfectly instead of the yogurt.
- Be sure to let the cake cool for 10 minutes before inverting and brushing with the glaze. This short cooling time gives the cake time to “set” a bit so it won’t collapse or fall apart when removed from the pan.
- The bottom of this Easy French Almond Cake becomes the top when the cake is finished and served. This gives the cake a nice flat top and the entire cake a beautiful golden crust.
- Brush the glaze on slowly and use it all. Some of it will drip off, but most will be absorbed by the cake and will form the delicious candy-like glaze.
- This recipe calls for a 2-inch deep, 9-inch pan. Not all 9-inch pans are that deep. If you don’t have a 9-inch pan that’s at least 2-inches deep, you might want to use a 10-inch or a springform pan.
- I love this 9-inch baking pan. It has a nice, textured non-stick finish, is super sturdy and comes through the dishwasher beautifully!
- Since you won't be using a mixer to make the fresh cherry buttercream, make sure your butter is nice and soft. You can leave it sit out for a few hours or soften it on the lowest power of your microwave for 30-90 seconds, depending on the microwave. Start with 30 seconds and check it every 10 seconds after that. You want it nice and soft but not melted.
- The icing recipe makes a nice thick layer, feel free to halve the amounts if you like less icing or a less sweet cake.
- This cake freezes well, although the glaze won’t be crisp when it’s thawed. I freeze the cake uncovered for an hour until it’s mostly frozen then wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Freezing it uncovered keeps the cake from getting smushed when you’re wrapping it.
Thought for the day:
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusted in Him,
and I am helped:
therefore my heart greatly rejoices;
and with my song will I praise Him.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh sweet cherries
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¾ cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup almond flour, not almond meal
- ¾ cup neutral-flavored oil (sunflower grapeseed, canola oil,
- ¾ cup powdered sugar plus more for sprinkling
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- ½ cup very soft butter
- cherries prepped above
- 2 tablespoons half and half or milk (maybe a bit more)
- 2½-2¾ cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Spray a 9-inch round cake pan (with at least 2 inch tall sides) with baking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and spray parchment paper lightly. Set aside.
Combine the chopped cherries and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir well and set aside (the sugar will cause the cherries to release their juices).
In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs and extracts, stirring until well blended. Add the baking powder and salt. Stir until well incorporated. Add the all-purpose and almond flours and stir just unit the flour disappears.
Add the oil and stir well. Don't worry, at first it will seem to separate, but keep stirring till smooth. This might take a minute or so.
Pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch in the center and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil if getting too brown near the end and cake is still not done. Be careful not to overbake.
Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes; then turn it out of the pan onto the rack. While the cake is still warm, using a pastry brush, gently pat the glaze all over the cake. Just keep going over the cake till the glaze is gone. Some of it will drip off, but most of it will soak in. Allow cake to cool completely before topping with the icing.
While the cake is baking, make the glaze by combining the apple (or orange) juice, powdered sugar and extracts in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk until nice and smooth. Cover and set aside.
While the cake is cooling, make the icing by combining the soft butter, cherries and half and half (or milk). Stir to combine, then add the powdered sugar and stir until nice and smooth. You want a thick but spreadable icing. If too thick, add a bit more half and half. If too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar.
Spread the icing over the top of the cake, swirling with the back of a spoon for a decorative affect. Allow the icing to set for 10-15 minutes before serving.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.