almond joy

it’s safe to say that i’m not particularly fond of almonds, or of coconut. yet, something spectacular happens when the two are combined with chocolate. either, the almond and the chocolate or the chocolate and the coconut. i’m pretty sure bounty was my favourite chocolate bar as a kid, and only because i didn’t know about almond joys.

so, maybe you can understand what possessed me to make these cupcakes for last sunday’s cupcake camp. also, the fact that i had both almonds and coconuts in the house…something that is not a regular occurrence.

almond joy cake
makes 24 cupcakes or two 8-inch layers

chocolate almond cake
recipe adapted from julia child

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted (if using chocolate chips, this is about 1 1/3 cup)
2 tbsp cocoa (dutch-process or black, your choice)
1/4 pound or 1 stick softened butter
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
6 egg whites
pinch of salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar to beat with egg whites
2/3 cup ground almonds
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 cup cake flour, turned into a sifter

preheat the oven to 350F. melt the chocolate and cocoa in a double boiler over a pan of simmering water.
cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.
beat in the egg yolks until well blended.

beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle 2 tbsp sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.

with a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate mixture into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the ground almonds, and almond extract.

immediately stir in one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter.
delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding.
alternate the egg whites and flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.

turn the batter into the cake pan(s).
bake on the middle rack at 350F (25 minutes for cake; 18 for cupcakes).
the cake is done when it has puffed, and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily.

i used the same icing as the one for my niece’s birthday cake. except, instead of white chocolate, i incorporated about 1/4 cup black cocoa into the butter before mixing it with the meringue.

be forewarned, dogs like chocolate. they will, even as puppies, jump on to your shoulder if there is chocolate to be had. just saying.

once the cupcakes are cooled, frost them with the icing (or, ice them with the frosting…whichever). dunk the cupcakes into toasted coconut and then add another swirl of icing. optional decoration: top with two glosette almonds (or, if you’re hardcore, make your own chocolate covered almonds).


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