Pittsburgh bake shop Prantl’s Bakery offers a popular cake called burnt almond torte. This is my brother’s favorite cake, and I wondered at his recent birthday dinner if I could make one. Naturally, I gave it a shot using a combination of recipes I’ve made before and a few I found online. The cake you see here is destined for tonight’s Christmas dessert, and I look forward to updating this post with a photo of a slice of it on my plate.
Technically speaking, a torte isn’t the same as a cake. While cakes use flour, tortes usually do not; instead, they rely on ground nuts and other ingredients for their structure. Whether Prantl’s burnt almond torte is an actual torte, I cannot say – mine is not, as it uses a white almond cake batter with regular flour. Because I wanted a smaller cake, I used two 8 x 8 square pans but a single-layer cake recipe, so I’d have smaller layers overall. You could double the recipe below for a larger cake if you like.
White Almond Cake
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two 8 x 8-inch square cake pans with baking spray; line with a parchment square and spray the parchment.
In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar, shortening, and salt until fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined.
Add flour mixture and milk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour and beating until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pans; bake for 14-15 minutes, until tops are just golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool cake completely before filling and frosting.
Fluffy Almond Buttercream
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
In a mixing bowl, beat butter for about 1 minute, then add salt and beat another minute.
Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until all of the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter; this will take a few minutes.
Add vanilla extract and almond extract, beating well to combine.
Add heavy cream and beat for about 2 minutes until fluffy.
Pastry Cream Filling
- About 1/2 to 3/4 cup pastry cream
- 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
- 1/3 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
In a medium bowl, combine almonds, sugar, and water; stir to combine.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place half of the almond mixture in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 4-5 minutes until almonds turn a light golden brown. Almonds will start out looking wet and will appear dry when they are almost done.
Remove to the parchment paper to cool and repeat with the second half of the almonds. Allow to cool completely before using.
To assemble the cake:
Place one layer on your cake plate and top with pastry cream, spreading within about 1/2 inch of the edges. Top with second layer of cake.
Frost cake completely. Cover the tops and sides with almonds, pressing gently to allow them to stick.
Store in the refrigerator; allow to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.