Almond Cake with Rhubarb //

I am just too excited to show you this cake that I don’t even know what to say. I don’t think it needs a lot of words but it does need to be shared, like right now, because Easter is on Sunday and I think this cake would blow the minds off of whoever will be joining your Easter table.

This recipe also happens to mark the first rhubarb recipe of 2016 here on Not Without Salt and if you’ve been here awhile you now I’m a fan. A big, big, big, big fan. So happy spring, happy cake and happy Easter.

Almond Cake with Rhubarb // Almond Cake with Rhubarb //

The bulk of the cake itself gets its structure from almonds, deeply toasted. I mean really, don’t be afraid to go dark here. When your kitchen starts to smell intensely of roasted almonds then you’re there. Once they cool they go into a food processor, completely whole and then, along with the rest of the ingredients until finely chopped, you’ll grind them until fine. Inevitably they won’t be as fine as almond flour so the resulting cake texture has a bit of an almond bite to it, which I love. It’s actually quite a different texture all together; hearty, a bit dense – not like a typical springy cake texture, but it’s beautifully almond speckled, rich and a perfect teammate to the rhubarb and cream cheese. And then you go and serve the cake with the remaining stewed rhubarb and a bit of cool whipped cream and *boom* minds blown, just as I predicted.

Almond Cake with Rhubarb // IMG_5109

Toasted Almond Cake, Stewed Rhubarb and Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

For the cake:

2 cups almonds

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 stick (4 ounces) butter, melted

1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Line three 8 inch cake pans with butter or pan spray and parchment paper. But the parchment paper.

Toast the almonds in a 350° oven until their toasty fragrance fills your kitchen and they turn deeply golden, about 10-15 minutes.

Let the almonds cool completely.

In the bowl of a food processor add the almonds, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Process until the almonds are completely pulverized. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then process again. The finer the crumb of the almond the finer the texture of the cake will be. I actually like a little bit of nutty texture in the cake so I don’t  worry about it being perfectly fine.

In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, almond extract, vanilla extract, melted butter, and olive oil.

Carefully pour the wet ingredients into the food processor. Process until a smooth batter forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then process again.

Divide the batter between the three cake pans.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the top feels springy when touched.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pans and cooling on a rack completely.

Make the stewed rhubarb while the cakes bake.

Stewed Rhubarb

1 1/2 pound rhubarb, ends trimmed and stalks cut into 1-inch pieces (you’ll need a total of 2 pounds for the whole cake recipe)

3/4 cup sugar

Juice from half a lemon

Add the rhubarb, sugar, and lemon juice to a small saucepan set over medium low heat. Cook gently until the rhubarb just starts to fall apart. Carefully transfer the rhubarb to a bowl and let cool completely.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature

2 sticks butter, room temperature

3 – 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat together until creamy and well combined. Sift the powdered sugar then add that to the bowl. Add the salt and vanilla extract before beating everything together. Start the machine slowly then, when all the sugar has been mixed in, increase the speed and beat on medium high for 3 to 5 minutes until fluffy and light. Scrape down the bowl then beat again, briefly until well mixed.

Rhubarb Roses

1/2 pound rhubarb stalks, ends trimmed

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Use a vegetable peeler to peel the rhubarb into strips. The harder you press on the peeler the thicker the strips will be. You’re looking for about 1/8-inch thickness.

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Carefully add the rhubarb strips to the pan, just a few at a time, and gently poach for about 30 seconds. The strips should be malleable and be able to bend without breaking.

Lay the rhubarb strips on paper towels.

To form the roses gently roll them up in a tight coil. Alternate the size of the roses by cutting down some of the rhubarb strips. Replace the roses to the paper towels until ready to use.

Reserve the rhubarb simple syrup and the rest of the stewed rhubarb.

Assemble the cake:

Phew. Okay, now it’s time to make a cake! Brush each of the cake layers with a bit of the reserved rhubarb syrup from the rhubarb rose making. Then add a thin layer of cream cheese frosting followed by about 1/3 cup of the rhubarb filling. It’ll be soft and juicy and probably run out of the cake a bit but as the cake sits the cake will soak it up.

Repeat with the second cake layer then finish with the final layer. Add about 1 1/2 cups of rhe frosting to the top of the cake. Frost the cake to your desire, although I will suggest a nice thick layer of frosting on the top. I chose to leave the edges of the cake a bit exposed because I love the rustic layers of the cake showing through but you can frost it completely if you prefer.

Serve the slices with the remaining stewed rhubarb and whipped cream if you have some around.

This cake, like so many of its other cake friends, is best the day after it’s baked. You can frost and decorate on the day you plan to serve it if you’d like and bake the cake layers up to two days before. Just be sure to wrap them well.

51 Responses to “Toasted Almond Cake, Stewed Rhubarb, Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Tori

    Oh MY! The way you’ve described this cake with those deeply toated almonds and the creamy frosting is enough to make me want to speed to the kitchen right now to start! What a lovely cake for Springtime and Easter!

  2. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Beautiful cake! Beautiful shot! Both compliment each other. I love the softness almost ethereal quality and then the pop of rose!! My kids love rhubarb and I use to have it in my garden — we moved but I’d love to make this cake and share the memory of our old house with my children. Thank you for the inspiration — Buona Pasqua!

  3. Karen

    Wow, what a beauty. I love the contrast of rustic cake (with those whole toasted almonds) and the delicate prettiness of rhubarb roses and snow white buttercream. Happy spring 🙂

  4. Megan @MegisWell

    I can smell the roasted almonds in my kitchen already. I love rhubarb but I’m pretty boring because I’ve only ever used it in pies so I can’t wait to expand my tasting experience! Beautiful.

  5. Kiani

    I love this! If I make it in advance like you mention, how would you suggest I store the cake layers? In the refrigerator? Do you think the filling and frosting could be made in advance and stored in the fridge as well? Thank you so much for this beautiful recipe!

  6. Taste of France

    This is exquisite! Why does “stewed” sound so unappetizing, when the recipe is in fact a lot like my grandma’s rhubarb jam? And those rhubarb roses!
    I thought I was on to some kind of foraging nirvana with wild almonds, which are everywhere here. I picked a bunch and ate two. They tasted very strongly, like marzipan. I only then looked up wild almonds and learned that they are POISON! They contain cyanide! Even five can be fatal for a kid, but it takes about 50 for an adult. Goes to show that just because something is natural and wild, it isn’t always safe.
    I still like regular almonds, though!

  7. Annie

    Lovely cake!! I m, looking forward to making this for the holiday weekend…. A couple quick questions though … How large was your food processor to make the batter? Would a kitchenaid mixer work or bring it all together? How much batter was in each cake tin… About an inch I ran inch and a half? Many many thanks!! 🙂

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      I’m not at home at the moment and cant’ answer these questions perfectly but I’ll do the best I can. The food processor is KitchenAid brand and it’s a big one. I think maybe the bowl would hold 8 cups? And I think it’s a fairly standard size. A KitchenAid mixer would totally work to bring the batter together if you had a way to grind the almonds otherwise or you could buy and toast almond flour.
      There was about an inch of batter in each cake pan.

      • Annie

        Perfect! Thank you… this is exactly what I was looking for. 🙂 I have a cuisinart food processor but it is smaller than the 8c one. So I will do the almond in that and bring the cake batter together in the kitchen aid stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Thank you SO much! I will let you know how it turns out!

  8. Lisa

    This is so beautiful. I love rhubarb. I hope my cake looks as beautiful as yours. Do you think the layers would freeze well unfrosted? For how long?

  9. Katie Winters

    I saw your post about this recipe on facebook yesterday and decided to make it for our Easter celebration with Damon’s family. I only have one cake pan, so I did cupcakes instead, each muffin tin held about 1/4c batter. I LOVE the cake, it’s so perfect, not too sweet, and the lemon zest is evident, but like a whisper!
    I am making the rhubarb now, but am planning to cool it and put it in a jar to refrigerate until Sunday. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe, I’ll let you know how the cupcakes are received (I’ve cut out the center to fill them with the rhubarb and then replace the tops so I can frost them still.)
    Happy Easter! (o:


      • Katie Winters

        Thank you! It turned out ok, I think if I were to do it again I would try the cake or only make the cupcakes a day in advance. They were pretty sticky by the time we ate them – but the flavor was awesome (o: Thanks for the fun recipe!

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  11. Kiani

    I made the cake for our Easter brunch yesterday and it turned out great. Just the name itself was super impressive. I felt the cake was a little sweet for my own taste, and a bit lemony, so if I make it again I may cut back on that since the frosting and stewed rhubarb was so sweet as well. I loved the toasted almond flavor and texture. And everyone was impressed by the rhubarb roses. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Glad you enjoyed it! You can easily cut back on some of the sugar in the rhubarb or the frosting. I’m surprised it was so sweet. I’m not usually a super sweet fan either.

  12. Johanna

    Wow, this looks amazing. I love rhubarb and some members from my family would probably be REALLY happy about this cake. I’ll definitely try and make it in the summer as a refreshing treat (and maybe create a student-friendly version from the main idea, would that be ok?).
    Greetings from the student kitchen,

  13. Deborah Brouwer

    What kind of almonds did you use? Blanched, raw, whole, sliced, slivered? Does it matter?

  14. Kristen

    I just finished making the cake portion of this cake and I actually chose to do cupcakes, simply because I just don’t have much time and cupcakes bake quicker and are easier to decorate in my opinion. I did a small sample one in a ramekin first to make sure that it would turn out and let me tell you this cake is AMAZING!!!! It reminds me of a financier cake batter which is one of my favourite cakes. I chose to leave out the lemon zest and almond extract and instead doubled the vanilla and browned the butter to give that rich vanilla caramel note. I could tell even before putting this cake in the oven by the smell of the batter that it was going to be amazing.
    I need these for two separate occasions, the first is going to be a plated dessert. I am going to invert the cupcake onto the plate spoon a heaping spoon full of rhubarb compote and serve with vanilla ice cream or soft whipped cream. The second I am bringing to work for a work birthday, so I am going to scoop out a small amount of cake from the centre of the cupcake and fill it with the rhubarb and then I am going to top it with buttermilk buttercream. Basically buttercream made with buttermilk instead of regular milk, it adds that nice tangy edge to the super sweet buttercream, actually similar in flavour profile to cream cheese frosting. I just don’t want to have to refridgerate these at work so this frosting will be more room temperature stable. If you haven’t tried it I highly recommend it! This cake recipe is going to be a staple from here on, just stunning and easy to make too. Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. Kristina

    Hi Ashley,
    I have to confess my undying love for your recipes. Every recipe I’ve tried is outstanding. You are a kitchen goddess!

    That being said, I would love to attempt this cake. I bought some rhubarb to test the roses, but I am having a very difficult time with the peeling. Even with a pressure, the rhubarb just sort of sprays its juice and will not peel at all. Do you think this could be an issue with my vegetable peeler? I desperately want to make this cake and the roses are the most appealing part. Do you have any advice on peeling?

    p.s. I did use the “test” rhubarb for the simple syrup in Date Night In and especially love the addition of nutmeg to the cocktail. It’s so impressive!

  16. Jody

    This cake is visually stunning and sounds perfect for my friends bday party! She loves almond flavor. My question is on the stewed rhubarb…it tastes incredible, but doesn’t look as fruity-pinky colored as it does in your photo. Any idea why this would be? Mine’s more brown-pink. Perhaps I cooked too long or was I only to use the very pink parts of the rhubarb? I used the whole stalk with exception of the leaves of course. I also wonder if it’s the sugar I used…I think it’s called raw sugar. May try to make again depending. Thanks!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Was the rhubarb you used bright red to begin with? Some rhubarb varieties tend to not be nearly as vibrant and will leave you with a less rosey hued compote. Perhaps this was the reason. Or maybe it was cooked longer than mine. Also, the brown-ish tinge of the raw sugar would definitely affect the color as well.

  17. Bella Hardy

    This is so yummy and interesting toasted almond cake. I tried this kind of recipe before but this is unique. Instead of 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar i took honey! Thx for sharing! I will try your variant!

  18. Amy

    Hi Ashley! I have a bag of blanched almond meal/flour that I’d like to use up if you think it will work okay. I’m planning to toast it like you recommended in one of the comments. Should I still use 2 cups? Or would it be a little less? Thanks 🙂

  19. Christina

    Hi, I saw that you mentioned the cake is best day after. Can all components be made in advance, including the frosting and the jam? Or are these best made right before assembling and eating? Thank you.


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