Almond cake and pastries are some of the best sweet treats there are. My love of almond extract runs deep, thanks to my Danish heritage. If you hand me a tray of pastries to choose from, I’ll pick the one filled with almond paste. It’s just so good. Today’s Almond Coffee Cake features a light, fluffy and very moist cake, made with butter and sour cream, and subtly spiced with nutmeg and cloves. Inside the cake is a sweet and creamy layer of cream cheese and almond paste. A crumbly almond streusel topping adds crunch, and the sweet almond icing drizzled over the top is the perfect finish.
This site contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that I may make a small commission if you purchase a product using those links. This in no way affects my opinion of those products and services. All opinions expressed on this site are my own.
Scandinavian Almond Pastries
Denmark is famous for its delectable pastries, and with a family of Danish ancestors, I grew up eating almond pastries. My mom and grandparents loved them, so I loved them too. Once a week, one of them would go buy a warm almond kringle from a local bakery, and I can still taste the soft, flaky pastry with that irresistible sweet almond filling.
Whether you give me a kringle, croissant, puff pastry braid, bun or a buttery almond pound cake, it’s all good. Add some almond extract or almond paste and a drizzle of sweet almond icing, and I’ll happily eat it for breakfast with a cup of strong coffee. It was with those pastries in mind that I made this almond coffee cake, with plenty of almond flavor thanks to the almond paste, almond extract and chopped almonds.
Almond Paste vs. Almond Pastry Filling
This recipe uses almond paste as a filling inside the cake batter. So let’s discuss what almond paste is, and how it differs from almond pastry filling and marzipan. You’ll find all three on the baking aisle at your grocery store, and while they all contain almonds, they are very different products and are not interchangeable in recipes.
Almond Pastry Filling
- Also Called: Almond Cake and Pastry Filling
- Ingredients: Corn syrup, sugar, water, almonds, evaporated whole milk, modified corn starch, coconut, salt, artificial and natural flavors, vanilla extract, and citric acid.
- Packaging: In cans, jars or tubes.
- Taste and Texture: Almond pastry filling is very sweet, with a thinner jam-like consistency that’s easily spread.
- How to Use: Use it as a filling for cakes, pastries and cookies. A little goes a long way as it is very sweet.
- Ingredients: Blanched almonds, sugar, water, natural flavor. These are the same ingredients as marzipan, but with less sugar and almost double the amount of almonds. Sometimes almond extract is added.
- Packaging: In boxes, tubes, cans, tubs, or bags. A box, with a foil-wrapped package of paste inside is common.
- Taste and Texture: Coarser and less sweet than marzipan. It has a moist, crumbly, stiff texture that’s not spreadable.
- How to Use: Crumble and sprinkle it over batter, dough or pastry to use as a filling in pies and cakes. Bitter almond paste is used to make Italian amaretti cookies. Almond paste is my preferred product for baking with. I love to sprinkle it over batter, or inside cinnamon roll dough. I’ve even added it to crumb toppings. It adds a delicious almond flavor to baked goods. If leftover almond paste dries out in the package, you can still use it by grating it or chopping it up in a food processor, and then re-hydrate it with a little water.
- Also Called: Almond Candy Dough
- Ingredients: Almonds, sugar, glucose syrup, and water. Gluten-free versions are available. It can also sometimes contain egg whites.
- Packaging: In tubes, cans, or tubs.
- Taste and Texture: Sweet and smooth, with more finely ground almonds for a smoother texture; can be brilliant white in color.
- How to Use: To decorate cakes or confections like fondant, or just eaten like candy. Marzipan is often dyed into other colors and molded into shapes and decorations around the holidays.
Coffee Cake Instructions
Making this almond coffee cake does require a few steps, as there is the cake, the filling, the crumb topping and the icing. But each step is easy, and the process goes quickly. When you taste how delicious this almond coffee cake is warm from the oven, you won’t be sorry.
Make the Cake Batter
For the cake, first beat softened butter with granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in eggs, sour cream, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla and almond extracts. With the butter, sour cream and cream, you’re guaranteed of a rich, moist and yet fluffy coffee cake.
Next, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch (makes the cake light and tender), salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to over-mix.
Make the Filling
Beat together the cream cheese with the almond paste. Spread half the cake batter into your baking pan, then dollop with the filling. Spread the filling out, and then top with the rest of the batter.
Add the Crumb Topping and Bake
The crumb topping is a simple mix of flour, sugar, salt and butter, with almonds for crunch. Cut it all together with a pastry cutter, sprinkle the streusel over the batter, and bake your cake.
Drizzle with Icing
After your almond coffee cake comes out of the oven, hot and fragrant and filling your house with the scent of almond pastry, you can make the icing. Just mix together powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream and almond extract until thick and drizzly, then drizzle it over the cake.
The hardest part is waiting for the cake to cool for 20-30 minutes before digging in. Those warm slices of cake, soft and moist and tender, topped with buttery streusel, crunchy almonds and sweet icing is a breakfast worth getting out of bed for.
You Might Also Like
Did you love today’s recipe? Please rate the recipe and let me know in the comments what you thought! Also, be sure to follow Curly Girl Kitchen on Instagram, and tag me when you try one of my recipes so I can see all your delicious creations!
Almond Coffee Cake
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup sour cream
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 1 ⅛ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp cloves
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 4 oz almond paste (not almond pastry filling)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
- 3 tbsp cold unsalted butter
- ¼ cup almonds, finely chopped
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ tsp almond extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 F, and spray a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray.
- Using an electric mixer (stand or handheld), beat the sugar and butter for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down and beat in the eggs.
- Whisk in the sour cream, heavy whipping cream and extracts, until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and whisk briefly, just to combine. Use a spatula to finish folding in any bits of flour. The batter will be thick but spreadable.
- Set aside while you make the filling.
- With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and almond paste for about 30 seconds until combined.
- Spread half the batter into the bottom of your pan.
- Dollop the filling over the batter, then use a small icing spatula to spread the filling out.
- Spread the remainder of the batter over the filling.
- In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter in until the streusel is moist and crumbly. Stir in the almonds (reserving 1-2 tablespoons to sprinkle over the icing later, if you like).
- Sprinkle the streusel over the batter.
- Bake the cake on the center oven rack, for about 45-50 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Set aside to cool while you make the icing.
- In a bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, cream and almond extract until smooth, and has a thick drizzling consistency.
- Drizzle the icing over the hot cake, and sprinkle with the remaining chopped almonds.
- Let cool 20-30 minutes, then serve warm, or at room temperature.
- The filling is optional – I’ve made this coffee cake with and without the cream cheese and almond paste, and it’s great either way. The cream cheese adds a moist, creamy, slightly dense layer inside the fluffy cake. Another option would be to just crumble and sprinkle a layer of almond paste over half the batter, without the cream cheese.
- Leftover coffee cake should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days. It’s fantastic leftover, and can be rewarmed for 20-30 seconds in the microwave for that “just-baked” texture.
- The oval pan shown in this post measures 8×12 inches, but because of the oval shape, only has slightly more capacity than a 9-inch square pan. A 9×13 pan would be too big, and an 8-inch square pan is too small for this much batter, so a 9-inch square pan is recommended.
- Because of the long bake time, you may find that the bottom of the cake browns quite a bit if you use a glass or ceramic pan (which conducts more heat). A light-weight aluminum pan conducts less heat and should result in less of a browned crust at the bottom of the cake. I used a ceramic pan, though, and didn’t mind the golden brown crust at the bottom, so it’s just a matter of preference.