The first time I made this wonderful almond joy cake, our grandson had just turned twenty. He had completed his third semester of college, was playing baseball, and was home for Christmas break.
Fast forward to last week. He just turned twenty-five, and that is enough to take my breath away. A twenty-five-year-old grandson? How did that happen?
He's married now and made the long trip from West Texas to be with our family for Thanksgiving. We were all so excited we were counting the days. His visit prompted me to make the cake again today, even though he wouldn't be here to eat it with us.
He loved Almond Joy candy bars back then, so I set out to make a cake with that flavor profile. This whole poke cake thing has made everyone so creative; the possibilities are endless, and it's so much fun!
Well, if you like coconut, that is, you are going to love it! I worked for a guy once who hated coconut because he said it was like eating bugs. I wondered how much experience he had doing that. Really?
The cake is easy to make, and I suggest you cut it into 15 servings because it is loaded with goodies, and you don't need a huge piece!
Coconut is amazing, and when you combine it with chocolate and almonds, you are just a few steps away from heaven! This cake is delightfully moist because the devil's food cake is poked with coconut pudding.
Then it's covered with Hershey's famous "Lickety Split" chocolate frosting you make from scratch; the recipe has been on the can for decades. I modified this cake with some almond extract in addition to the vanilla. Finally, it is topped with toasted coconut and almonds for extra crunch and flavor!
Begin by making a chocolate cake in a thirteen-by-nine pan according to the directions on the box. If you're feeling ambitious, make a chocolate cake from scratch. I used a Devil's Food Cake mix.
When the cake is nearly finished, mix up a box of instant coconut pudding and beat it for two minutes. You want it to be well mixed but not set.
When the cake comes out of the oven and is still hot, poke holes all over the top using the round handle of a wooden spoon. I think I poked five rows of three holes. You want craters that are big enough to swallow up the pudding you pour over the warm cake.
Pour that pudding over the top and use a rubber spatula to coax it into the holes and away from the edges of the pan. Try for an even coating of pudding. This brand of coconut pudding had coconut in it!
Now chill that cake until it is completely cool, and the pudding has set. Don't try to frost it before that, or you will have a mess on your hands!
Make a batch of Lickety-Split Frosting! Mix powdered sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, and almond extract in a bowl. I used my big stand mixer. Cover the mixer and bowl with a tea towel to keep the powdered sugar from flying all over the place until the ingredients are mixed well.
If you use a hand mixer, I suggest putting the bowl in the sink to make it, and you can easily wipe away the splatters and rogue powdered sugar. Beat it until it is light and fluffy, and there's no powdered sugar showing.
You may need to add a little powdered sugar if it seems too thin or a little milk if it gets too thick to spread nicely. Frosting has a mind of its own sometimes.
While the cake is chilling and you do the dishes, toast the coconut and almonds in a 350-degree oven. The almonds will take a little longer, so start with them first. Set a five-minute timer, then add the coconut and toast them together for another five minutes.
I used one sheet pan for both. I mixed them together anyway to spread on top of the cake.
When the pudding-poked almond joy cake is completely chilled, carefully frost it with your luscious chocolate frosting all the way to the edge of the pan. Spread the toasted coconut and almonds evenly on top of the cake and press them down lightly so they stay put.
This cake will need to be kept in the refrigerator. I do not recommend freezing this cake, so invite some friends over so you can eat it within three or four days.
1. Bake the cake according to the directions on the box. (You'll need three eggs, 1/2 cup of cooking oil, and water.)
2. Toast the almonds on a sheet pan at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes; watch closely.
3. Leave the almonds on the sheet pan and add the coconut. Return to the oven for about another five minutes; watch closely.
4. Set toasted coconut and toasted almonds aside.
5. When the cake is done and still hot, poke holes in it with the handle of a wooden spoon.
6. When the cake comes out of the oven, prepare the pudding. (You'll need 2 cups of milk.)
7. Spread warm pudding over warm cake. Use a rubber spatula to coax pudding into the craters you made to soak it up.
8. Refrigerate the cake for about two hours until it is completely cool and the pudding is set.
9. Make Lickety Split Frosting; see the separate recipe card.
10. Frost the cake, and top it with toasted coconut and almonds before the frosting sets. Press the toppings lightly into the frosting so they stay put.
11. This cake should be refrigerated.
For this cake, use one teaspoon of vanilla and one teaspoon of almond extract.
** For Almond Joy cake, use one teaspoon of vanilla and one teaspoon of almond extract.
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Love, GB (Betty Streff)
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