Vanilla Pastry Cream Almond Cake is filled with homemade vanilla pastry cream, sprinkled with almonds and cinnamon sugar, and baked on a sheet. A perfect cake for a party and so easy to make!
Last weekend we were invited to the 30th birthday party of a good friend and I offered to bring a cake. I wanted to make something that’s easy to transport and feeds many people. Which for me means: Sheet Cake and preferably no chocolate or delicate cream fillings which melt in the heat!
The first cake which came to my mind was my Apple Streusel Sheet Cake which tastes super delicious. I love the streusel on top and the moist apple filling. But I had no apples. FAIL.
So this tasty Vanilla Pastry Cream filled Cake with Almonds and Cinnamon Sugar on top had his big day. It’s a great cake to bring to a party because it keeps fresh even if it’s hot outside – no chocolate which could melt or fresh buttercream which could get bad. And you don’t need plates or cutlery to eat it! One could say it’s the exact opposite of the Naked Strawberry Layer Cake I shared last week which looks beautiful and tastes like heaven but wouldn’t be a good choice for a hot summer day garden party without a fridge!
The base for this cake is a simple yeast dough. Let your stand mixer do the work and then let the dough rise for 1 hour until doubled in size. The warm weather at the moment is great for yeast dough!
While the dough rises make the pastry cream. It’s really easy because you just need sugar, vanilla pudding mix, milk, and butter. To make a perfect pastry cream I use a little bit less milk than normal to make the pudding. That helps to get a thicker cream.
When the vanilla pudding has reached room temperature you just have to mix in the butter and the pastry cream is ready to be injected into the dough. Yes, I mean inject! Roll out your dough on a big baking sheet and poke holes in it with your finger. Fill the cream into a piping bag with a round tip attached and pipe the cream into the holes.
You might think it’s too much pastry cream but it isn’t! Just make more holes if you filled all the ones you made. Look at the picture below. Every time I make this cake I think it’s too much cream but the dough will rise so much in the oven that you want all that cream in it!
When you piped in the cream it’s time to preheat the oven. While that happens the cake has time to have a second rise which makes it fluffy and light! My oven takes about 20 minutes to get to the temperature I want.
Now put your cake in the oven for 15 minutes. In the meantime mix cinnamon, sugar, and almonds. After 15 minutes decrease the temperature, brush the cake with heavy cream and sprinkle the cinnamon mixture on top. Bake for 15 more minutes until the cake is golden brown.
This cake makes your whole kitchen smell great!
Vanilla Pastry Cream Almond Cake
For the yeast dough:
- 1 cup milk lukewarm, 240ml
- 1/3 cup and 1 tbsp sugar 80g
- 4.5 tsp instant dry yeast 2 packages
- 1/2 cup butter 115g, room temperature
- 4 eggs large
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 cups all-purpose flour 750g
For the vanilla pastry cream:
- 2 cups milk 480ml
- 1/3 cup sugar 60g
- 1 package Dr. Oetker Vanilla Pudding mix See notes
- 2.5 sticks butter 280g, room temperature
For the topping:
- 1/3 cup heavy cream 80ml
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds 50g
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup sugar 60g
- Add the lukewarm (not hot!) milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or use a handheld mixer. Use a spoon and manually stir in the sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
- Beat in the softened butter on low speed. Then add the eggs, one at a time (beat until each egg is incorporated) and the salt.
- On low speed, add the flour, one cup at a time. Once all the flour is added, increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and smooth, about 3-4 minutes longer. The dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
- Knead the dough with your hands for 1 minute and form it into a ball. Place the dough ball in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let it sit in a warm place until doubled in size for about 1 to 2 hours.
- In the meantime make the vanilla pastry cream. Take away 1/4 cup milk from the 2 cups and mix with sugar and vanilla pudding mix. Bring the rest of the milk to a boil, remove the pot from the heat and add the sugar-milk-pudding mixture. Stir until the mixture is completely dissolved. Bring the pudding to a boil while stirring constantly and cook for 2-4 more minutes until the vanilla pudding is creamy and coats the back of a spoon. Fill into a bowl and put plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding. Let it cool down to room temperature.
- When the pudding has reached room temperature, add the butter and mix until combined. Fill into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.
- Grease a half sheet baking pan or use parchment paper. After the dough has doubled in size, roll it out into a 3/4 inch (2cm) high rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to the half sheet and poke holes with your fingers or the back of a cooking spoon into the dough.
- Pipe the pastry cream into the holes. Make more holes if you have leftover pastry cream. When you piped all the cream into the cake preheat your oven to 450°F (200°C) and let the dough rise while you wait for your oven to reach the temperature.
- Bake the cake for 15 minutes. In the meantime mix sliced almonds, cinnamon, and sugar together.
- After 15 minutes decrease the temperature to 350°F (180°C) and brush the cake with the heavy cream. Sprinkle cinnamon-almond mixture on top of the cake and bake for 15 more minutes until the top of the cake is golden.
- Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Cut into pieces while still warm.