The Fall Cookbook Cake Parade

The "Epic" Apple-Almond Cake That Was Nearly Overlooked

October 25, 2016

Tra-la-la, it's The Fall Cookbook Cake Parade: a new cake from a new cookbook every single day. Are your costumes cake pans ready?

Today: Why the apple-almond cake Luisa Weiss calls "the world's best" almost didn't make it into her book at all.

We've talked before about great recipes hiding in plain sight: the gems (Fantasy Sauce) and classics (Toll House cookies) that are on the packages in cupboards and in grocery stores—seen but not always noticed.

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But for Luisa Weiss, who filled a whole book with German cookies, cakes, yeasted cakes, strudels, breads, Christmas favorites, and more, the back of the package was more than weeknight dinner inspiration.

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Top Comment:
“Made almond paste and used honey crisp apples. I did step outside the recipe and added 2 Tbs of boiled apple cider from King Arthur Flour to intensify the apple flavor. So, so good! The cornstarch added to the AP flour is similar to cake flour. ”
— Hedy D.

In this case, the almond paste tube was the ticket to the one cake that, three days before her manuscript was due, was still eluding her:

My assistant, Maja, and I had tried a couple of apple-almond paste cakes earlier in our testing, but they were nothing special. In fact, after the most recent lackluster one, I’d decided to omit this cake, even though I love the combination of almond paste and apples and I was sort of surprised we hadn’t cracked that particular code. Three days before the manuscript was due, I was looking on the back of a packet of almond paste and out of the corner of my eye I saw a little recipe. I mean really little; it was printed on the short side of the 4-inch-/10-centimeter-wide rectangular packet. It was less than a knuckle’s length of printed information, but as soon as I saw it, I knew we’d have to try it.

We had almond paste. We had apples. We had an hour between one loaf rising and another cake baking. So we made a few tweaks (more apples, for one, and adding almond extract and salt for better flavor plus brushing a hot apricot glaze on top to give the cake a special sheen) and an hour later we had the world’s best apple-almond cake in front of us. No joke. This cake is epic.

Reprinted with permission from Classic German Baking (Ten Speed Press 2016).

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Hedy DeCampo
    Hedy DeCampo
  • Rocky Webster
    Rocky Webster
  • Odarka Polanskyj Stockert
    Odarka Polanskyj Stockert
  • JulieQC
  • Olivia Vuille
    Olivia Vuille
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Hedy D. June 3, 2017
This is a delicious, not too sweet cake. Made almond paste and used honey crisp apples. I did step outside the recipe and added 2 Tbs of boiled apple cider from King Arthur Flour to intensify the apple flavor. So, so good! The cornstarch added to the AP flour is similar to cake flour.
Rocky W. November 23, 2016
Wonder what would happen if you replaced the cornstarch with flour
Odarka P. November 16, 2016
almond paste is not marzipan.. check solo products
JulieQC October 31, 2016
Turned out great flavor and texture wise! Made with Empire apples. Only change: Baked in a fluted springform pan (for lack if a round one).
Olivia V. October 26, 2016
That seems really sweet with the 200g almond paste and the additional 150g sugar. Anyone try it yet? I cannot stomach cloyingly sweet baked goods anymore. :/
Mimu October 26, 2016
This is why i was contemplaning swapping the almond paste for almond flour. Going to try it, and will let you know
Olivia V. October 26, 2016
I'll be interested in hearing how it goes. :)
Mimu October 28, 2016
That was a brave attempt, am on the richt track, but still too dry and gritty now. Looking for a frangipane-ish thing. So will have to keep on experimenting. Sorry
Olivia V. October 28, 2016
Worth a try. I am going to try the original recipe and if all else fails, I'll feed it to my kids. ;)
Olivia V. October 28, 2016
Thank you for giving it a go!
Laura415 December 23, 2016
You can make your own almond paste with basically almond flour, almond extract and sugar syrup to make it appropriately damp and sticky like store bought almond paste. I always have almond flour in the freezer so not hard to make on the spur of the moment. If less sugar is desired remove it from the dry sugar and not the almond paste. Perhaps sweet liqueur could be used instead of simple syrup. The main problem with removing a lot of sugar from a cake recipe is that the sugar makes cakes moist and tender as it attracts water. Take sugar out of a recipe slowly so you keep the moist and tender part of a cake but reduce the sweet in it.
witloof October 25, 2016
You can buy almond paste in many supermarkets. It's in the baking section. It comes in tubes or cans.
Mimu October 25, 2016
Unfortunately not in the netherlands..
Eva V. November 16, 2016
Hi Mimu, you can buy it in NL; AH has it in the baking section. Ours already has sugar in it so omit the sugar in the recipe. Alternatively you can blitz up 200 grams almonds with ine egg white.
Mimu October 25, 2016
Argh autocorrect... I have never seen, or heard of almond paste, can i substitute it with almond flour or almond butter?
Matilda L. October 25, 2016
No, almond paste is somewhat different from almond butter or almond flour. Food52 has an almond paste recipe here:
Mimu October 25, 2016
Ah yes! Briljant, thank you
Mimu October 25, 2016
I have never steen or hard of almond paste, could i subtitute it with almond flour?
jan November 15, 2016
Almond paste is also called marzipan. You can usually find it in the baking aisle but if not , you can find recipes online to make it. Almond flour would not be a substitute.
nancy E. October 14, 2018
Almond paste is almond paste, marzipan is almond paste with sugar and rosewater added. They are not the same

sara D. October 22, 2018
I baked this cake this morning, testing it out in advance of Thanksgiving. The Solo Almond Paste now comes in a box instead of a can. It is a block in a foil package, the recipe says to grate it which is what I did. I used the whole 8 ounces. This could have been a mistake because (a) the cake took 20 extra minutes to cook in my calibrated oven, and (b) it is overwhelmingly almond. I know my children will NOT eat it. I think 3 diced apples is too much for the batter also. I was thinking next time I would use 2 apples for the diced ones, and 2 for the topping (3 was too many here, I think I threw away 1 apples-worth of slices). Then I thought maybe it doesn't need the almond extract.
I have marked it up for 'next time', but I think I am just going to throw the recipe away. It was a NO for me. Sorry food52, I usually love your recipes.
mudd December 6, 2019
Almond paste and marzipan are different. Marzipan has more sugary things than paste
katherineholden October 31, 2022
Read the recipe, which calls for small apples. I used 3 small apples for the batter and 3 small apples for the topping and it was perfect. If a recipe calls for 7 oz. of almond paste, which this did (not 8) save the additional ounce to use in cookies, which is what I did. I followed the recipe and it was delicious. People have spent a great deal of time and effort creating this recipe, and it's rather thoughtless of you to go off piste and to complain about the results.