Decadent Chocolate Almond Cake with Sour Cream Icing

Sylvia McArdle & Stephanie Hannus


For the cake

  • 4 Ounces  high-quality semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons  ground coffee granules
  • stick unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 Cup  granulated sugar
  • egg yolks
  • 1 Teaspoon  bourbon vanilla extract
  • egg whites
  • 1 Teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/2 Cup  crushed almonds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  almond extract
  • 1/2 Cup  cake flour, sifted

For the icing

  • 8 Ounces  high-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon  instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/4 Cup  sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup  corn syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1 Teaspoon  vanilla extract

The rich dark chocolate and creamy, one-of-a-kind icing in this recipe are worthy of the lords and ladies of Downton Abbey. While later made famous by chef Julia Child, this cake was enjoyed in Europe — and made by chefs like Mrs. Patmore — for years before Julia Child came around.


For the cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour one 8-inch round baking pan.

Place the chocolate and ground coffee in the top of a double-boiler. Stir until chocolate is thoroughly melted, then remove from heat.

Cream together the butter and sugar for several minutes until they form a pale fluffy mixture.

In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks with the vanilla extract, then add to the butter-sugar mixture and thoroughly combine.

In another small bowl, beat the egg whites and salt together until soft peaks are formed.

Pour the melted chocolate into the butter-sugar mixture and thoroughly mix. Then mix in almonds and almond extract. Immediately stir in a quarter of the egg-white mixture so as to lighten the cake. Then mix in the cake flour in small amounts, alternating with the rest of the egg whites.

Turn the batter into the cake pan, then bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. The cake is done when it has puffed and a toothpick inserted around the circumference comes out clean while another stuck in the middle comes out slightly oily.

Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes. Loosen the cake rim with a knife, then reverse it onto a cooling rack. Allow to thoroughly cool for 1-2 hours before icing. 

For the icing

Mix together the chocolate and espresso powder in the top of a double-boiler. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and let the chocolate cool until tepid.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the sour cream, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the chocolate and stir quickly until the mixture is uniform. Let the icing cool in refrigerator until it is a spreadable consistency, no more than 25 minutes. Spread over the cake with a spatula and then decorate with a design of chopped almonds. 


The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook (F+W Media, September 2012) By Emily Ansara Baines


Calories per serving:

812 calories

Dietary restrictions:

Peanut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Alcohol Free

Daily value:



  • Fat 279g 429%
  • Carbs 622g 207%
  • Saturated 155g 775%
  • Fiber 27g 108%
  • Trans 4g
  • Sugars 528g
  • Monounsaturated 89g
  • Polyunsaturated 16g
  • Protein 43g 86%
  • Cholesterol 577mg 192%
  • Sodium 5,011mg 209%
  • Calcium 639mg 64%
  • Magnesium 570mg 142%
  • Potassium 2,198mg 63%
  • Iron 18mg 103%
  • Zinc 10mg 65%
  • Phosphorus 1,159mg 166%
  • Vitamin A 1,344µg 149%
  • Vitamin C 3mg 4%
  • Thiamin (B1) 1mg 76%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 2mg 116%
  • Niacin (B3) 8mg 42%
  • Vitamin B6 0mg 22%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 241µg 60%
  • Vitamin B12 1µg 23%
  • Vitamin D 4µg 1%
  • Vitamin E 17mg 85%
  • Vitamin K 32µg 41%
Have a question about nutritional data? Let us know.
Rate this Recipe

Bring your favorite dish to our table

Join the Daily Meal's Community and Share your Thoughts

The Daily Meal Editors and Community Say...