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Pinecone Cakes

  • Yield: Makes eight 3 1/2-inch cakes
Pinecone Cakes

Photography: Sang An

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2003

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup whole, blanched almonds (5 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • Chocolate Frosting for Pinecone Cake
  • 6 cups sliced almonds (1 1/2 pounds)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
  • Chocolate shavings, for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch round cake pan, line bottom with parchment paper, and set aside. Spread almonds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until light golden and fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

  2. Place the toasted almonds and 3/4 cup sugar in a food processor, and pulse until the mixture is finely ground. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in flour; set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan; remove from heat, and stir in rum and vanilla. Let cool slightly.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, beating to stiff glossy peaks.

  4. Fold the flour mixture into the egg-white mixture in three batches, alternating with the butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 40 minutes. Let cake cool in pan 20 minutes on wire rack. Turn out cake onto wire rack, and let cool, top-side up.

  5. Using a 3-inch oval cookie cutter, cut eight ovals from cake. Discard scraps. Trim each to resemble a pinecone with a rounded base and a pointed tip. Leaving bottom unfrosted, spread about 1/3 cup frosting on each pinecone; smooth and round to create a three-dimensional shape.

  6. At the base of one cake, arrange sliced almonds in a spiral, overlapping slightly. Continue arranging almonds in closely set rows to cover the entire surface. Transfer finished cake to a baking sheet in the refrigerator to set while repeating process with remaining cakes. Just before serving, dust the cakes with confectioners' sugar and garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired.

Reviews (5)

  • Schatzie1012 28 Nov, 2011

    These make a spectacular presentation on a dessert plate. I used the Williams-Sonoma Easter Egg cake pan to make the individual cakes, then used the remaining batter for an 8-inch cake. There was way too much frosting in the recipe, and it definitely did not require 6 cups of sliced almonds. I used less than a 10-oz bag and still have a lot left over.

  • swayze 15 Nov, 2008

    i actually melted white chocolate..dyed it green then covered pretzel sticks for pine needles. and added some cranbarries as well and put it together as christmas presents

  • carhenge 8 Nov, 2008

    I made these for our Christmas eve celebration. I loved the chocolate "pine needles". As an added touch, I sprinkled with powdered sugar for a snowy effect. They were a big hit.

  • ckucz427 4 Jul, 2008

    use store bought cheese ball and reshape and arrange almonds for pine cone effect.

  • rsvoboda 29 May, 2008

    I used this technique of slivered almonds for any store bought cheese ball. I just reshape and stab with the slivered almonds. It always gets a great reaction. If anyone asks if I made it, I always smile and say "Yes, I did!"

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