Cake decorating class with Toba Garrett

Recipe: Toba Garrett's Almond Paste & French Vanilla Buttercream Cake

As we gear up to launch our new Techniques and Art of Professional Cake Decorating program on May 2nd, we are very excited to share one of Chef Toba Garrett's cake and icing recipes.


Almond Paste Cake
Tools: 5 or 6 Quart Mixer
Yields: 2, 10” cake layers or 3, 8” cake layers


  • 9 oz (255 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 oz (170 g) almond paste
  • 24oz (680 g) granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 ½  tsp almond extract
  • 12 fl oz (340 g) whole milk
  • 18 oz (510 g) cake flour
  • 1 ½  Tbsp baking powder
  • ¾  tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175-177˚C).  Vegetable spray and parchment line three 8” (20.32 cm) cake pans.  Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter, almond paste and sugar for 4 minutes.  Stop, scrape the bowl, and cream for 60 seconds more.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, to the creamed mixture.  Beat in the almond extract.
  4. Sieve together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the creamed mixture.  Ladle the mixture into the baking pans.  This is a thick batter.
  5. Carefully smooth the batter with a metal offset spatula.  Hit the pan against the counter to burst any air bubbles.
  6. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes or until the cake slightly shrinks and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cake can last for 3 weeks in the refrigerator if wrapped well and can be frozen.

A buttercream frosting cake featured in Toba Garrett’s book, “Professional Cake Decorating”

French Vanilla Buttercream
Tools: 5 or 6 Quart Mixer
Yields: 2 ½ to 3 lbs (1.13 to 1.36 kg)


  • 12 oz (340 g) of granulated sugar
  • 6 fl oz (177 ml) whole milk
  • 1½ Tbsp (3/8 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) salt
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 3 fl oz (85 g) heavy cream
  • 1¼ lbs (57 kg or 568 g) unsalted butter (cut-up)

Or, for a larger quantity:
Tools: 20 Quart Mixer*
Yields: 10 to 10.5 lbs (4.45 to 4.76 kg)


  • 3 lbs (48 oz or 1.35 kg) of granulated sugar
  • 24 oz (710 ml) whole milk
  • 6 Tbsp (90 ml or 1.5 oz or 38 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) salt
  • 2 fl oz (57 g or 59 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 9 fl oz (266 ml) heavy cream
  • 5 lbs (2.27 kg) unsalted butter (cut-up)

*Recipe can be multiplied 5 times for a 60 quart mixer. Instructions:

  1. Make custard by heating milk and sugar over a double boiler until sugar crystals dissolve.  Remove from heat and add flour and salt and whisk until flour is incorporated.  Place over an ice bath until the custard has slightly cooled.
  2. Pour custard mixture in mixer bowl with paddle attachment.  Add cut-up butter and heavy cream.  Mix on LOW speed to fully incorporate ingredients or until mixture starts to thicken.
  3. Mix on NEXT highest speed until mixtures starts to look light and fluffy.   This can take 7 to 10 minutes or longer if making larger batches.
  4. Store and refrigerate buttercream in an air-tight container.  Freeze for up to 2 months.

Note:  If the buttercream curdles, it will just take a longer time for the butter to warm-up.  Continue beating until the butter softens and the mixture looks light and fluffy.  
© 1995, 2007 Toba Garrett, all rights reserved

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