Raspberry Almond Layer Cake

This raspberry almond layer cake uses crumbled muffin pieces to create a naked layer cake a la Momofuku Milk Bar style!

Raspberry Almond Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Baking is a science.

I have learned over and over again that baking is a science.  Not everything I bake turns out pretty and delicious.  I have had many baking failures.  There are many factors that can affect the outcome of your product.

Sometimes the oven temperature is incorrect, the batter is mixed too much or not enough, or there is too much leavening agent. Formulating a new recipe is similar to coming up with a hypothesis.

Through a series of testings, trial and error, tastings and observations, you eventually can perfect a recipe.


How to turn a baking failure into a baking win:

I had it all planned out.  I decided to use a muffin batter that I had experience making before, except this time adding raspberries and some almond flour.  No biggie.

The batter tasted amazing as I was mixing it together.  I was so excited for this new recipe.  I usually use cupcake liners, but I opted to grease the muffin tins because I wanted the muffins to look natural and rustic.

Apparently, I didn’t use enough baking spray because my muffins did release from the tin after baking.

It was a struggle.  I tried to invert the muffins and tap them out.  No luck.  I ran a mini offset spatula along the edges to loosen the muffins out.  No use.

The bottoms of the muffins still stuck to the pan.  My muffins were ruined.  Although the broken muffin bits tasted great, they were ugly and embarrassing to even give away.

muffin mess

Turn that broken muffin mess into a raspberry almond layer cake:

Sometimes plans fail and its back to the drawing board.  That’s why I believe you should always have a plan B (C, D, and E, if necessary).

My muffins failed, but I’m not going to cry and pout about it.  NO!  I’m not even going to throw them away.  I’m going to find a better use with what I’ve already got.

I went back into the kitchen and whipped up something amazing.  I made this raspberry almond layer cake a la Momofuku Milk Bar style!  I think Chef Christina Tosi would be proud.

Raspberry almond layer cake with cream cheese frosting

I think Christina Tosi is a genius.  I love, love, love her Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook.  She is so inventive and creative with her flavor combinations.

Her cookbook is never on my shelf.  It has a permanent spot on my desk because I am always thumbing through it.

raspberry almond layer cake

Raspberry Almond Layer Cake

Yield: 8-inch round layer cake

Author Maryanne Cabrera


Raspberry Almond Muffins:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 large yolk, room temp
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temp
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temp
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon thyme leaves, chopped (optional)
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 cups raspberries

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (amount dependent on desired consistency)

Other Components:

  • sliced blanched almonds, lightly toasted
  • raspberry jam


Raspberry Almond Muffins:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs and yolk. Add in sugar, melted butter, milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract. If using, add lemon thyme leaves and lemon zest. Whisk until fully combined.

  3. In three additions, pour wet mixture into large bowl with the dry ingredients. Fold together until combined. Gently fold in raspberries. Divide batter into prepared muffin tin.

  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until muffins are golden in color and a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before removing and allow muffins to cool on wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add salt and vanilla. Mix until combined. Slowly add sifted confectioners' sugar. Mix until smooth and desired consistency is achieved.

Layer Cake Assembly:

  1. Take an 8-inch cake ring and place on a slightly larger cake board. Alternatively, place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Cut a 3-inch wide acetate strip to line the inside of the cake ring.

  2. Take the raspberry muffin scraps and divide it into three equal parts. Take one part of the scraps and make the first layer inside the ring. Use the palm of your hands, the bottom of a drinking glass, or a tamper to push the scraps together into a flat and even layer.

  3. Spread about 1/4 cup of raspberry jam in an even layer over the cake.

  4. Spread about 1/3 of cream cheese frosting over the raspberry jam layer.

  5. Add another layer of cake scraps. Repeat the process for the first layer. Add the third layer of cake and cover with the remaining 1/3 of cream cheese frosting. Garnish with toasted sliced almonds.

  6. Let cake rest in freezer for at least 1 hour. Gently remove cake ring and gently peel off the acetate strip while cake cold. Let cake defrost in fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

Recipe Notes

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Jenn @ Once Upon a Tier

I love when a “failure” turns into something great. This cake looks amazing. I can’t wait to try it.


    Thanks, Jenn! I just had to find a way to use up the muffins. I couldn’t stand just throwing them away!


What would typically be scraps for the cooks of the kitchen is turned to something that belongs at the front of a bakery display case. Great post and pics Little Epicurean, looking forward to the next one!


From failure to gorgeous looking cake! Just brilliantly executed….love it


    Thanks, Jeannie! I’m glad I now have a plan B every time my muffins/cupcakes/cakes decide to stick to the tin.


I love this cake! how creative!! Now you make me wanna buy the momofuku cookbook too!!


    Thanks, Karen! I love the Momofuku and Momofuku Milk Bar cookbooks! Asides from the recipes, the books explain a lot about the science behind food.


Nobody could tell! Once I made a chocolate bundt that refused to leave the tin. It reincarnated as cake pops ;)



This looks delicious! I would love to make this as a surprise for my husband tonight but don’t have almond flour. Can I make it without almond flour or substitute with regular all purpose flour? I don’t usually bake so this may sound like a silly question :)



    Hi Yolanda! If you have almonds, you could grind it in a food processor to make your own almond flour. I don’t suggest substituting all purpose flour because it might make the batter gummy or too stiff because of all the gluten that will be produced. I hope that helps! Don’t worry there are no silly questions :)


looks delicious! I am just about to put them in the oven and I notice lemon zest is in the ingredients but not mentioned in the directions. Should that have gone in the batter?


    Hi Sue, yes the lemon zest goes in the batter, but it is not necessary.


Hi Maryanne, my friend saw your cake and knew instantly it was the one (her birthday cake). I was wondering if it would make a difference if I used frozen raspberries?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Hi Rhea! (Happy early birthday to your friend!) I haven’t tried making this cake with frozen raspberries. In general, I think you can substitute frozen fruits as long as you don’t defrost them. Use the frozen raspberries straight from the freezer. The muffins might need a couple more minutes to bake, and the muffins may be a little more moist. But that’s okay because you’ll be crumbling the muffins to build the cake. I hope that helps :)


Swooning. Do you think if I make the cake it will hold for a few days in the freezer? Wanting to make for a function but timing may be too tight to do that day? Suggestions?

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