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Source: America's Favorite Food Associations

Fudge Almond Layer Cake
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Serves: 12 - 14
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
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3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/4 cup cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup coffee, *hot coffee
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup whipping cream, * for chocolate ganache
3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, * for chocolate ganache
2 tbsp water, *for mocha filling
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa, *for mocha filling
2 tbsp instant coffee, *for mocha filling
1/2 cup butter, *for mocha filling
2 cups Powdered sugar, divided *for mocha filling
1/2 cup toasted almonds, *for mocha filling
1/4 cup caramel candy, *for mocha filling
1 tsp water, *for mocha filling

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour two 9- x 1 ½-inch round layer cake pans; set aside.

To Make Cake: In double boiler over simmering water melt chocolate, stirring until smooth; remove from heat and set aside. In large mixer bowl, thoroughly cream butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in chocolate. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the cake mixture alternately with the sour cream to blend thoroughly. On low speed, mix in the coffee and vanilla to blend thoroughly. Pour batter into pans, dividing equally. Tap pans on counter a few times to release air bubbles. Bake in center of oven about 30 minutes until pick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool on racks 10 minutes, then invert onto racks to cool completely. If cake tops are rounded, trim with serrated knife to level. Carefully cut each cake horizontally into two equal layers.

To Make Chocolate Ganache: In 1-quart saucepan, bring cream to boil; immediately reduce heat to low and gradually add chocolate chips, stirring until melted and mixture is smooth. Refrigerate until mixture reaches thin spreading consistency, stirring occasionally.

To Make Mocha Filling: In small saucepan over low heat, mix water, cocoa and instant coffee until thoroughly blended and coffee is dissolved; set aside to cool. In mixer bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Gradually beat in coffee mixture. Beat in remaining powdered sugar.
To Assemble Cake: Place one cake layer on serving plate; spread evenly with half the mocha filling. Top with another cake layer; spread evenly with 1/3 cup of the Chocolate Ganache. Add another cake layer and spread with the remaining Mocha Filling. Top with last cake layer. Spread top and sides evenly with the remaining Chocolate Ganache. Arrange almonds on top of cake. In small saucepan over low heat, stir caramels and water until caramels are completely melted and mixture is smooth. Cool slightly and drizzle over top of cake. Refrigerate cake one to four hours. Cut into wedges to serve.

* To toast almonds, spread in an ungreased baking pan. Place in 350-degree oven and bake 5 to 10 minutes or until almonds are light brown; stir once or twice to ensure even browning. Note that almonds will continue to brown slightly after removing from oven.

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