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Nutcracker Sweet

My mother baked this chocolate-almond dessert for family gatherings and her bridge club meetings when I was growing up. Continuing the tradition, I take the cake to potlucks, neighborhood parties and Christmas celebrations.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. + chilling Bake: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12-16 servings


  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 16 squares)
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, grated
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Grated semisweet chocolate, optional


  • Combine the crumbs, almonds and chocolate; set aside.
  • In a small bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and remaining sugar.
  • In another bowl, beat egg yolks, oil and extract. Add to dry ingredients; beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Stir in crumb mixture. Fold in egg white. Pour into two greased 9-in. round baking pans lined with greased waxed paper. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Carefully remove waxed paper; cool completely.
  • In a bowl, beat cream and confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Add extract; beat until stiff peaks form. Split cake layers in half horizontally; spread almond cream over each layer. Stack on a serving plate. (Do not frost sides of cake.)
  • Garnish with grated semisweet chocolate if desired. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

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  • jennifer98
    Sep 9, 2012

    This is a classic from an old betty crocker cookbook my mother had from the 1960s. The original called for rum extract in the whipped cream (I just use rum), but I am sure that almond would be very good too! I like to cut it into at least four laywers and top it with chocolate ganache with frangelico. But that is just my way. Based on the original recipe with rum extract, which is exactly this with one substitution..I say this is always a winner! It is light, airy and complex, so the whipped cream is not overbearing, and the flavors of the nuts, chocolate and graham crackers compliment each other nicely. Be sure to grind or chop all three of those things very finely for a good result. This is one of my all time favorites.