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Nutcracker Sweet

Total Time

Prep: 45 min. + chilling Bake: 30 min. + cooling

Makes

12-16 servings

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.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • ALMOND CREAM:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Grated semisweet chocolate, optional

Directions

  1. Combine the crumbs, almonds and chocolate; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and remaining sugar.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. Garnish with grated semisweet chocolate if desired. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

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