Total Calories: 661
Heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan. Place almonds in a shallow baking dish and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, place cake mix, water, oil, eggs and almond extract. On low speed, blend just until ingredients are moistened. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl. Fold in toasted nuts. Pour into the prepared pan, spreading batter evenly.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until cake tests done. Remove from oven and cool in pan or on wire rack for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare glaze. In a small saucepan, bring corn syrup and butter or margarine to a boil, stirring until butter or margarine melts. Remove from heat. Stir in liqueur. Keep warm over low heat.
Invert cake onto a serving plate. Gently slip narrow strips of waxed paper just under the outer edge of cake to protect plate while glazing cake. Poke warm cake with skewer or long-tined fork. Brush on half the glaze mixture, poke and glaze again using remaining glaze. Let set about 15 minutes remove waxed paper strips. When cooled, lightly cover with foil and store in a cool place. To serve, lightly sweeten whipped cream and flavor with almond extract. Pipe onto cake or serve dollops on each slice.
* If desired, substitute 2 tablespoons water, 4 teaspoons almond extract and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract for the liqueur.
Packaging Suggestions: Package your cake on a purchased stand or a heavy duty paper plate. To make your gift even more attractive, dust the cake with powdered sugar or attach marzipan fruit (purchased or homemade) with small pieces of toothpicks while the glaze is still wet. Be sure to write the directions for serving on a recipe card and include with the cake.
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