one 4-layer 9-inch diameter torte
Prepare cake mix according to package directions using 4 eggs, ½ cup oil, 1 cup water, and 1/3 cup Amaretto or other almond liqueur. (Note: if not using liqueur, increase water to 1 1/3 cups.) Evenly divide cake batter into two greased 9-inch diameter round layer pans lined with wax paper on the bottom of each. Bake in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of cake layers comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and transfer to wire racks to finish cooling. When cake layers are thoroughly cooled, cut each in half horizontally, forming four equal-size cake layers. If desired, poke holes all over each cake layer with a wooden pick or skewer and drizzle almond-flavored liqueur over each cake layer. (May wrap each layer in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, and frost just before serving, if desired.)
Prepare desired frosting or topping. To frost torte, arrange one cake layer on a serving plate. (May tuck four strips of wax paper under and around the edge of the cake layer, if desired; remove strips after torte is completely frosted.) Spread desired frosting over cake layer. Top with a second cake layer and more frosting or topping; repeat cake layers and frosting or topping twice more. Spread remaining frosting or topping over top and around sides of torte. Sprinkle toasted almonds over top of torte, lightly pressing into frosting or topping. May lightly press additional almonds around the sides of the torte, if desired. Or, sprinkle red and green decorating sugar over the top of torte frosted with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting or Old Fashioned 7-Minute Icing.
Note: If not using a liqueur, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon almond extract to cake batter.
Note: To toast almonds, arrange slivered or sliced almonds in one layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated slow oven (300 degrees F.) for 8 to 10 minutes or until almonds are lightly browned.
enough frosting to frost one 4-layer torte
In a medium bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients; thoroughly cream cheese, beating until smooth. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add additional cream as needed to achieve to desired spreading consistency.
fills and frosts top and sides of one round 4 layer 9-inch torte
Combine all ingredients, except vanilla in the top of a double boiler over boiling water. Beat rapidly at high speed of an electric mixer for 5 to 7 minutes, or until mixture forms glossy stiff, but not dry, peaks. Remove from heat and beat in vanilla. Frost cake immediately as icing sets up fast.