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Chocolate-Amaretto Layer Cake (Italian Recipe)

This chocolate-amaretto layer cake is part of my favorite amaretto recipes. It’s one of my secret little box cake mix recipes. It just starts there, and then you add some of this and some of that – and finish it off with an amaretto chocolate sour cream frosting.

I know, I know – I KNOW…what are doing using a cake mix?!?! I would run from this recipe too IF my nonna hadn’t used basically the same ratios for her Italian rum cake recipe.

She cooked that recipe for years. And it was her who convinced me, “There’s nothing wrong with cake mixes.” Of course, she was close to 84 when she told me that! And too, I’m not so sure she would have said that in her younger years! But both – these recipes are simply delicious!

Chocolate-Amaretto Layer Cake Chocolate-Amaretto Layer Cake

Makes 12 servings


  • 1 18.25-ounce package cake mix
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 12 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 18 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted


  • Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C/Gas Mark 4. Spray three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray.
  • Combine cake mix, 1 1/3 cups water, eggs, oil, 3 tablespoons amaretto, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in large bowl; whisk until well blended. Mix in 1 cup chocolate chips. Divide batter among prepared pans.
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into the center come out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around pan sides. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely. Brush each cake layer with 2 tablespoons amaretto.
  • Combine butter and cream in medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until butter melts and mixture comes to simmer.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add remaining 2 cups chocolate chips and whisk until melted. Mix in remaining 3 tablespoons amaretto.
  • Cool until barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Whisk in sour cream and remaining 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, then powdered sugar.
  • Refrigerate frosting just until thick enough to spread, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  • Place 1 cake layer on a platter. Spread 1/3 cup frosting over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 1/3 cup frosting over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Press nuts around bottom 2 inches of cake. Chill 2 hours.
  • DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome; keep chilled.


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