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almond cake in a jar with christmas sprinkles and words on photo

By now you’re caught up on Top Chef, right? If not…spoiler alert! I am the queen of being behind on TV. My husband travels a lot so we get way behind on our shows. (For example I have 8 Hawaii 5-O’s to watch.)

This past week the cheftestants had a really funny quickfire challenge: all the ingredients were wrapped in foil and they had to use what they chose. One guy thought he was getting herbs and got a pineapple. {How, exactly, do you confuse the two?}

They also had to bake/cook in the foil. The quickfire winner, Kristen, made a dessert. When doest that ever happen? She made a chocolate almond cake, mixed and baked in foil. I was all over that; one, because I love almond anything, and two, because they never do desserts! Now is my chance!

I thought, after last week, when CJ left, that I wouldn’t care who went on anymore. Now I want Kristen to keep going. Gives CJ a little more chance in Last Chance Kitchen. He won again, opposite Danyele, who got voted off this past Wednesday. Go CJ go!

almond cake in a jar with christmas sprinkles

So yeah, I didn’t make this in foil. And I used a cake mix. But it’s good, so who cares? Plus, if you need a super quick, last minute gift idea for Christmas, this is your new BFF! I love “mug” cakes or single serve cakes because they come together fast and are instant portion control. My ratio is 1 tablespoon cake mix to 1 tablespoon water, plus any add-ins. This time I added almond extract and chocolate chips. And sprinkles, of course!

Simply leave out the wet ingredients, add a tag with some instructions and you have a great gift!

almond cake in a jar with christmas sprinkles

Are you watching #TopChef? What about Last Chance Kitchen? And, don’t forget. If you’re not as in loooove with CJ as I am, you can still vote to save a chef in the Who Stays? Who Goes? You Decide! competition. You can tweet #savechefkuniko or #savechefdanyele until next Wednesday.

Almond cake for one in a mason jar, topped with chocolate chips and holiday sprinkles, graphic title on the top.

Almond Cake for One {#TopChef and a last minute gift idea!}

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  • 3 tablespoons white cake mix
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons water


  • Place all ingredients in a jar or mug. Stir to combine. Heat on HIGH in a microwave for 30-40 seconds. Top with a few extra chocolate chips and/or sprinkles.
  • If you are giving this as a gift: place cake mix and chocolate chips in a jar. Add a tag to the outside of the jar that says: "Add 1/8 teaspoon almond extract and 3 tablespoons water. Stir and microwave on HIGH for 30-40 seconds. Enjoy!"
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Check out Something Swanky, who gave me the idea for my mug cakes in the first place!

Head to Bravo to check out more from Top Chef, or find the Top Chef Episode Guide here.

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Bravo. I am a member of the Top Chef A-Listers and this post is sponsored by Top Chef. All opinions are 100% my own.


Last Updated on May 12, 2020

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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  1. This looks soo good and a great gift to give others, but I would probably eat them all myself. I love Top Chef and really love Kristen.

  2. OoOOOooo….totally stealing this. Probably going to throw some sweetened shredded coconut I need to use up in here, too. And some frosting I also need to use up.

  3. This looks so good Dorothy, and the addition of almond is always a good one in my books. 🙂 Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas! xoxo

  4. My husband travels a lot too, we always promise not to watch our favorite shows until we are together again, but like you said this makes us soo behind! This is such a great gift idea!

  5. Oh I love top chef also, all of the cooking shows LOL! love this recipe, I will be making this, I love the one dessert dishes! Thanks Dorothy for sharing!

      1. I like to take these with me when I travel. We usually hit the motel late and go thru a drive thru. Always need something sweet, so I have my mason jar with the cake mix and anything else that I might want to add to it. Throw them in the microwave in my room and have myself a little desert before going to bed. So easy to rinse out and stock back up for the next stop.

  6. I just love desserts in jars and I have to say I am totally envious of the Top Chef gig! I am such a fan! Merry Christmas!