Add a handful of chocolate chips or butterscotch chips to the topping for a decadent finish.
For the cake, you can use 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened, instead of the shortening.
If you're chopping nuts in a food processor, use quick pulses to avoid an oily mess. Go ahead and chop more nuts than you need. Wrap and freeze the extra nuts to use later.
You can also bake this most-requested cake in a 9-inch square pan for 25 to 30 minutes.