Grease a 10 inch tube pan generously with shortening or butter.
Grind the vanilla wafers to make 1 cup of crumbs, then mix them with the 3 tablespoons of sugar, chopped pecans and 1/4 cup of melted butter.
Press the crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of tube pan, stopping about 1 1/2 inches from the top of the pan. Set aside. Note: I did this and then scattered extra pecans across the bottom for more crunch.
Mix together the sifted flour (240 grams), baking powder and salt, then set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the 1/2 cup of butter with the 1 cup of sugar, scraping sides of bowl often. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each egg is added. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract.
Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, stirring by hand or on lowest speed until blended, then beat with the mixer for about 30 seconds (no more) just to help build the structure a bit. Do not overbeat.
Scrape the thick batter into the pan. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for one hour.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. then invert pan onto the baking sheet so that the crust layer is on the top. Crumbs will fall everywhere, so use the baking sheet to catch them. Turn the cake back over so that the crumb crust is on the bottom, then transfer to a cake plate. Sprinkle the fallen crumbs over the cake.
Let cool, then freeze if desired. To freeze, wrap the cooled cake in foil. To serve, thaw one hour at room temperature.