Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 12.
For the meringue layers:
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
For the almond sponge cake:
- 7 eggs, separated
- 1 1/3 cups almond flour/meal
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
For optional cake soaking syrup:
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons Creme de Cassis or Chambord (black current or black raspberry liqueur)
- 2 cups blackberry ice cream or other berry ice cream or sorbet
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Fresh berries and slivered almonds for garnish
- Place egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer, after making sure that the bowl is very clean and dry. Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.
- Stir the salt and the cream of tartar into the sugar and gradually add the sugar to the egg whites while beating them. Continue to beat egg whites until very stiff peaks form.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Using a 9-inch springform pan as a guide, trace two circles onto parchment paper. Place the parchment on a baking sheet, flipping it over so that the pencil or pen markings are face down.
- Divide the meringue between the two circles, and use a knife to gently spread the meringue to fill the circles evenly, making 2 discs.
- Place the meringue in the oven and bake for two hours, then turn off heat and leave the meringues in the oven for an hour more. Once cool, store the meringues in an airtight container until ready to use.
- Prepare the almond cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl until light yellow. Sift the confectioners sugar into the bowl and whisk continuously until mixture is very pale yellow and light. Whisk in the salt and almond extract. Gently stir in the almond flour until just mixed.
- In a separate (clean) bowl, whisk the egg whites until peaks form. Whisk 1 cup of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until just mixed, then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites.
- Line the bottom of two 9-inch cake pans with circles of wax paper, then divide the batter between the two pans. Bake cakes for 25-30 minutes, or until top of cake springs back from a light touch. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Remove ice cream from freezer to soften before assembling cake.
- Make soaking syrup (optional): Bring 1 cup water with 1/4 cup sugar to boil. Simmer until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for one minute longer, then remove from heat. When cool, stir in liqueur.
- To assemble the cake: Beat the whipping cream with 2 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form. Stir in vanilla and set aside (keep chilled).
- Remove the cake layers from their pans and peel off wax paper. Place one cake layer in the bottom of the springform pan. Brush cake with 1/2 of the soaking syrup, if using.
- Place one cup of the softened ice cream on top of the cake layer and spread evenly to edges. Place one meringue layer on top of the ice cream. Top meringue layer with half of whipped cream and spread to edges. Repeat layers, ending with whipped cream layer. Place cake in freezer to firm.
- A half hour before serving, place cake in refrigerator to soften. Remove rind of springform pan. Garnish cake with berries and slivered almonds and serve.