A rich and delicious cake from Germany, Mandeltorte (mahn-dell-tohr-tuh) is ideal to serve as a dessert at a dinnerparty.

If you are serving it for tea, and want a less rich cake, halve the quantity of filling and sprinkle the top of the cake with icing sugar.

1 oz. plus

2 teaspoons butter

1 ½ oz. fine dry breadcrumbs

1 fl. oz. milk

1 tablespoons brandy

1 oz. sugar

6 eggs, separated

6 oz. ground almonds

10 fl. oz. double cream

1 tablespoon brandy

1 oz. icing sugar

1 oz. flaked almonds

Using the 2 teaspoons of butter, grease two 8-inch round cake tins. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to moderate 350 GF (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Place the breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl and pour over the milk and brandy. Set the bowl aside to allow the crumbs to soak up the liquid.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream the remaining butter with a wooden spoon until it is soft. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy.

Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating constantly. Add the butter and egg mixture to the breadcrumb mixture, stirring well to blend. Mix in the almonds.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk or rotary beater until they form stiff peaks. With a metal spoon gently fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.

Pour half the batter into each tin. Place the tins in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the centres spring back when lightly pressed with a fingertip.

Remove the tins from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Turn them out on to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the filling, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the cream with a wire whisk or rotary beater until it is stiff.

Beat in the brandy and icing sugar.

Place one of the cakes on a decorative serving platter. Using a flat-bladcd knife, generously spread the filling over the top of the cake. Place the other cake on top.

Sprinkle the top with the flaked almonds and serve.

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