Serves 12


Parchment, 10-by-15-by-1-inch jelly roll pan, 10-inch spring form cake pan, pastry bag with star tip


9 eggs, separated, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

14 ounces almond paste (not marzipan)

1 to 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup amaretto liqueur

Powdered sugar

Chocolate filling:

27 ounces Tobler extra-bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 quart whipping cream, room temperature (unwhipped)

2 cups whipping cream, whipped

Line jelly roll pan with parchment; butter parchment with softened butter. Set aside. Beat egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and salt with electric mixer until pale yellow and slowly dissolving ribbon forms when beaters are lifted. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Fold one-third of the whites into the yolks; spoon remaining whites atop yolks. Sift on cocoa and fold in until just combined. Spread in prepared pan. Bake until springy to touch, about 25 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

Meanwhile, if almond paste is dry or crumbly, combine in processor with 1 tablespoon amaretto. Blend until soft enough to roll out, adding more amaretto by teaspoons if necessary. Roll almond paste out between two sheets of waxed paper into 9-by-14-inch rectangle. Refrigerate.

Dust clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar. Remove cake from oven and turn it out onto towel; remove parchment. Trim 1/2 inch off edges of cake. Peel almond paste from waxed paper and place on hot cake. Roll cake up jelly-roll fashion, starting at one long side (see Illuration A). Cool completely.

Pour 3/4 cup amaretto into a shallow bowl or pie plate. Cut cake into 2/3-inch-thick slices. Dip one side of each slice briefly into amaretto. Cover bottom of 10-inch spring form pan with some of the cake slices (dipped side down), working from edge to center and arranging ends of slices so that they face the same direction (see Illustration B). Press very firmly to secure slices. Place remaining slices upright against sides of pan; press firmly to secure. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

For the filling, melt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Transfer to large bowl. Immediately add unwhipped cream in three additions, gently stirring just until combined; do not beat. Pour into cake-lined pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Trim edges of the cake so that they are even with the filling. Invert cake onto serving platter. Spoon whipped cream into pastry bag fitted with star tip. Pipe some cream decoratively around cake. Pass remaining whipped cream.