Make the almond crunch topping:
Heat the oven to 325°F. Have ready an ungreased nonstick baking sheet. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white with a fork until foamy, about 30 seconds. Stir in the nuts until they’re evenly coated. Sprinkle the sugar over the nuts and stir the mixture. Spread the nuts in a single layer onto the baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Stir the nuts with a wooden spoon to loosen them from the baking sheet. Bake until golden, another 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven and immediately stir them to loosen them from the baking sheet. The nuts will become crisp as they cool. Set aside.
Make the cake:
Heat the oven to 325°F. Have ready a 9-1/2- or 10-inch tube pan with sides at least 3-3/4 inches high.
In a food processor, pulse the chocolate chips until some of them are finely grated and the rest have formed small crumbs.
In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and the salt. Make a well in the center and put in the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla, almond extract, and almond liqueur. Beat the mixture on medium speed until smooth and thick, at least 3 minutes. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. Set aside.
In a large, clean bowl with clean beaters or whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and the cream of tartar on medium speed until the cream of tartar is dissolved and the whites are foamy. Increase the speed to high and beat the whites until the movement of the beaters forms lines in the mixture. Slowly pour in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, about 2 Tbs. at a time, and beat the mixture until soft peaks form.
With a large rubber spatula, stir about one-third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. Pour the batter into the tube pan, spreading it evenly. Bake until you can gently press your fingers on top of the cake and it feels firm, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Any cracks that form on the top should look dry.
Invert the pan onto a bottle with a narrow neck and let cool thoroughly, about an hour and a half. Use a small, sharp knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan and the center of the tube, if necessary. Remove the cake from the pan and slide it onto a serving plate.
Make the glaze:
In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and almond extract, adding enough milk to make a smooth glaze with a thick, syrupy consistency. Set aside 2 Tbs. of the glaze. Spread the remaining glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides of the cake and into the center hole; you may not need to use all of it. Cover the top of the cake with the prepared almonds. Drizzle the reserved glaze over the almonds.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on 14 servings;
sat fat g
Photo: Scott Phillips