Anyone who has ever tried to beat 8 egg whites with a hand mixer can appreciate the benefits of a standing electric mixer. Not only does your wrist get a rest; having your hands free makes following directions like "gradually add the sugar" far easier than it is when you have a beater in one hand and a bowl in the other.
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1 cup whole almonds (about 5 ounces)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 large egg whites
1/2 pint raspberries, plus more for garnish
Whipped cream, for garnish
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch springform pan. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast for about 7 minutes, or until fragrant; let cool completely. Transfer to a food processor, add 3/4 cup of the sugar and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Pour into a bowl and stir in the flour and salt.
In a small saucepan, cook the butter over moderate heat until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool slightly, then stir in the Cognac and vanilla.
Using a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they form very soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and continue beating until the whites hold soft peaks. Alternately fold the almonds and browned butter into the egg whites in 3 batches. Gently fold in the raspberries.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the cake is golden and just beginning to pull away from the side. Let cool slightly on a rack, then remove the side of the pan and let cool completely. Transfer the cake to a large plate and serve with whipped cream and fresh berries.
The cake can stand at room temperature for up to 8 hours.
Lightly sweet Italian Moscato d'Asti is a perfect partner for this dessert.
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