Pair with 2014 Geyserville Essence
Heat oven to 360°F (180°C) degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with vegetable shortening. Separate the yolks and egg whites into separate bowls. Blanch, peel, and toast the almonds on a baking sheet at 360°F for 5-10 minutes. Grind them in a food processor and set aside. To reduce the preparation time, buy peeled blanched almonds in the store and grind them. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, adding sugar and beating until mixture is smooth.
Add egg yolks one at a time, continuously mixing. Add the ground almonds and shaved chocolate and mix well on low with a hand mixer. In another bowl, pour in the milk and rum. Soak the ladyfingers in the milk mixture until soft, then add to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix well. Add the flour and cornstarch and mix. Beat the egg whites to a stiff point, which takes about 5 minutes with an electric hand mixer. Fold into the batter using a spatula. Bake in the oven on middle rack for about 35 minutes. Check the cake after 20 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean. Cool the cake on a rack. When cool, remove the sides of the pan. Dust with cocoa and powdered sugar before serving.
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