Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 9 x 2 inch cake pan. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper and oil it lightly.
Cream butter, sugar, egg yolks and almond extract until light and fluffly. Add chocolate and almonds and stir until well combined. Beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until stiff but not dry. Add large spoonful to butter mixture and stir to loosen batter. Gently fold in remaining whites. Turn into prepared pan and bake until edges of cake shrink slightly from pan about 40-45 minutes. The cake with be soft in the center.
Let cool completely in the pan. Invert onto a serving platter and remove the parchment. Just before serving, cut Saint James pattern (rising sun or other design) from waxed paper. Set over cake and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Gently remove paper.
Serve, if desired, with whipped cream, and a sprinkle of praliné.
1 cup sugar
1 cup toasted almonds and/or hazelnuts
Melt the sugar in a skillet over low heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar is caramelized, stir in until well-coated all of the nuts. Pour it immediately into a butter pan or platter. When cool, crack into small pieces and use a Cuisinart to make the pieces as fine as you like.
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