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Black and White Cake

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5 large egg whites

3/4 cup unsalted butter — softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

WHITE SILK FROSTING and CHOCOLATE AMARETTO FILLING 1 pound cream cheese — softened

6 tablespoons unsalted butter — softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 pounds confectioners sugar

3 squares semisweet chocolate — melted, cooled

1 tablespoon Amaretto

White and Dark chocolate leaves — for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F and arrange rack to the center position. Grease and flour three, 8-inch round cake pans. Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry and set aside briefly. In a separate bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla and almond extracts. Blend smooth. Whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt and add alternately to the batter with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Fold egg whites into the batter and divide mixture evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake about 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool layers in their pans 10 minutes, then loosen and turn out onto a rack to complete cooling.

YIELD: Three 8-inch layers

Beat cream cheese with butter until smooth. Blend in vanilla and almond extracts. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar until smooth. Remove 1 cup of frosting and blend with the chocolate and Amaretto. Reserve the remaining white frosting and set aside. Spread 1/2 of the chocolate frosting evenly over bottom layer of cake. Arrange the second cake layer over the first, then repeat, using the remaining chocolate frosting. Use the served white frosting to cover the sides and top of the cake. Decorate the top of the cake with an assortment of white and dark chocolate leaves.

YIELD: One 8-inch cake

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