1.Make the cake Sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
2. In a small microwave bowl, combine the syrup ingredients (water and sugar but not the vanilla extract yet) and microwave for about 30 sec or until until the sugar has dissolved. Let it cool to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla extract (if you use some). Set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a cake mold (use butter or spray). Set aside.
4. In a mixing bowl add eggs and sugar. Whisk to combine with an electric mixer until it whitens, doubles in volume and forms ribbons (it takes 3min). Slow down to low speed for a few seconds and then stop.
5. Gently add the sifted flour mixture from #1 and mix with a rubber spatula until incorporated.
6. Put butter and milk in a micro-wave safe bowl and microwave them till the butter melts (about 15 sec at 600w). Pour this melted butter mixture little by little into the cake mixture. Mix gently with a spatula until it is homogeneous. Do not over mix.
7. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 20 min or until done. Insert a skewer in the center of the cake : if there is no sticky butter residual, then your baking is done.
8. Remove from the oven and take the cake out of the pan. Let it cool to room temperature on the wire rack. Set aside.
Almond praline topping
9. Place the sugar and water in a small cooking pot over high heat, do not touch or stir until the sugar is lightly browned and melted. Stir in the chopped almonds and mix well until the texture hardens to a crunchy state. Let it cool and set aside.
10. In a small frying-pan, fry the almond powder over low heat, stirring continuously until lightly brown. Let it cool to room temperature. Mix with confectioners sugar and set aside.
7. Beat meringue powder and water in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks, then add sugar (1 tbsp) and dash of salt. Continue mixing until stiff.
8. Combine sugar (90g) and water (35g) in small saucepan, bring to a boil until the temperature reach 115C degree. Immediately while beating, pour the hot sugar syrup over beaten meringue slowly, beat until whites are stiff and glossy.
9. In a another bowl, add the soften butter and beat until smooth. Gradually add the Italian meringue from #8 into the butter until smooth. Add vanilla extract (1/2 tsp).
Decorate the cake
11. Cut the cake horizontally into three layers. Brush syrup from #2 on top of each cake layer. Spoon some butter cream over the bottom layer, then sprinkle some of almond sugar.
12. Place the middle layer on top and spread some of buttercream on it, then sprinkle some of almond sugar.
13. Place the top layer on top and spread butter cream all around the cake.
14. Sprinkle almond sugar and almond praline topping on top and sides of the cake to finish.