1 Grease 6 x 10cm springform pans. Line bases and sides with baking paper.
2 Process nuts in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Set aside.3 Place chocolate in a small heatproof bowl sitting over a small saucepan of simmering water.
Stir until smooth. Remove. Cool to room temperature.
4 Beat butter and ½ cup of the sugar in a small bowl of electric mixer until pale and creamy. Beat in yolks, one at a time, until combined. Stir in vanilla bean paste, brandy and nuts.
5 Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Fold sifted cocoa, spices and soda alternately with chocolate.
6 Beat egg whites in clean, small bowl of electric mixer until firm peaks form. Add remaining sugar. Beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold into chocolate mixture. Divide evenly among prepared pans.
7 Cook in a moderately slow oven (160C) for 25 minutes, or until firm to touch. Stand in pans for 10 minutes. Remove sides from pans. Place cakes on a wire rack to cool completely.8 Drizzle white chocolate over cakes. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Cut each cake in half to serve.
For a change, this mixture will make 12 cupcakes by using 2 x 6-hole muffin pans (½-cup capacity). Cook for 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before turning out.