Preheat oven to 350° F.
Line the bottom of a 10-inch cake pan or spring form pan with parchment paper. (For individual cakes, the batter may be baked in 12 individual cake rings lined with parchment paper, or in deep muffin tins that have been buttered and floured.)
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Stir in the ground almonds and set aside.
Place the almond paste and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beginning on low speed, beat until blended. Increase the speed to medium and continue beating until the butter and almond paste are smooth and no lumps remain. Continuing to beat, gradually add the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, then the brandy. Continue beating until the mixture has lightened in colour and is very fluffy.
On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix just until roughly combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and with a rubber spatula, fold the batter until smooth. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
Bake in the center of the oven for 45-50 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden and the edges of the cake just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Place on a wire rack to cool before turning out of the pan.
Wrap in plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight or for up to 2 days.
Just before serving, sift icing sugar over the cake and pipe or drizzle thin lines of melted chocolate over top. Serve with poached pears, lightly sweetened whipped cream, and chocolate sauce
Calories 356; Fat 23 g; Sat Fat 9.2 g; Mono Fat 9.3 g; Poly Fat 2.6 g; Protein 6 g ; Carb 33 g; Fiber 1.8 g; Cholesterol 119 mg; Sodium 74 mg; Calcium 90 mg; Potassium 154 mg; Vitamin E 4.8 mg;