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These were originally French large ornamental cakes, used to decorate the tables of formal French dinner parties. They were probably the invention of Caréme (the great French chef), and were made with thin layers of a mixture made with pounded almonds mixed and baked with egg whites. These were built up into a grand gateau inter-layered with different fruit purées, before being piped with icing. Miniatures are still found at smart delicatessens.