Preheat oven to 325 degrees, line four 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the sides thoroughly.
In a large glass mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy (2 mins). Sprinkle with cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar a few tablespoons at a time. Continue mixing until stiff shiny peaks form (7-10 mins).
Fold in almonds. Divide meringue evenly into the four pans and spread to touch the edges.
Bake until golden brown (about 25-30 minutes).
Remove meringue from pans and peel off parchment paper while it is still hot.
Buttercream: Beat egg yolks on high speed until they double in size and are lemon yellow.
Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down only until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F/112°C (or thread stage).
With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl, until all has been added. Be careful as the very hot syrup could burn you if it splashes from the beaters. Continue beating on high until the mixture is ROOM TEMPERATURE (about 15 mins). Still on high, beat in the soft, room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time. Add almond extract and melted chocolate chips.
Refrigerate at least one hour. Whip smooth before use.
To make dark chocolate buttercream, repeat process using 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips and no almond extract.
Assembly: Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a
thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and sides. Decorate with almonds and raspberries.