1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat 9 x 2-inch-round cake pan (straight sided) with nonstick spray. Line bottom with waxed paper; coat paper.
2. Beat butter in large bowl on medium-high until fluffy, 1 minute. Add both sugars; beat 3 minutes, until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add syrup and vanilla and almond extracts; beat 1 minute. On low, beat in flour, salt; beat on medium 1 minute. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in 325 degrees F oven 55 to 60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack; remove paper. Cool completely. (Keep cake bottom-side up. Cake can be frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to 1 month.)Ganache:
4. Bring cream to a boil in saucepan. Stir in espresso to dissolve. Stir in almond liqueur, if using.
5. Place chocolate in medium-size bowl. Pour hot cream mixture over top; let stand 1 minute. Stir until very smooth. Cover; refrigerate until good spreading consistency, 45 minutes.
6. Place cooled cake on wire rack placed over baking pan. (The smooth bottom becomes the top -- do not turn it right-side up.) Spread ganache over sides. Then pour ganache over the top of the cake. Spread the ganache evenly over the top.
7. Before ganache sets, gently press almonds onto the sides of the cake, using enough almonds to just cover the sides. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
8. To serve, let cake come to room temperature. Note: Toast almonds on a baking sheet in 350 degrees F oven 10 minutes.