Preheat the broiler. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan or springform pan. Line with parchment paper and butter the paper. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, mace, cardamom, ginger and anise. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, 1/2 cup of the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the egg yolks and beat until smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold the flour into the batter with a rubber spatula.
In a clean bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar until stiff. Fold into egg yolk mixture, being careful not to overmix. Divide the batter between 2 bowls. Add combined spices to 1 bowl and stir well.
Pour about 1/2 cup of the spiced batter into the prepared pan, spreading to form a thin layer. Place the pan under the preheated broiler for 2 minutes, or until the layer is firm and very lightly browned. Remove from the oven and spread about 1/2 cup of the plain batter over the top and broil until firm. Repeat layering spiced and plain batters in the pan and broiling until all the batter is used. Note that the cake typically has between 12 and 15 layers.)
Let the cake cool on a wire rack then turn out from the pan. Place on a cake plate and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Thinly slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 1 (9-inch) round cake