To celebrate culinary icon Julia Child’s 100th birthday my Baking Partners group chose Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat which translates into “Queen of Sheba” with Chocolate Frosting or Chocolate Almond Cake.
Swathi, the creator of the group, chose this cake to kick off our first challenge.
The cake is like a fudgy, dense brownie. Utterly divine.
Julia leaves the choice of flavoring up to you between rum or coffee. I chose coffee. Coffee boosts the flavor of chocolate, making it deeper and richer. The cake has almond meal in it too that you make yourself by pulverizing almonds in a food processor. You can make this gluten free by swapping out the 1/2 cup cake flour for almond meal.
If you pop on over to Swathi’s Zesty Southwest Indian Kitchen you will see all of my baking partner’s creations. No two look the same but they’re all beautiful. I’m proud to be a part of this talented baking group.
- Preheat oven to 350F/ 180 C. Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan.
- Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a steel bowl placed over another bowl with boiling water and leave to melt about 5 minutes while you measure out the rest of the ingredients.
- Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
- Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed (start on low and gradually increase the speed of your mixer for about 5 minutes); sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed (to check lift the beater the egg should stick without dripping off).
- With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the ground almonds and almond or vanilla extract. Immediately stir in one-fourth ( ¼) of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third (1/3rd) of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one-third ( 1/3rd) of the flour and continue folding. Alternate with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.
- Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for 22 - 25 minutes. Bake cake until puffed and gently set in center, toothpick inserted into center should come out with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes.
- Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on the rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold when iced.
- Follow the same directions above for melting the chocolate and rum or coffee together. Fill a bowl with ice and set aside.
- Beat in butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency. At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife.
- Place cake on a platter. Scrape icing onto top center. Using small offset spatula, spread icing evenly and thinly over top and sides of cake.
- Press a design of almonds over top or sprinkle with chocolate shavings.
- If it's hot or humid refrigerate cake.
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Baking