Reine de Saba (Chocolate & Almond Cake) – Julia Child
Julia Child’s Reine de Saba recipe; Moist chocolate cake with speckles of almonds throughout. Finish off with a dusting of powdered sugar, a strawberry and homemade whipped cream.
This is an extremely unusual week. Normally the only time I make two desserts in the same week is over the holidays or for a special occasion. I blame the lovely Julie and JC100 for this sugar laden week. I’m not entirely complaining though because both desserts were tasty in their own ways. Thankfully they were completely different too!
Julia Child’s Reine de Saba or chocolate and almond cake is traditionally made in an 8″ round cake pan. I kind of have an obsession with mini desserts. They’re cute, fun and personalized portions, which is perfect because I hate slicing desserts for many reasons. My biggest gripe is when people ask for an itty bitty sliver. So as you can see… I made mini versions instead, six to be exact. They’re seriously the most perfect size.
My only complaint with this recipe is that it’s a bit messy but to be fair, it was totally my own fault. Normally when I make baked goods that don’t require a wrapper or paper underneath, I spray with nonstick baking spray. To follow Julia’s instructions, for the first time, I buttered and dusted the pan. Instead of using flour, I used cocoa powder. This ensured that the cakes wouldn’t have white powdered edges. Nice and chocolatey brown, inside and out.
The tops all puffed into beautiful round domes, but I wanted flat cakes so I trimmed them down. The cakes were just moist with speckles of almonds throughout. Each were dusted with powdered sugar, topped off with a sliced strawberry and served with fresh homemade whipped cream. Nothing beats homemade whipped cream. I’m completely a convert.
Yield: Serves 6
Reine de Saba (Chocolate & Almond Cake)
4oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
2tbsp rum or coffee
1/2C butter, softened
2/3C sugar, plus 1 1/2 tbsp
3 eggs, divided
pinch of salt
1/3C almonds, chopped
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2C cake flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and dust desired cake pan with cocoa powder. Set aside.
In a double boiler over simmering water (or a small saucepan placed into simmering water), melt chocolate with rum or coffee.
Chop almonds in a food processor with 1/2 tbsp sugar. Blend until only fine pieces remain.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and 2/3 cup sugar. Add egg yolks. Scrape down sides as needed.
In a small bowl, beat egg whites and salt. When soft peaks form sprinkle with sugar and continuing beating until stiff peaks form.
Add melted chocolate to butter and yolk mixture. Gently stir in with a rubber spatula. Add almonds and extract.
Stir in 1/4 of the egg whites. Fold in 1/3 of the whites followed by 1/3 of the cake flour. Repeat until all egg whites and cake flour have been gently incorporated.
Add mixture to your prepared cake pan or pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. When done, the cake should have puffed up, the edges should be clean pierced with a cake tester and the center should be slightly oily.
Rest in pan for 5-10 minutes. Turn out on a cooling rack to cool completely.
When ready to serve. Trim domed tops if desired. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with optional strawberries and whipped cream.
Recipe source: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child