Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba)

If you’ve been anywhere near the food blogging world recently, then you know that today is Julia Child’s 100th birthday. PBS has been posting chefs’ and bloggers’ tributes (including mine) to her for the last few weeks. And, for the last 10 days, many bloggers have been participating in #CookForJulia by making one of her recipes.

I decided rather quickly that I wanted to make this cake for the big event. I wanted to make a couple of changes and worried for about half a second that it would be wrong to do that. But, this is Julia we’re talking about! Julia, who once said that with cooking you have to have a what-the-hell attitude, would surely be fine with my taking some recipe liberties.

Reine de Saba | Bake or Break

At its simplest description, this is a chocolate almond cake. It’s over-the-top chocolate. For a small cake, it packs a lot of punch. And, as Julia described it, it “literally melts in your mouth.” With chocolate taking center stage, I encourage you to use the very best chocolate you can. It will make a huge difference.

This cake is very rich. If you love dark chocolate and a lot of it, this is for you. Small slices are your friend. To paraphrase Julia, it’s better to have a tiny sliver of this kind of dessert than several helpings of a diet cake. I tend to agree!

Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba)

Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba)

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua*
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • For the icing:
  • 2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons Kahlua*
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Instructions

To make the cake:

Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl. Melt at half power in 30-second increments until chocolate melts when stirred. Keep in mind that the melted chocolate needs to be warm when it's added to the other ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan.

Place almonds and 2 tablespoons sugar in food processor. Pulse until almonds are finely ground.

Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup sugar and beat for 1 minute. Add egg yolks, and mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foaming. Add cream of tartar and salt. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Stir melted chocolate and Kahlua into butter mixture. Stir in almond extract and ground almonds. Stir in about a quarter of the egg whites. Working quickly, gently fold in remaining egg whites, alternating with flour.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth evenly. Bake 25 minutes or until a pick inserted 2-3 inches from the edges comes out clean. The center should move slightly when the pan is shaken.

Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, transfer cake to wire rack and cool completely.

To make the icing:

Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl. Melt at half power in 30-second increments until chocolate melts when stirred. Stir in Kahlua. Beat in salt. Then, beat in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth. Place over cold water or refrigerate until firm enough to spread.

Pour icing on top of cake and spread over top of cake.

Notes

*Julia's original recipe uses rum or strong coffee.

Recipe adapted from The Way to Cook.

http://www.bakeorbreak.com/2012/08/reine-de-saba-queen-of-sheba/
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11 Comments

  1. Mal @ The Chic Geek August 15, 2012 Reply

    Looks so delicious and rich! Perfect way to celebrate Julia’s birthday

  2. sara August 15, 2012 Reply

    Gorgeous! I’ve seen this recipe and wanted to try it…your photos definitely make me want this even more! :)

  3. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes August 15, 2012 Reply

    I’d love to have a little sliver of this cake. Thanks!

  4. Joshua August 16, 2012 Reply

    Thanks to reminding me the anniversary! “*Julia’s original recipe uses rum or strong coffee.” this is good for adults, but because I will do this cake for my children your recipe is much more appropriate. I promise I will use only high quality chocolate! :)

  5. Deb August 19, 2012 Reply

    A glorious chocolate cake! Fitting for a celebration and what better way to share Julia’s 100th!

  6. Itaya August 19, 2012 Reply

    I love Kahlua and have a feeling it would taste better in this recipe than Rum would. This recipe sounds divine and I just know that Julia would be proud. :)

  7. Jenny @ BAKE August 21, 2012 Reply

    congratulations on getting featured! that’s huge! I made this cake for Julia (and my boyfriend’s) birthday it’s delicious!

  8. Maybe I should appear aback afterwards cafeteria to abide account your blog because now I’m drooling over my keyboard :)

  9. pooja August 26, 2012 Reply

    Looking delicious cake ….

  10. I’m seeing this around the blogosphere a lot, and it looks amazing each time. I so agree, better one forkful of something sinful than heaps of ‘healthy’ cake!

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