Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba)

Reine de Saba | Bake or Break

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 is such a rich, delicious, chocolate-y cake! If you are a chocolate lover, this one is a must-bake! - 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/