Reine De Saba (Chocolate & Almond Cake) | JC100 – Week 6

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Ladies and gentleman…I have a very important update in the culinary world of Bob.

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I present REINE DE SABA i.e. my very FIRST time baking for the blog!

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Going into the Julia Child 100 year celebration, I knew I wanted to be involved as a way to improve my cooking skills and repertoire. What I didn’t know, is that I would be improving my baking skills too! Naturally, the first week we receive a baking assignment, Carlene is out of town, leaving it in MY HANDS! Not one to back down from a challenge, I committed myself to this recipe and ended up with a successfully baked cake!

Reine De Saba | Chocolate & Almond Cake

8 Inch Cake – Serves: 6 to 8
Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
  • 4 ounces or squares semi-sweet chocolate melted with 2 Tb rum or coffee
  • 1/4 lb or 1 stick softened butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tb granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup pulverized almonds
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup cake flour (scooped and leveled, turned into a sifter)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour the cake pan. Set the chocolate and rum/coffee in a small pan, cover, and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with the recipe. Measure out the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.
  4. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
  5. Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
  6. With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir in one-fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one-third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.
  7. 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 25 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily.
  8. 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 if it is to be iced.
  9. To serve, use the chocolate-butter icing recipe below, then press a design of almonds over the icing.
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Glacage au Chocolat | (Chocolate-butter Icing)

  • 2 ounces (2 squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 2 Tb rum or coffee
  • 5 to 6 Tb unsalted butter
  • A bowl filled with a tray of ice cubes and water to cover them
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Place the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and set in a larger pan of almost simmering water. Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth. Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the 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.

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Once again thanks to Laura from An Uneducated Palate for transcribing the recipe. Check out her version here, it looks great with the fresh fruit on top of it!

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Fortunately this was a pretty simple dessert to make, as I am by no means experienced in the world of baking. If I can make it, anyone should be able to! The resulting cake was very tasty, comparable to the density of a brownie, but a little bit fluffier. I really liked how the center of the cake is meant to be a little undercooked, leaving you with a delicious creamy center. While this recipe said to cook for 25 minutes, I ended up cooking it for about an extra 10 minutes. Just keep checking the cake with a toothpick to make sure it is cooked properly, with the outside releasing a clean toothpick, and the center releasing a toothpick that is a bit oily, with some of the cake mixture stuck to it.

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Hope you guys enjoyed the recipe and my first time baking!

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11 responses to “Reine De Saba (Chocolate & Almond Cake) | JC100 – Week 6

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  4. Yum – that looks fantastic. Well done.

    Are you inspired to bake more? Or will you retire with this awesome success under your belt. It’s a perfect record after all – 100% successful baker.

  5. Love this cake, almonds always win me over, and what a lovely job you made of your first time baking ! Thank you for sharing this !

  6. I love the bold, masculine, minimalist approach you’ve taken with these photos! It really shows off the beauty of the food.

    • Thanks Laura! I definitely take more of a minimalist approach to most of my photos! Partly because I can’t be bothered to mess around with a bunch of props, but also because if the food looks great I don’t want to distract from it! I think my favourite part about baking definitely has to be the much large window of time I have to snap some photos! Don’t have to worry about the food getting cold! :)

  7. Well done Bob! I haven’t had time or opportunity to make this one. But it will be on my list.
    I can tell you are not a baker. You usually don’t cook a cake, you bake it. 😉 But it makes it the more charming and tells me you really went out there and did your best.
    So, what’s the verdict? Will you bake again? Or leave it to Carlene after all?

    • Thanks Andrea! I think I’ll be leaving most of the baking up to Carlene, but judging by how many people loved the cake, I may have to try my hand at it again in the future!

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