It took a bit of courage to write this post, my first one ever! I’ve been toying with the idea of having my own blog…and now with some help from my hubby ….here i go 🙂
It wasn’t difficult to decide the first recipe i’d make & post here (clicking the publish button was tougher!).
Of course, it would be a Julia Child recipe! Julia’s been my best teacher so far…. i can almost feel her breathe down my neck when i’m trying to get through one of her detailed recipes after a long day at work…
Reine de Saba is my favourite cake recipe ever! I baked it for the first time for my husband’s (lets call him Cribby for lack of a more apt adjective) birthday a few years ago and have been wanting to bake it ever since.
What makes this cake delicious is the use of pulverised almonds along with the flour. Then you bake it just until it firms up at the edges, allowing the cake’s centre to be moist and creamy. Of course the loads of butter helps this! This is a perfect cake to be had by itself with Tea or Coffee. You can also enjoy it with a chocolate icing, which makes it more elegant and you could dress up with some blanched almonds. The contrasting colours of the chocolate & blanched almonds go quite well together & it also prepares your guest to expect an almond taste in the chocolate cake 😉
Here is a pic of my cake…
In case you are tempted to bake this, here is the recipe adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking:
- Semi-sweet chocolate (nibs or chopped into small pieces) – 113 grams
- Unsalted Butter (softened) – 113 grams
- Granulated Sugar – 2/3 cups + 1Tb
- Egg Yolks – 3
- Egg Whites – 3
- A pinch of Salt
- Pulverized almonds – 1/3 cups
- Almond extract – 1/4 tsp
- Flour – 1/2 cup
- Coffee prepared in 2Tbs warm water
- Start by preheating the oven to 176 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).
- As with all cake recipes, keep your cake tin greased & floured for use. You don’t need to use parchment paper since this isn’t a very sticky cake & should come out quite neatly.
- Combine chocolate & coffee in a pan & using the bain marie method leave this to melt slowly.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until it is pale yellow & fluffy.
- Beat in the egg yolks until well combined.
- Beat the egg whites & salt in a clean & dry bowl. Once soft peaks form, sprinkle the 1Tb sugar very gently. continue beating until stiff peaks form. ( a hand beater can be used for this. a kitchen aid is ideal tho’)
- Return to your chocolate & blend until it is smooth.
- Blend the chocolate into the butter & cream mixture.
- Stir in all the almonds & almond extract.
- Quickly stir in 1/4 of the egg whites. follow with gently folding in a third of the remaining whites. & sifting in 1/3 of the flour. alternately fold in the remaining egg whites & flour.
- turn the batter into your cake tin & push it up near the edges with your spatula.
- Bake for about 25 mins, or until it has puffed & a needle plunged into the outer area comes out clean. (the centre is meant to be slightly wobbly…that lends a creamy texture! ;))
- Cool the cake for 10 – 15 mins. Unmold on a cake rack & allow to cool well, esp. if you are planning to ice it.
Note on almond extract: be very careful about the quantity of almond extract you use since an extra amount can overshadow all other flavours…less is better than more in this case!
I love this cake without icing (probably an excuse to eat the cake while it is still warm), but i do ice it for special occasions …