Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat: Chocolate Almond cake
Welcome to our Baking Partners first challenge post. Baking Partners is a group of enthusiastic bloggers who are passionate about baking. Main purpose of this group is to learn new techniques and help each other perfect baking and have fun.
Our first post is a tribute to the legendary Julia Child the renowned chef,author and television personality. It is her 100th Birthday( August 15) and this recipe is adapted from her book " Mastering the Art of French Cooking" ( two volumes). Her book is loved by both professional cooks and by home cooks alike- a treasure for all those who love good food. It is also considered as the most influential works in American cookbook history.
Julia Child was a great cook and a wonderful instructor.Who will not love Julia when she said "..careful cooking is love". She taught a wide range of audience the magic of home made food and sharing with those you love. Her words are always inspiring "Learn how to cook -- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun." (Huff Post)
This is exactly what I felt when I made and tasted this delicious cake- The Reine de Saba or The Queen of Sheba Cake. Even though mine was not perfect I understand why she called this as her favorite dessert. It was learning something new and above all having fun. I would like to thank Swathi for suggesting this cake and for the detailed instruction as to how to make the cake.When I first heard about this cake I had a doubt whether I could do it but Swathi's notes plus all the tips from other baking partners proved helpful.
This is a moist dense cake and I felt it was the ultimate chocolate cake that I ever tasted. It is rich chocolaty,almond flavored cake. This cake tastes best when it is a little undercooked and if over done it will loose its creamy rich texture. If I need to describe the texture of the cake that I made,it is somewhere between a cheese cake and a brownie. I did make some mistakes. I pulsed almonds only for a few seconds and it ended a little chunkier. I baked it for 27 minutes. When I took it out at 23 minutes it looked very shaky and was uncooked in the center. When I took out at 25 minutes I was still in doubt. So I understand that to bring it to perfection I need to try again and also a little more understanding of my oven.
This is my 300th post and dedicating this post to the cooking legend Julia Child.
Semi-sweet chocolate- 4 ounce/113.4 grams
Cake flour- 1/2 cup leveled
Butter softened-1 stick (1/4 lb)
Rum/ Coffee- 2 Tbs
( I used coffee 1 1/2 tbs and 1/2 tbs of Rum essence)
Granulated Sugar- 2/3 cup (134g)
3 Eggs ( Yolks and White Separated)
Pinch of salt+ 1 Tbs of Sugar
Almonds- 1/3 cup pulverized( ground)
Vanilla essence- a few drops
(original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp almond extract)
Semisweet baking Chocolate- 2 ounces
Coffee- 2 tsp
(or you can use rum)
Butter unsalted- 6 tsp
Sliced Almonds for decoration- 1/3 cup
To make the cake
Preheat oven to 375 Degree F. Grease 8" baking pan with butter and dust with flour and keep aside.
Brew coffee( or rum) and add chocolate and 2 tsp of coffee in a double boiler or cover and place off heat in a large pan of simmering water. Wait for five minutes till the chocolate melts completely.
Measure out the rest of the ingredient and shift flour two to three times and keep aside. Separate egg whites and egg yolks.
Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended and changes into pale color.
Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl for about about a minute. Add salt and sugar and beat gradually increasing speed for three to four minutes or until soft peaks are formed.
Into the butter sugar mixture add ground almonds,melted chocolate, one or two tsp of cake flour,rum extract and almond extract and 1/3 of egg whites and blend well. This will help lighten the mixture and the chocolate to mix well.
With a rubber spatula fold in 1/3 of flour and next 1/3 of the egg whites Alternately add flour and egg whites till all flour and egg whites are fully incorporated.
Pour the batter into cake pan, bake in middle rack in a 375 degree oven. Bake for 25 minutes( my oven took 27 minutes). Check after the first 15 minutes and then again after 20 minutes of baking. When the cake is done when it has puffed, and toothpick inserted at the outer circumference comes out clean while the center
should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and the toothpick comes out oily.
Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and reverse the cake onto a cooling rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two before icing.
Icing the cake and making the frosting
Make the frosting only just before the cake is ready for frosting.
Place chocolate and coffee(rum) in a double boiler or in a small pan and set in a larger pan of simmering water and let it stand for five minutes until it melts and becomes perfectly smooth.
Keep a bowl filled with a tray of ice cubes and water ready.
Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time till all the butter melts. Place this on the ice bowl and beat until chocolate mixture has cooled and reached spreading consistency. Place cake on a platter.Scrape icing on the top of the cake and using an offset spatula at once spread it over and the sides of the cake. Decorate with sliced almonds or as you desire.
If you wish to join the Baking Partners contact Swathi @ Zesty South Indian Kitchen
Hope you will all enjoy.