CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE (REINE DE SABA)

CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE (REINE DE SABA)

Post exam days are boring. There are a few weird feelings that come up in most of the students' mind after they have finished there graduation, like, " What next?", " What will I do with my life?" and so on. This stress is actually much larger than exam stress, trust me when I say that. When you are in that point of life when you are clueless and in a "nothing-to-do-at-home" phase, these thoughts are bound to come up. Well, I am someone who try to escape from situations, I know this isn't the right thing to do, but still. So every year after my exams, I go on a movie spree. Back to back, nonstop movies with small intervals for cooking and eating, form the daily routine during the post exam days. Recently on Scoopwhoop, I found an interesting article on a list of movies that every food lover must watch and that formed my first bucket list after my exams. There were some 28 movies, which I completed in five days and among all of them, Julie and Julia took my heart away. 

A story about the cooking profession of Julia Child intertwined with the experience of Julie Powell's blogging is presented beautifully with some delicious recipes and basics of cooking in the movie. The simplicity of the movie is the best part of it. While I was watching the movie, I came across the special chocolate almond cake of Julia Child and instantly started craving for it. The way they dug in the cake made me wish if I could do the same. I checked online for the Ebook for Julia Child's Cookbook and finally after a lot of searching I got it! Yeaah!
CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE (REINE DE SABA)

Now, this cake is really special and I wanted to bake this on a special day. So, I thought why not of May 1st? May 1st for others is International Labor Day, but for me, it's my parent's anniversary. Though Maa is not here with us now, I thought of making the day special for Baba. :)  

Julia Child named this cake Reine De Saba, which means Queen of Saba. The cake is almost flourless, fudgy, rich, decadent and something to die for. This is by far one of the most favorite chocolate cakes that I have made. This cake provides utmost satisfaction. The cake is baked in such a manner that the center remains slightly undone, which is the specialty of this cake. If it is over-baked, the cake loses its creamy quality. Another important point to be noted is that the recipe uses no chemical leavening as baking powder or baking soda and that is the reason, the eggs are separated and used. The butter and the sugar contribute to the rising of the cake and the egg whites help in the aeration of it. The recipe gives you the option of using either rum or coffee, where I used the latter one. The icing used for this cake is a simple chocolate butter icing also known as Gla├žage au Chocolat.

Recipe


Adapted from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Serves 6-8
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE (REINE DE SABA)

What you need



For the cake,

  • 100 gm Dark Chocolate 
  • 2 Tbsp Rum or Coffee (I used Coffee)
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 2/3 Cup Granulated plus 1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar 
  • 3 Eggs, separated
  • Salt, a pinch
  • 1/3 Cup Pulverized Almonds*
  • 1/4 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Cake Flour

For the icing,

  • 100 gm Dark Chocolate
  • 4 Tbsp Coffee
  • 3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • A few ice cubes
  • Almonds, Slivered

How to make it?


To make the cake,
  • Preheat the oven at 170 degree Celsius.
  • Line your pan with butter and flour evenly. You may even line it with parchment paper.
  • Put the chocolate and coffee in a small pan and place it in a larger saucepan of simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt and combine with the coffee and keep stirring from time to time. Remove from heat when the chocolate melts completely and set it aside to cool. 
  • Cream the butter and 2/3rd cup sugar together till the mixture turns pale yellow in colour. 
  • Add in the egg yolks and beat till the mixture is thick and creamy. 
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and salt till soft peaks are formed.Sprinkle the remaining one tablespoon sugar and beat it again. 
  • Fold the melted chocolate in the butter and sugar mixture, followed by the pulverized almonds and the almond extract.
  • Immediately stir in one fourth of the beaten egg whites in the batter in order to lighten it. Fold it gently. 
  • Add and fold the remaining egg whites in the batter alternatively with the cake flour (i.e, Add one third of the egg whites followed by one third of the flour and repeat it for three times).
  • Pour the batter in the cake pan and bake it in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or till the skewer comes out clean from the cake.
  • Allow it to cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. When cooled, run a knife along the edges so that the cake comes out clean. 
  • Let it cool on a wire rack for one or two hours. 
To make the icing, 
  • Place the chocolate and coffee in a small pan and set it in a larger pan with simmering water in order to melt the chocolate completely.
  • Remove the pan from heat and let it cool. 
  • Add the butter to the melted chocolate, one tablespoon at a time, and beat it properly. 
  • Then keep on beating it over ice and water, till the chocolate reaches a spreading consistency. 
Once your icing it ready, spread it on top of your cake and garnish it with slivered almonds. 
CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE

P.S:

  • As Julia Child says, Pulverized Almonds are most easily done in a blender or a processor, and should always be ground 1/2 Cup at a time for the blender( and 1 cup for the processor) with several tablespoons of sugar to prevent them from becoming oily and lumpy, which would make them impossible to combine with other dry ingredients. 
  • Make sure to use a spatula for folding in your egg whites in the batter. 
  • In case you do not have cake flour, I found this amazing article on the kitchn. You may have a look at it. The basic formula: 1 cup All Purpose Flour- 2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour + 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch= 1 cup Cake Flour
CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE (REINE DE SABA)


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