Friday, August 7, 2009

Reine de Saba Chocolate Cake & Other Ways to Land a Husband!

Pin It Everyone is getting ready for the new movie release Julie and Julia tonight. Parties are being planned by foodies and friends, including the food magazines, where a Julia Child Menu has been featured this past month in Bon Appetit. There's also The Fourth Annual Julia Child Celebration where food bloggers honor the life of this American icon .

I guess it would be a cool idea to plan a party and have everyone bring their favorite Julia Child recipe.Im not going to, but I will surely make this cake and eat it all by myself!

Of all her recipes, my favorite is the Chocolate Mousse which I have been making ever since I got married, as a matter of fact, ever since IT got me married! Hear that ladies? three recipes two husbands! that's all you need. When it comes to landing a husband you need something more than sex..the nail on the coffin is food... when are you going to learn? Oy Vey!

There's no doubt in my mind her Chocolate Mousse landed my first and her Quiche Lorraine and Coquilles St Jacques the second. Thank you Julia! at least for the first... and for two beautiful kids and a gorgeous granddaughter.Now that I'm single again maybe I should try my own advice...but then again, why spoil a perfect record... and where would Lucy sleep?

This cake is fantastic and a real show stopper. The original recipe gives you a choice of 2TB rum or 2 TB freshly brewed coffee. I've kept both but have substituted the coffee with 1 TB espresso. The coffee enhances the flavor of the chocolate, something I learned from her 40 years ago. This is what makes her Chocolate Mousse so divine and a sure bet in landing a husband, ladies! If you make her mousse make sure you go straight to the cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I, as there are several recipes for it in the Internet under her name that are not the one I'm talking about.

Serves 6-8


For the Cake:

4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons rum
1TB espresso
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 large eggs, separated
Large pinch salt
1/3 cup finely ground almonds
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)

For the Chocolate Butter Icing:

1 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon rum or brewed coffee
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature



Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour 8-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides. Combine chopped chocolate and rum in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over medium saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Cool melted chocolate, stirring occasionally.

Using electric mixer, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl until fluffy and pale. Add egg yolks and beat until blended.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and pinch of salt in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff but not dry.

Fold chocolate mixture, then almonds and almond extract into yolk mixture. Fold in 1/4 of whites to lighten batter. Fold in 1/3 of remaining whites. Sift 1/3 of flour over and fold in. Fold in remaining whites alternately with flour in 2 more additions each.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Push some batter 3/4 inch up sides of pan with rubber spatula (batter will slip down).

Bake cake until puffed and gently set in center and tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 25 minutes.

Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Cut around pan sides and carefully turn cake out onto rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

Chocolate Butter Icing

Combine chocolate and rum in small metal bowl. Set bowl over small saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water.

Using wooden spoon, beat in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth. Place bowl over medium bowl filled with ice water. Continue to beat until icing is cool and thickened to spreading consistency.

Place cake on platter. Scrape icing onto top center. Using small offset spatula, spread icing evenly and thinly over top and sides of cake.

DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and store at room temperature.


A Port-style wine from the south of France would be delicious with the cake. Try the Cornet & Cie 2006 Banyuls Rimage ($16 for 500 ml), which has hints of chocolate and cherry.

Cook's Note: Slightly pushing the cake batter up the sides of the pan before baking (even though the batter will slip down again) can help ensure that the cake will stay level and bake more evenly.

Recipe adapted from Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Photo Gail Albert Halaban Bon Appetit

La Reine De Saba - The Queen Of Sheba Chocolate Almond Cake on Foodista


  1. Oh I love your commentary here!
    Did you see the movie yesterday? I'm going for a "girl's night out" in two weeks; just can't WAIT to see it!!!

  2. Oh I love your commentary here!
    Did you see the movie yet?

  3. What a gorgeous cake. And so useful. ;) Thank you so much for taking part in the celebration of Mrs. Child!


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