Chocolate Almond Cake also known as Queen of Sheba Cake also known as Reine de Sabe is a dream y’all!. I made this recipe as written by the world famous, loved, and treasured talent, Julia Child. Happy Birthday Week, Julia! I am so pumped to be sharing this recipe with you friends! I think in true Julia fashion, I am kicking off a weeks worth of her recipes with the best part first, Cake! Who says you can’t have cake first? Julia Child’s birthday is tomorrow and I am celebrating by making some of her most famous dishes and sharing them with y’all!
Talk about a classic chef that we’d all love to spend just one afternoon in the kitchen with!
She’d be 105 if she were alive this year on her birthday and no doubt she’d probably be banging away in the kitchen even now. I’m sure she’d show all us younger chefs up. Julia Child was iconic and one of a kind from her unique voice to the method in which she taught us all. She made lots of mistakes and shared so much wisdom; sometimes the most simple: “Cooking is not a chore, it’s a Joy. ”
This Chocolate Almond Cake is way lovely and honestly pretty easy to throw together and it only makes one layer! This is a good thing to those of us who appreciate small doses of rich treats, perhaps it’s sad to those who believe Chocolate is its own food group. ; )
Chocolate Almond Cake turned out rich and decadent and moist and presents in a beautiful way. It’s got a strong chocolate flavor and the addition of ground almonds to the batter makes it special in texture because it changes it ever so subtlety.
Egg Whites are kinda important!
The egg whites being firm but, still silky is a talent guys. I have tried and tried so many times and made them too firm and they dried out so they didn’t spread easily into the batter. These are perfection though! You should still get the sheen on the egg whites but, they should hold their shape.
Don’t be alarmed that the cake comes out looking fairly regular and basic. The magic happens when you add the frosting to this joyful cake. Be mindful that it’s delicate because you add those egg whites it will be sensitive to mishandling. Mine as you can see cracked nicely so instead of moving it to a lovely cake stand I had to leave it on my board. My OCD self sincerely tried to channel the energy of Julia though and I simply let it go! You’d never know it though once you get it frosted because this Chocolate Almond Cake is gorgeous!
The way my OCD really showed it’s tail, however, was when I had to decorate the cake with almond slices. I literally applied them one at a time and it took me at least 30 minutes. They were still imperfect but, the idea of throwing them on the sides gave me anxiety! Don’t be like me- just throw them on there. In the end it doesn’t look much different and it won’t take you 3 times as long!
FYI & What not for Chocolate Almond Cake:
*I used room temp butter for the cake and frosting and would advise the same.
*I greased/floured and used parchment to make sure the cake didn’t stick in my pan
*In lieu of grinding my own Almonds which I have no desire to ever do, I used almond meal instead
*When you make your frosting immediately set it into a bowl of ice water so it will thicken and become spread-able.
*I recommend the same Rum Julia used, Myer’s Original Jamaican Rum because it is the best.
*Have fun with the presentation! I couldn’t help but make it look classic and dainty but, Julia used whole almonds for decoration!
*Finally, make this and SHARE it with someone you love or think of a lot because it’s how Julia would’ve intended it and it’s a really special treat.
Bon Appétit, Y’all!
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup cake flour, plus more for the pan
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons dark Jamaican rum
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 large eggs, separated
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup almond meal
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons dark Jamaican rum
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- sliced almonds, for garnish
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour the cake pan. Melt the chocolate and the rum together in a heat-safe bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Set aside.
- 2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat until well blended.
- 3. In another large bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
- 4. With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the almond meal and almond extract. 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. Repeat this process until you’ve added all the flour and folded in all of the whites.
- 5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until 2 inches from the edge of the pan are set and the center is still moist, about 20 minutes.
- 6. Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and flip the out onto the rack. Let cool completely before frosting!!
- Get a large bowl of ice water ready unless you're waiting to ice and have several hours.
- Melt the chocolate and the rum together in a heat-safe bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Remove from heat and beat in the butter, one tablespoon at a time.
- Set the bowl of chocolate into the ice bath and beat until the mixture has cooled to a spreading consistency.
- Frost the cake.
- Decorate with sliced almonds!
- Bon Appétit !