Ingredients

For the Cake:
4 ounces or squares semisweet chocolate melted with 2 tablespoons rum or coffee 
1/4 pound or 1 stick softened butter 
2/3 cup granulated sugar 
3 egg yolks 
3 egg whites 
Pinch of salt 
1 tablespoon granulated sugar 
2/3 cup pulverized almonds 
1/4 teaspoon almond extract 
1/2 cup cake flour (scooped and leveled) turned into a sifter

For the Chocolate-Butter Icing:
2 ounces (2 squares) semisweet baking chocolate 
2 tablespoons rum or coffee 
5 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Butter and flour the cake pan.
2. Cream the butter and 2/3 cup of sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
3. Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle 1 tablespoon 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 almonds, and almond extract. Immediately 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. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.
5. Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula.
6. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily.
7. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on the rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold before it is iced.

For the Chocolate-Butter Icing:
1. Place the chocolate and rum or coffee in the small pan, cover, and set in the larger pan of almost simmering water.
2. Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth.
3. Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency.
4. At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife, and press a design of almonds over the icing.

Recipe courtesy of Dr. Merry “Corky” White as adapted from “Mastering The Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck, 2011.
 

The actual name for this cake is Reine de Saba, “Queen of Sheba.” This cake is from Julia Child’s first book, Mastering The Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and Simone Beck. Dr. Merry “Corky” White knew Julia Child from her days in Graduate School, and also knows that this is a cake that Julia Child made often. It seems that Corky lived in Julia Child’s neighborhood and while earning her way through school by catering, she would often ask and receive help and suggestions from Julia. As she explains to Food Columnist Heather Atwood in this video, the cake holds special appeal to her and she has often made the cake from her well-worn copy of Julia’s first cookbook.

Gooey and chocolaty on the inside and covered with thick chocolate icing on the outside, Corky describes it as a French brownie, covered with slivered almonds. This cake’s popularity was at its’ peak in the seventies but you can see why it is making something of a comeback today.

Chocolate Almond Cake
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