Today is Sunday, a day, among other things, for baking cakes. Somehow, I recently have found myself in possession of two cake stands. (I’m not exactly sure how that happened, but it might have something to do with having absolutely NO self control around cake stands. None. It’s dangerous. Watch out. I might end up with an entire apartment full of cake stands. I won’t have a place to sleep. It will be perilous to walk through, and you might tip one over and there will be sparkly glass shards everywhere. Don’t step on those. Glass is difficult to get out of skin and flesh because it keeps cutting its way deeper and deeper.)
I also have a firm belief that cakestands should be naked as little as possible. Feel free to share you favorite cake recipes – I’m always looking for cakestand clothes.
However, this cake gave me grief from the very beginning. My local grocery store does not carry almond flour or ground almonds, so I had to make it myself in my blender. Then, I didn’t have a sieve, so I had to sift the almond flour through a tea strainer. It took thirty two minutes to get 1/3 a cup of almond flour. Re-dik-U-luss. Then, when the cake was finished, it gave me identity crisis. It’s not light and fluffy like sh*t cake, it’s not dense, thick or creamy like those flourless chocolate tort mid-level restaurants are always trying to sell you, it’s not spongy and soft like triple fudge cake. It’s a weird in between for all of those. It’s sort of dense and sort of fluffy and sort of moist and sort of soft. It kind of tastes like almonds and kind of like chocolate and kind of mild and kind of in-your-face. Even my friends weren’t sure what to do with it.
L: This is amazing cake!
B: You’ve made better.
J: Can’t talk. Entire slice in mouth.
J2: Hmm. Interesting.
L2: My favorite ever!
G: Goes great with coffee.
I think, in the end, that I really like it. I know I will make it again – it is a sophisticated and subtle cake in many ways. But I will only make it again when I can buy ground almonds.
Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba Cake)
Adapted from Julia Child
Makes 1 8″ cake. Allow 2 hours.
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cold coffee
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup ground almonds
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon cold coffee
3 tablespoons butter
1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour one 8″ cake pan.
2) Combine the chocolate chips and coffee in a microwave proof bowl and microwave fifteen seconds at a time until melted. Stir together until smooth.
3) Separate the egg yolks into a small bowl* and the whites in a bowl big enough to hold six times their volume.
4) Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and beat until they hold stiff peaks.
5) In a large mixing bowl, combine the remainder of the sugar and the butter; beat till pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat til well combined.
6) Mix the chocolate, the ground almonds and the almond extract into the butter mixture.
7) Stir in 1/4 of the beaten egg whites. Fold in 1/3 of the flour, then 1/3 of the remaining egg whites, and continue to alternate flour and egg whites until all have been incorporated.
8) Transfer batter to baking pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached.**
1) Combine the chocolate chips and coffee in a microwave proof bowl and microwave fifteen seconds at a time until melted. Stir together until smooth.
2) Stir in the butter until melted, and continue to stir until it’s smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature, then spread over cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
*Or a dirty measuring cup.
** You want the cake just slightly underbaked.