Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat: Chocolate Almond Cake ~ Baking Partners # 1


We the Baking Partners along with you all celebrates the 100th birthday of Julia Child with her Wonderful Cake 'Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat' or in simple words 'Chocolate Almond Cake' as a tribute to this Culinary legend. I truly believe in her quote's "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces -- just good food from fresh ingredients". She is recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her subsequent television programs, the most notable of which was The French Chef.

I'm really happy and thankful to Swathi for choosing this awesome cake as our first assignment which I absolutely loved making and my family enjoyed every tiny bit of it. To be frank when I saw the recipe header it did scare me but when I went through the recipe thoroughly along with Swathi's Inputs and notes I felt there is nothing that I've to scratch my head. When I started making it I felt it is very simple and straight forward process, as for every bake you just have to pay proper attention. But I must thank all the wonderful ladies in our baking group who poured in with the suggestions and inputs after their bakes which made it more easier for many of us. Thanks a bunch girls, you guys are truly amazing.

Coming back to this cake, I felt its more fugdy kind, dense and moist. Very less flour is used in this cake and the almond meal(powdered/pulverized almond) added give it a rich texture which can be slurped even without any Icing.  The chocolate-butter Icing complimented the cake very well, I was delighted to see such a dense cake baked without using any enhancing agents like Baking Soda/baking powder. But just a word of caution at the end the calorie count in this cake may be high as it uses some generous amount of butter, but its worth every tiny bite. Now moving on to the recipe, though my final decoration is not great, it tasted fabulous!!!!!.


Ingredients Used for an 8" Cake Pan:-
  • Semi Sweet Chocolate - 4 ounce or 4 squares or113.4 grams 
  • Softened Butter - ¼  lb or 1 stick softened butter or 113g
  • Granulated Sugar - 2/3 cup/ 134g (add  ¼ cup mmore if you are on a sweeter side)  
  • Eggs - 3(Yolks and White Separated)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Almond extract  - ½ tsp. 
  • Cake flour - ½ cup or 57g(scooped and leveled, turned into a sifter)
  • Granulated sugar -  1 tbsp
  • 1/3 cup/ 65g pulverized  (ground) almonds(To pulverize almonds grind together Blanched or slivered Almonds with 1 tbsp of sugar)
Pulverized Almonds
Chocolate Icing:-
  • Semisweet Baking Chocolate -  2 Oz(2 squares)/ 56.7 g 
  • Rum or Coffee - 2 tbsp 
  • Unsalted butter - 5 to 6 tbsp

Directions:-
  • Preheat oven to 350F/ 180 C. Butter and flour the cake pan nd set aside.
  • Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover and place (off heat-but boiling hot) in a larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with the recipe. 
  • Measure out the rest of the ingredients and keep handy.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
  • Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed (gradually increase the speed of your mixer and for about 5 minutes); sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed (it should have peaks not deflate ones).
                       
  • With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the ground almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir in one-fourth ( ¼) of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. 
  • Delicately fold in a third  (1/3rd) of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one-third  ( 1/3rd) of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated
  • Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for 25minutes. 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
  • 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 if it is to be iced.
  • To serve, use the chocolate-butter icing recipe below, and then press a design of almonds over the icing.
How to make Icing:-
  • Put a bowl filled with a tray of ice cubes and water to cover them and set aside.
  • Place the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and set in a larger pan of almost simmering water(heat off-but boiled water).  
  • Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth. 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. At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife.
  • Garnish with slivered almonds or according to your choice.

Some important Tips and Notes:-
*   Substitution for cake flour:- Add 1 tablespoon of corn flour/corn starch and then fill the rest of cup with all purpose flour(I did this instead of using cake flour)
** Reserve ¼ cup or more slivered almonds for decoration 
*** The cake is done when a cake tester inserted at the sides comes out clean where as when inserted in the center comes out with few moist crumbs.
*** Check out for the cake from 18 minutes as the baking time can vary according to different oven settings.

23 comments:

  1. lovely write up... and perfectly baked cake...

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  2. I really love your almond design, Prathibha! Sooo cute!

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  3. its raining Queen sheba cake in the blogosphere. am just drooling over these.

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  4. Good presentation Prathibha! lovely clicks, specially the first one.looks perfect.

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  5. So cute lovely clicks and superb :) :)

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  6. Beautiful cake dear...Loved the simple and cute designs on the cake...Nice write up too..

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  7. Super clicks, very perfectly made dear. Mouthwatering choco almond cake.

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  8. Beautiful Prathiba, you did a wonderful job. Great tribute to master chef.

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  9. Beautifully baked and cute cake,love the designs,great job dear and a wonderful tribute too.

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  10. Cake looks beautiful. Neat presentation.

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  11. Superb, moist & delicious.

    http://shwetainthekitchen.blogspot.com/

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  12. Very neat and elegant cake, lovely presentation.

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  13. Cake looks very inviting.. Nice decoration..


    Sowmya

    http://nivedhanams.blogspot.in/

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  14. i just loved the cake.. so lovly u have placed ..thanks for sharing

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  15. Simple decoration looks pretty, Prathibha. This cake is indeed loaded with calories and imagine, I had to bake it twice to get it right.. Just thought of all the calories I took in scares me. Loved every bite of the cake though.

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  16. First time here, you have such a cute blog, your cake look lovely, following you.., happy to be with you in Baking partners

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