Yesterday I decided to make the classic Reine de Saba chocolate torte/cake from Julia's French Chef cookbook. Why? Valentine's Day, of course! As an early valentine, I spent today giving away pieces of it to everyone I met - except for that little Coquette above. Endearing as her face is, I know chocolate can be fatal to dogs, so I gave her an extra biscuit.
I love Reine de Saba ! It's a dense, one layer chocolate and almond cake, easy to make, and simply delicious with a rich chocolate ganache icing with a hint of Grand Marnier. It's beautiful as it is, or served with fresh raspberries and even a small spoonful of whipped cream, if you want to jazz it up.
You will need one 8" x 1 1/2" cake pan, buttered and floured
Preheat oven to 350F.
4 ounces German's Sweet chocolate bar, broken into pieces
1 T. Grand Marnier liqueur
1 T. cold water
If you prefer, you can use 2 T. dark rum instead of the Grand Marnier and water.
In a microwave safe bowl, place the chocolate, water, and Grand Marnier. Microwave two minutes, or until chocolate is melted. Stir well and set aside.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
additional 2T. sugar for the whites
1/2 cup pluverized blanched almonds
1/2 t. vanilla
3/4 cup King Arthur flour, sifted twice
Whip egg whites in mixer bowl. When soft peaks form, slowly add the 2 T. sugar and whip until stiff. Scoop out into a bowl and set aside.
Using the same bowl, mix the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Add the pinch of salt.
Stir in the warm melted chocolate. ( If it's cooled, just quickly microwave to soften)
Stir in the almond meal, vanilla, and flour.
Using a stiff rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the whites into the cake batter. Slowly continue to fold in the stiff egg whites until batter is smooth and whites are incorporated.
Turn into the prepared cake pan and smooth top.
Bake for 25 minutes and remove to cooling rack. Let cool ten minutes, then turn onto another cooling rack.
The Chocolate Icing:
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate bits, or chocolate bar, broken up
3/4 cup light cream
2 T. sieved warm apricot jam
Heat 4 T. apricot preserves in small pan. Using a fine sieve, strain the jam into a small bowl.
Add the chocolate bits.
Bring the cream to a boil and pour over the jam and chocolate.
Stir until chocolate has melted.
Pour icing on cake and smooth, if necessary.
Enjoy - and Happy Valentine's Day!
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