Julia’s Queen of Sheba cake is delicious. Let me see if I can find a free clip of Julia making this cake. It’s delightful. She has a tray she puts all the ingredients on so she won’t forget any of them and then almost forgets one. I love her. Here is Julia making her Queen of Sheba. Julia says this is the best chocolate cake you’ve ever put in your mouth. No disrespect intended but Contessa Garten’s chocolate cake I made awhile ago is better. That thing is dangerous.
I might make one for myself for my birthday. This cake is persnickety. You really have to use cake flour and you have to sift it and there is no absolute amount you put in. Because the only leavening agent is egg whites and because egg whites are not exact, the amount of flour you put in is anywhere between ½ and ¾ cup. It all comes down to how the batter looks as you are folding in egg whites and flour.
Also, this recipe uses a lot of bowls. Don’t get me wrong, it is delicious but it isn’t easy.
Let me get the recipe I use, there are quite a few floating around the internet so be careful which one you use. This is the one that seems closest to what Julia does in the video I linked to. It is from Mon Petit Four. If you make it in the order this recipe recommends you don’t have to own two stand mixer bowls to get through the recipe. You can just rinse out the bowl rather than scrub it to make sure egg yolks don’t contaminate your egg whites. How much does a stand mixer bowl cost? 50 bucks for the glass one, 80 for the stainless steel! (And don’t use the glass one for heavy mixing like kneading dough. It can’t stand up to that kind of agitation.)
- 3 egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar (15 grams)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (115 grams) softened
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 oz dark chocolate (72%) (114 grams) melted
- 2 tbsp brewed coffee (30 grams)
- 1/3 cup almond meal (26 grams)
- 1/4 tsp almond extract (1.25 grams)
- 1/2 cup cake flour (62 grams)
- 2 oz dark chocolate (57 grams)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (57 grams) room temperature
- shaved almonds for garnishing
- unsalted butter softened, for pan
Create the meringue
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush a 9″ cake pan with softened butter. To the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites and the pinch of salt. Whisk on high speed until the eggs lose their yellow appearance and begin to foam.
- Sprinkle the tablespoon of granulated sugar over the egg whites and continue to whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. The egg whites should stick to the whisk when the whisk is held upside down, and they should look just a bit more firm than shaving cream.
- Transfer the egg whites to a medium bowl and temporarily set aside. Rinse out the stand mixer’s bowl.
Create the cake
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the unsalted butter and granulated sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. To the mixer, add the egg yolks and mix until the batter is light yellow (vanilla-colored).
- Add the melted chocolate and coffee to the batter, then mix just to incorporate. Then mix in the almond meal and almond extract. Finally, on low speed, mix in 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten up the batter.
- Now, use a rubber spatula to stir in half of the cake flour. Fold to incorporate. Add another third of egg whites to the batter, and very gently fold the whites into the batter to incorporate. Add the remaining cake flour and gently fold to mix. Finally, add the remaining egg whites and gently fold to incorporate. There shouldn’t be any unmixed egg whites.
- Gently pour the cake batter into your prepared pan, using a light hand to evenly spread out the batter in the pan. Bake the cake for 16 to 20 minutes. If you want a fudgey texture, the center of the cake should slightly wobble. Otherwise, remove once cake is set all over. Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes before running a sharp knife along the edges. Flip the cake out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Create the glaze:
- Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Use a rubber spatula to stir the chocolate and make sure it’s smooth. Add in the butter and stir until the butter has melted as well and the glaze is smooth.
- Place the cake on your serving plate, then pour the glaze over the cake. Smooth the glaze across the top of the cake first, giving time for the chocolate to somewhat set before smoothing down the sides. As each minute passes, the chocolate will set more and more, making it less runny. Gently press shaved almonds along the sides of the cake.
If you want to make this cake gluten-free, you can substitute the cake flour with almond meal too. Follow the directions exactly the same way.
Almond meal can be substituted with almond flour or pulverized almonds.
Coffee can be substituted with rum or water.