It seems like yesterday that the JC 100 received the first Julia Child tribute recipe, L’Omelette Roulée, in our email. Then, before I knew it, weeks two through five whizzed right by me, eager celebrating Julia’s upcoming birthday.
Even though I was unable to make or post the enticing Mousseline au Chocolate, Coq au Vin, Salade Niçoise, or Leek and Potato Soup, Chef Thomas Keller and food writer Amanda Hesser, have successfully captured Julia’s brilliance in their selections. Now, in week 6, it was my personal mission to pay homage to Julia with whichever recipe alerted “email” chime on my phone.
Wouldn’t you know, this week’s choice for the JC100 Celebration, involved baking. Once alerted, and as soon as I peeked at the Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat, I thought, a cake! Perfect! Then, I greeted the pages with a little, “Je suis très heureux de faire votre connaissance!”
Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat
Chocolate and Almond Cake with Chocolate Icing Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
4 oz. or squares semi-sweet chocolate melted with 2 Tbsp. rum or coffee
¼ lb. or 1 stick softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/3 cup pulverized almonds
½ tsp. almond extract
½ cup cake flour (scooped and leveled, turned into a sifter)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter and flour the cake pan. Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with the recipe. Measure out the rest of the ingredients.
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; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
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.
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 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 centre 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, then press a design of almonds over the icing.
Glaçage au Chocolat
2 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
2 Tbsp. rum or coffee
5 to 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
A bowl filled with a tray of ice cubes and water to cover them
Place the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and set in a larger pan of almost simmering 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.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour 8-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides. Combine chopped chocolate and rum in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over medium saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Cool melted chocolate, stirring occasionally.
Using electric mixer, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl until fluffy and pale. Add egg yolks and beat until blended.
Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and pinch of salt in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff but not dry.
Fold chocolate mixture, then almonds and almond extract into yolk mixture. Fold in 1/4 of whites to lighten batter. Fold in 1/3 of remaining whites. Sift 1/3 of flour over and fold in. Fold in remaining whites alternately with flour in 2 more additions each. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Push some batter 3/4 inch up sides of pan with rubber spatula (batter will slip down).
Bake cake until puffed and gently set in center and tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Cut around pan sides and carefully turn cake out onto rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
Chocolate Butter Icing
Combine chocolate and rum in small metal bowl. Set bowl over small saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Using wooden spoon, beat in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth. Place bowl over medium bowl filled with ice water. Continue to beat until icing is cool and thickened to spreading consistency.
Place cake on platter. Scrape icing onto top center. Using small offset spatula, spread icing evenly and thinly over top and sides of cake. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and store at room temperature.
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