Chocolate Almond Cake (Queen of Sheba)

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I’m not really a traditional baker. By that, I mean I didn’t study baking, I didn’t take baking classes, and I haven’t pursued most of the common “all-time greats” of baking. For example, Julia Child is the inspiration for thousands upon thousands of bakers, but I don’t own any of her cookbooks.

That’s not to say I don’t appreciate her contributions to the baking arts. I do, of course! It’s just that some things, that are probably old hat for many bakers, are pretty new to me. That’s where today’s recipe comes in. This is, basically, just the Julia Child Queen of Sheba cake.

I chose to top it with a tart cherry sauce made from fresh tart cherries we bought, instead of the traditional chocolate ganache, but otherwise, it’s basically the same recipe. Well. I also used some coffee instead of rum (since I don’t drink and we don’t keep alcohol around). But other than that!

We went wild on our last fruit-buying trip, visiting three different farms to pick up all the fruit and produce we wanted. To see what the sweet cherries are used for, stay tuned next week!

This recipe was, frankly, a little intimidating to me. I’m still pretty new to cakes in general, and this one eschews leavening via a traditional baking soda, instead relying on whipped egg whites. I am terrified that when I mix things into whipped anything, that I’m going to knock all the air out of them and leave the resulting confection dense and lifeless.

The truth is, this is a pretty forgiving recipe. It turned out absolutely delicious, especially with the cherry sauce on top. It held moisture and didn’t dry out even after several days of savoring it, too. It’s definitely something I would make again, and I fully recommend all of you make it too.

There are two different ways to make the tart cherry sauce. I’ve tried them both and they both work fine, so feel free to pick your favorite. They are:

  • Mix together your sugar and corn starch, and set them aside. Heat your tart cherries in a sauce pan for 5-10 minutes, or until they’re soft and the juices are released. Add in the sugar/corn starch mix, stir well, and simmer for another minute or so until it thickens up.
  • Mix your cherries and sugar together. Heat them in the sauce pan until softened. Remove about a quarter cup of cherry juice and mix in the corn starch until it’s combined. Then add that back into thicken the sauce.

Personally, I think the first method is a little easier, but some people find that it leaves the sauce a smidge grainy since the sugar doesn’t cook down and dissolve. I didn’t experience that, but, you know, everyone ends up with something different when they’re cooking. Just do what works best for you!

Chocolate Almond Cake (Queen of Sheba)

The classic Julia Child cake, tweaked slightly to avoid using rum and topped with cherries instead of ganache. If you're looking for a twist on the classic, this is a great choice!
Servings 8 Servings
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer With whisk attachment
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Sauce Pan
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Cherry Pitter If you're using fresh cherries
  • Microwave-safe Bowl
  • Springform Pan
  • Parchment Paper
  • Sifter

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 4 Oz Semisweet Chocolate Chunks
  • 2 Tbsp Coffee
  • ½ Cup Butter
  • Cup Sugar Plus an extra tablespoon
  • 3 Eggs Yolks and whites separated
  • Cup Almond Flour
  • ½ Cup Cake Flour
  • ¼ Tsp Almond Extract

For the Cherry Sauce

  • 2 Cups Tart Cherries
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Corn Starch

Instructions

Make the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare your cake pan by greasing and coating it with flour, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Cream the butter and ⅔ cup of sugar together until fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolks and beat until blended.
  • In your mixer bowl, add the egg whites and 1 Tbsp sugar until stiff peaks form. This is about 10-15 minutes on medium speed.
  • In your microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate. Stir this into the butter and sugar mixture.
  • Add the almond flour and almond extract tot he chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
  • Once your egg whites are beaten, take about ¼ of them and stir them into the chocolate mix.
  • Carefully fold in another quarter of the egg whites, and add ⅓ of the cake flour. Repeat until all of the egg whites and flour are added.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan.
  • Bake for 18-25 minutes, depending on your oven. Mine took about 20.

Make the Cherry Sauce

  • Pit your cherries, if necessary.
  • In your sauce pan, add the tart cherries and simmer until they release their juices and soften up, around 10 minutes.
  • Add the corn starch and sugar, stirring to thoroughly dissolve and mix. Simmer for another 1-2 minutes or until it thickens.

Assemble the Cake

  • Once the cake is done baking, set it aside to cool. The same with the cherry sauce: allow it to cool before using it.
  • Top the cake with cherry sauce, and add a bit of whipped cream or chocolate shavings if you desire. Enjoy!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Almond, Cake, Cherry, Chocolate

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