Reine de Saba
My book group just read Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I didn’t love it (and I’m almost positive I wasn’t influenced by my mother, who had sent me her copy with a post-it note on the cover that read “well, I hope you enjoy this more than I did, no need to return it” ) and actually enjoyed the movie more than the book, but I found the idea of Julie Powell’s project (cooking each of Julia Child’s 524 recipes in her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year) interesting. I’m intrigued to learn more about Julia Child (as opposed to learning more than I cared to know about Julie Powell), and I’ve added Appetite For Life, the biography by Noel Riley Fitch, and Julia Child’s own My Life in France to my reading list.
I was hosting the book group meeting, so I decided to bake something. I chose to make Julia Child’s recipe for Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba) Chocolate Almond Cake. Chocolate…. almonds…. rum….. good.
The cake is meant to be slightly undercooked and creamy in the centre, but mine sort of had the consistency of a big chocolate brownie. Not entirely a bad thing, but probably because I used regular flour instead of cake flour, and my whipped egg whites lost some volume when I was waiting for the chocolate to melt the proper way, in a pot inside a pan of barely simmering water, before I finally gave up and plonked the chocolate in the microwave. The cake is meant to have a chocolate-butter glaze, but that just seemed like TOO much chocolate to me (I know, call me crazy), so I made almond flavoured buttercream icing instead, and decorated the cake with chocolate buttons.
I’m not including the recipe here as I think that would be a copyright infringement, but you can find it in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, or elsewhere online. I recommend it… my cake was delicious, even if it didn’t have the “special creamy quality” Julia said it should. Next time!