Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Reine De Saba

I just moved back to my hometown after being away for seven years! Yeah, big adjustment. Especially when I looked at our Wikipedia page and discovered that the average age of the citizens of O-town is 58. Le sigh. BUT!!! (oh yes, there is always a but) I also got hired on at the new, and really, REALLY amazing bakery in town. It is just the kind of bakery I've wanted to work at - local, seasonal, amazing owners, cute baby crawling around, fancy tools for me to break, you know, the usual.

Now, how did I, the untrained chef, get this job, you might ask? I'm going to go with a mixture of charisma, nice eyes, and this cake that I used as a "business card." Because conventional methods are so over-rated.

Seriously though. This cake. My mother's coworker actually said: That's the closest thing I've had to an orgasm in a long time. And you'll understand when you eat it. Some might argue that you can add a pound of butter to anything and have it taste good...and they'd probably be right. Julia Child was on to that schtick long before any of us. Bless her. And bless butter.

Julia Child's Reine De Saba

For the cake:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate melted with 2 tbsp rum or coffee
1/4 lb. softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
dash o' salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2/3 cup pulverized almonds
1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
1/4 tsp almond extract

1. Oven at 325F
2. Simmer some water in a double boiler. Once it has stopped simmering, remove from heat, and place chocolate and rum (or coffee, if you're being a wimp) in top of double boiler. Now leave it alone. We'll come back to that later.
3. Beat egg whites and salt in to soft peaks. When it has reached the soft peak form, add the tbsp of sugar and beat to stiff peaks.
4. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks and beat some more. Beat it, just beat it...
5. Now we come to the melted chocolate and rum. Mix it together to emulsify it, then add it to the egg/sugar/butter mixture. Now add the almonds.
5. Fold in the egg whites and flour in, in thirds.
6. Bake 25 minutes, until cake has puffed and center is still a wee bit jiggly. Cool and ice.  

For the icing:
2 ounces semisweet baking chocolate
2 tbsp rum or coffee (I used rum again, of course)
5 to 6 tbsp unsalted butter

1. Perform the same trick with the chocolate and rum as you did for the cake. Simmer, heat off, melt. You know the drill.
2. Once melted, beat in the butter, on tbsp at a time. Then beat over an ice bath until it has reached the spreading consistency. I know it sounds like a pain in the ass, but the end result is really worth it. Or just stuff it in the freezer for five minutes and then beat the hell out of it. Whatever you want.
3. Spread it over the cake and decorate with sliced almonds, how you see fit. As you can see, I didn't have any sliced almonds on hand and the world didn't end. Bon Appetit!

p.s. for maximum effect, dig out some old pearls and wear those in the kitchen while also doing your best Julia impression.

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