Julia Child’s Queen Of Sheba Cake

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For a while there, I was wondering if I was ever going to bake anything again.  I had the best ingredients on hand (Van Houten cocao, various Beanilla products) but no idea what to do with them.  In the middle of the night, I’d find myself thinking about anything at all interesting that I could bake.  Still at a loss, I turned to my Facebook fans.

I told them what ingredients I wanted to bake with and asked for their suggestions.  Some suggestions were friands, double chocolate mud cupcakes and macarons.  While they all sounded delicious, one suggestion really intrigued me – Queen of Sheba cake, which was recommended by Jessica.  I had no idea what it was so had to google it.

The Queen of Sheba cake, or Reine De Saba, is a recipe from Julia Child.  Apparently it comes from her first book, The French Chef, but it appears that it can also be found, with slightly different versions, in a few other of Julia’s cookbooks.  In The French Chef, Julia says that it is the first French cake she had ever eaten, prepared by co-author Simon Beck, and she had never forgotten it.

I can’t figure out why this cake is called Queen of Sheba.  Does anyone know?

The cake itself is a soft, moist, gooey chocolate cake.  The preparation was fun and slightly different than I’m used to.  It starts out normal, by creaming butter and sugar, but then you beat in egg yolks, followed by folding in a mixture of melted chocolate and brewed coffee, then adding almond meal and almond extract (this is where my only variation came in, by adding my Beanilla Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract instead because, although I like the smell of almond extract, I do not like the taste).

In another bowl, you will need to whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt and some sugar, then fold them in alternately with cake flour.  You’re then ready to go.

My cake didn’t rise very much, although in the pictures I’ve seen on the internets, it doesn’t appear to be a very high cake.  The top of the cake became shiny and a little crackly, sort of like a brownie.  The inside of the cake is very soft and moist and the taste is just beautiful.  I’m glad I used vanilla extract instead of almond.

What you absolutely need to note about this cake is that you must not overbake it. If you overbake it, you will lose that gooey texture that this cake is known for.

Originally, a recipe for a soft chocolate frosting accompanies this cake, but I chose not to use this.  Instead, I used some leftover dulce de leche to drizzle on each individual slice and sprinkled over a few pink sea salt flakes.  When served warm, this combination was absolutely to die for, so heavenly.

I am so thankful to Jessica for recommending the Queen of Sheba cake to me.  This recipe was such a great way to break my bout of baker’s block!

On a separate note, this post sees the launch of my new watermark for my photos.  After experiencing the trouble of someone using my photos to advertise their own “products” on Etsy, I have finally decided to take the time to watermark each photo.  I have tried and will try to keep them in an area of the photo that will not be so annoying, and I apologize if you don’t like them, but if you have experienced someone stealing your photos, then I’m sure you would take appropriate action as well.

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  1. says

    The watermark’s good. A polite reminder that it belongs to you! Out of interest, what did you think of the one I was trying out on my blog?

    Cake looks delish!

    • Jamieanne says

      Sorry Kell, I really did mean to leave a comment about your watermark but got distracted and forgot to come back! I do like your new watermark and if you couldn’t tell, it was the inspiration behind mine (hope you don’t mind!)! 😉

  2. says

    Not at all! it’s one of the few things that I *don’t* mind being copied.
    I also run a couple of very low opacity (ie 5-8%) name lines through the image too. One with my name and the other saying Blackcurrant.

    This cake is calling to me.

  3. says

    My goodness this cake looks INSANELY good! The caramel drizzle just tops it off something lovely :) And just as an aside i think your watermarks are really nice and unobtrusive, they are very pretty as anti-theft devices go! :)

  4. says

    I remember trying this cake when I first got one of Julia’s books. I loved it. It is such a great take on the chocolate cake. I love the caramel drizzle on top. Thanks for sharing this post. It’s got me wanting to try this recipe again.

  5. says

    Chocolate and caramel is always a winning combination for me and this looks like no exception! Utterly irresistible – I wish I had a slice right now.

    • Jamieanne says

      Hi, the caramel sauce on the cake was store-bought dulce de leche, which you can make yourself with a can of sweetened condensed milk. Dulce de leche is made with milk and sugar, while regular caramel sauce is made with water and sugar. There is quite a taste difference, and I think that with this cake, the dulce de leche would be best.

      At the beginning of the post I have linked to below are a few links to methods on how to make your own dulce de leche. Also, towards the bottom of the post, is a recipe on how I have made dulce de leche.

      I hope that helps!

  6. Chanel says

    You committed the cardinal sin, of changing ingredients in The Queen Of Sheba Cake, It is never served with caramel ever. The cakes name comes from the adage the if it was good enough for Queen Victoria , it was good enough for the Queen of Sheba. Julia Child whom I met , created recipes that never needed changing they were that good.

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