Julia Child’s ‘Reine De Saba’

As of last week, I began really really trying to lose weight (the sensible way), and so far am pleased to say I’ve lost 2 lbs. 3 meals a day, healthy snacks and no carbs of an evening – oh and plenty of exercise!

The tricky part is trying to make all these lovely cakes and treats without gaining the weight; willpower aside, it’s a good idea to obviously not gorge on the fruit of your loins and take it easy. I’ve got three fantastic books to help me along the way:

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The Hairy Dieter’s: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0297869051

Greedy Girl’s Diet by Nadia Sawalha: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0857830899

Cook Yourself Thin: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0718153510

Dieting and resolutions aside, let’s have a look at making Julia Child’s ‘Reine De Saba’ chocolate and almond cake – quite frankly, fit for a queen! Taken from ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ but I’ve converted the measurements for ease!

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Ingredients (Serves 6-8):

  • 120 g plain chocolate (60 – 70%) 
  • 2 tbsp rum/coffee
  • 120 g butter 
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60 g ground almonds 
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • 60 g plain flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F/gas mark 4.
  2. Butter and line the cake tin with parchment paper, the flour it.
  3. Melt the chocolate over hot water with the 2 tbsp rum/coffee.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended and combined.
  6. Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed.
  7. Sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
  8. With a spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture.
  9. Stir in the almonds and the extract.
  10. Fold in ¼ of the egg whites.
  11. When partially blended, sift on ¼ of the flour and continue folding – alternating until all egg whites and flour is used.
  12. Turn the mixture into the cake tin
  13. Bake in the middle of the oven for approx 25 minutes; the centre should move slightly if the tin is shaken and a needle comes out oily – cake is done when it has puffed around the circumference.
  14. Allow the cake to cool for an hour or two before icing.

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Frosting (Glaçage au chocolat):

  • 60 g chocolate (same as before)
  • 1 tbsp rum or coffee
  • Flaked almonds (for decoration)
  • 60 g unsalted butter
  1. Stir the chocolate and rum/coffee in the saucepan over the hot water until chocolate has melted into a very smooth cream.
  2. Remove it from the hot water and beat the butter into the chocolate 1 tbsp at a time
  3. Then beat over cold water until the chocolate mixture is cool and of spreading consistency.

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