Sunday, 30 June 2013

Queen of Sheba -Chocolate Torte

Queen of Sheba- Chocolate cake

The Queen of Sheba was referred to in historical texts such as the Bible and QurĂ¡n. She was a monarch of the ancient kingdom of Sheba. The location of her kingdom is believed to have been in Ethiopia and Yemen and she journeyed from afar to offer gifts to the wise and bountiful King Solomon. In return, he offered to give her everything she desired. It is fitting that this cake is named after her and therefore indulgent and luxurious in both appearance and taste. Julia Child loved this French chocolate and almond recipe translated from the french Reine De Saba. The rich dark chocolate flavour and covering are a real treat. A hint of coffee makes this a more sophisticated chocolate cake for special occasions. As featured in The Great British Bake Off book by Linda Collister, this cake looked a little sorry for itself before being dressed with the chocolate icing. I sprinkled it with a dusting of cocoa powder to add a little finesse. I made this for a family get together celebrating both Father's Day and my cousin Sarah's birthday which called for an extra special cake.

Queen of Sheba
 Serves 8

Ingredients
For the sponge
100g dark chocolate (85% solids)
2 tbsp strong coffee
100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
3 large free range eggs separated
pinch cream of tartar
pinch of salt
50g groud almods
65g plain flour

For the icing.
100g dark chocolate
1 tbsp strong coffee
100g unsalted butter

Method
1. Preheat the oven 180C/350F. Grease and line a 20cm round tin.
2. Put the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and melt above some simmering water, keeping the bottom of your heat proof bowl away from the water and allowing the steam to create the heat. Melt to a liquid, remove and allow to cool.
3. Beat together the butter and all but 2 tbsp of the sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the egg yolks one at a time until completely combined.
4. Whisk the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until bubbly. Add the pinches of cream of tartar and salt and whisk again into peaks. Add the remaining 2 tbsp sugar to the egg whites and beat into stiff peaks.
5. Gently fold the chocolate and ground almonds into the sugar and butter mixture with a metal spoon. Then very lightly, add one third of the egg white mixture.
6. Then add small quantities of alternate egg white and flour in until all is combined. Remember to cut and fold in order to avoid beating the air out of the mixture.
7. Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared tin and level out. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm and moist.
Remove and cool in the tin on a wire rack, turn out after 5 minutes and cool to room temp.

To make the icing:
1. Melt the chocolate as before over a pan of hot steam. Once the chocolate has melted, add the coffee and stir in the butter a little at a time. Chill in the fridge or freezer until a thick paste is created.
2. Spread over the surface and edges of the cake before sprinkling with cocoa.