Monday, January 4, 2010

Rein de Saba (Chocolate Almond Cake)

Okay, who hasn’t seen the movie Julie and Julia yet? I watched it last week and was compelled to make this chocolate cake, called a Rein de Saba, or Chocolate with Almonds Cake. Yes, most of the recipes by Julia Child are long and complicated with lots of ingredients and steps, and this one is no exception, although not the worst.
I had to give it a go and I will say that the cake was very tasty. My only problem is that it tasted similar to a brownie and my dad even made the brownie statement. Before I go to the trouble of making this cake again, I will first make a pan of brownies and frost them with the icing recipe. I would even add the pulverized almonds to the batter with a little almond extract. It would probably come pretty close.
This recipe will make a single layer cake that is baked so that the center is slightly underdone, giving the cake a creamy texture

**A note about Julie and Julia: I read the book when it first came out and was very surprised that someone would want to make a movie from it. The book is full of the “F” bomb (which is a BIG snag for me) and Julie Powell isn’t the best writer in the world. I was somewhat reluctant to watch the movie and the only reason I did was because everyone was raving about Meryl Streep’s preformance as Julia Child. The movie was much better than expected, although the “F” bomb is dropped once.

For the Cake:

4 ounces or squares semisweet chocolate , melted
2 Tbsp. rum or coffee (I used coffee)
1/4 pound or 1 stick softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar to mix with butter
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar to beat with egg whites
1/3 cup pulverized almonds
1/4 tsp. almond extract (I used vanilla)
*1/2 cup cake flour , scooped and leveled, turned into a sifter
Chocolate-Butter Icing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour the cake pan. Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water ( a double boiler); let melt while you proceed with the recipe. Measure out the rest of the ingredients. Cream the butter and 2/3 cup of sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended. Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle 1 Tbsp. sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir in one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated. Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 ·minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on the rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.

*If you do not have cake flour on hand here is a substitute, and what I used to make my cake. In a one cup measure add two tablespoons corn starch. Fill the remainder of the cup with all purpose flour (I always used unbleached flour). Sift three times. This gives you one cup of cake flour.


2 ounces (2 squares) semisweet baking chocolate
2 Tbsp. rum or coffee (I used coffee)
5 to 6 Tbsp. butter

Place the chocolate and rum or coffee in the small pan, cover and set in the larger pan of almost simmering water (a double boiler). Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth. Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency. At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife. Garnish the icing with slivered or chopped almonds.

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