Queen of Sheba

There’s chocolate and then there’s Chocolate….this is most certainly not Chocolate for the faint of heart. The Queen of Sheba says it all in the name really.  This Queeny cake means business!

We don’t have a word in English for the parents of your boyfriend. They’re not in-laws because you’re not married but in Dutch they call it schoonouders. So we went to visit my “schoonouders” and seen as I’ve never baked anything for them before, I wanted it to be something damn good… because obviously my cake making skills should reflect my relationship skills?? Riiight? Well, maybe not so much because I’m quite obsessive and controlling when it comes to baking…just baking. I felt this cake might be a hit, they like strong coffee…tick, and they like dark chocolate…tick.

Happy out, cheers Sheba.


There are different variations of this cake, but I found my favourite to be from the Great British Bake Off.

Ingredients for the cake:
100g dark chocolate min 70% cocoa solids, broken up
2 tbsp strong coffee or espresso, OR dark rum
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra
3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
good pinch each of salt and cream of tartar
50g ground almonds
1/4 tsp almond extract
65g plain flour

For the icing:
100g dark chocolate 70% cocoa solids, broken up
1 tbsp strong coffee or espresso, OR dark rum
100g unsalted butter

For decoration: (optional)
50g of Halved almonds
cocoa powder or icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat your oven to 180’C/350’F. To make the sponge, put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl, add the coffee or rum, and set over a pan of steaming hot but not boiling water, (don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water). Melt gently, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool while making the rest of the mixture.

Put the soft butter into a mixing bowl and beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until the butter looks creamy. Gradually beat in 100g sugar, (save the 2 tbsp for the egg whites), and continue beating until the mixture looks very pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Add the cream of tartar (or a small dash of vinegar) and salt, and continue whisking until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted out. Whisk in the 2 tbsp sugar and continue whisking for another minute or until the mixture stands in stiff peaks.

Using a large metal spoon, gently fold the chocolate mixture into the butter and sugar mixture followed by the ground almonds and almond extract. Fold in one-quarter of the egg whites.
When completely incorporated sift half the flour onto the mixture. Add half of the remaining egg whites and gently fold in –  the whisked whites make the cake rise so take care not to lose too much air. Repeat with the remaining flour and egg whites.

Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined small round cake tin (20.5 cm) and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted halfway between the side of the tin and centre of the cake comes out clean; take care not to overcook –  the centre should still be just moist.

Remove from the oven and run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the cake. Cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cook completely.
To make the icing, melt the chocolate with the coffee or rum as before. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir in the butter a little at a time to make a smooth, glossy icing. Leave to cool, stirring frequently, until thick enough to spread.

Set the cake on a serving plate and spread the chocolate icing evenly over the top and around the sides. Leave until almost set.
Roast the sliced almonds in a dry frying pan to give them a bit of colouring and then sprinkle onto the cake in whatever fashion you prefer….dust a little cocoa powder for that extra touch.

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