Chocolate Almond Cake – Queen Of Sheba Cake

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I was reading Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking when I came across what she calls Queen of Sheba Cake. I then took a look at Youtube and I found an episode of her 1960s TV show where she made the cake.  It looked interesting so I thought that I would try it.  I converted the recipe to metric measurements and set to work.

Making the case is quite easy and when it bakes the top cracks somewhat.  Then when baked the outer couple of inches will test ‘clean’ with a skewer and the centre will test ‘moist’ with some chocolate on it.

When the cake is cool a thin layer of ganache is poured over it before being dressed with a few whole blanched almonds.

I actually made the cake twice, as I had camera problems the first time.  The cakes turned out very well and I was very pleased with the resulting flavour and texture too.

Queen Of Sheba Cake

                                 Queen Of Sheba Cake – Video

For the cake:

  • 115g dark chocolate
  • 115g softened unsalted butter
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp dark rum(or strong coffee)
  • 3 medium egg yolks(large in USA)
  • 3 medium egg whites(large in USA)
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 60g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 15g extra caster sugar
  • pinch of salt

For the ganache:

  • 60g dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp dark rum(or strong coffee)
  • 60g butter, cubed
  • blanched almonds to decorate.


  1. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie/double boiler and set aside to cool somewhat.
  2. Butter and flour an 8 in cake tin(I used springform), and line with parchment paper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350 F.
  4. In a large bowl(or a stand mixer) cream the butter and 115g sugar until fluffy.
  5. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until incorporated.
  6. Mix the chocolate, rum and almond extract together and pour into the butter mixture and beat to combine.
  7. Add the flour and almonds and mix until combined.
  8. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, with a pinch of salt until nice and frothy and beginning to increase in volume.
  9. Gradually add teh 15g sugar, and whisk until the egg whites have formed stiff peaks.
  10. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter and mix to combine and loosen the mixture.
  11. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold in until fully combined.
  12. Pour the batter, which will be quite thick, into the cake tin and spread to cover evenly.
  13. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  14. Remove from the oven leave to cool for about 10 minutes before running an edge around the outside edge and turn out onto a cooling rack.
  15. When the cake is cooled melt the chocolate with the rum, in a bain marie/double boiler.
  16. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring until it has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  17. Gently pour the ganache over the cake(stand on the wire rack over a baking tray) and spread over and allow to run down the sides to fully coat.
  18. Place a few almonds on the top as decoration.
  19. Set aside to allow the ganache to firm up before serving.

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