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It’s so gooey, you can literally eat it with a spoon!

No joke! I love my chocolate cake as moist and gooey as a chocolate fondant, and as intense and rich as a chocolate brownie. And this chocolate cake recipe in Julia Child‘s cookbook is just what I am after. So, if you like your chocolate cake fluffy and soft, then this recipe is not for you.

Tonight is one of those nights, I know I want dessert after meal but somehow nothing inspires me at the supermarket. In the end, I picked up a block of butter and went to check out. I am Julie Powell tonight, and I will use Julia Child’s cookbook for the first time.

I have bought Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking vol.1 & 2 last year but they have been sitting in the cupboard untouched ever since. I didn’t even bother to flip it open because inside is so boring! There are just text inside, no pretty photos of delicious food but only a few hand illustrations. It’s true, how many of you buying cookbooks simply because there are pretty photos to look at before deciphering the recipes?

This chocolate and almond cake in the cookbook is also called Reine De SabaThe Queen of Sheba. There is no explanation why the name, but instead a small blurb how Julie Child discovered a new folding mixture technique.

“This extremely good chocolate cake is baked so that its centre remains slightly underdone; overcooked, the cake loses its special creamy quality… Because of its creamy center it needs no filling” – Julia Child.

And Julia was right, this is indeed an extremely good chocolate cake. I didn’t even bother with the chocolate icing as suggested in the recipe, I cut myself a slice of the chocolate cake when is still warm. The luscious, moist, gooey center is simply to die for. I have learned the art of using salt in dessert, and immediately I wanted to pair this delicious chocolate with salt to enhance its flavour even further. I’ve received some Murry River pink salt flakes from the Salt tasting event that I’ve attended early this year, and decided to use it on this cake. Voila! The skeptical ones, you simply have to try it.

I cut myself another slice, wash it down with a cup of Single Origin’s well being tea which is a beautiful blend of alfalfa, spearmint and calendula. I am sitting in front of my computer, checking my blog… the cursor is blinking…

Comment(s) received – Zero.

It’s 3am, switch off computer. Another day, another tomorrow.

[Read further to enter competition]

Reine de Saba - Chocolate and Almond Cake (serve 6 - 8 people)

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate melted with 2 tablespoon of rum or coffee
1/4 lb. or 1 stick softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar (I used caster sugar)
3 eggs (separated)
pinch of salt
1tbsp caster sugar
1/3 cup pulverized almonds
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup cake flour

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degree celcius (350 degrees Fahrenheit), butter and flour a 8 inch springform cake tin. Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan over simmering watering; let melt.

2. cream the butter and sugar together until pale yellow and fluffy.

3. beat in the egg yolks one at a time until well blended.

4. beat the egg whites and salt in separate bowl until soft peaks, sprinkle on a tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.

5. use 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 egg white 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 white and more flour until all are incorporated.

6. turn the batter into the cake pan, spread the batter all over and well level with a spatula. Put in the oven and bake in middle level for about 25 minutes.

7. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2½ to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a skewer plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and the skewer comes out oily.

8. 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.

9. (Optional) Try and sprinkle with some sea salt on top before serving.

Win 1 of 2 the Salt Books and Maldon smoked sea salt

If you are intrigued about pairing salt with food especially dessert, perhaps this newly launched The Salt Book is just what you are after. Two of ATFT’s readers will be the lucky winners of The Salt Book and also received a 125gram box of Maldon smoked sea salt.

THE PRIZE (two lucky winners)
1 x The Salt Book (RRP $34.95)
1 x 125g box of Maldon smoked sea salt

Note: Entrants are opened to all readers in ALL COUNTRIES!

Leave a comment on this post and tell us:
What kind of salt do you normally use at home? On what food? Any different kind of salt you would like to try?

Terms & Conditions
1. Entry will be judged on creativity or entertainment value.
2. Readers may submit one entry per day before closing date.
3. The Salt Book competition closes on Friday 14 May 2010 at 5.30pm AEST. The winner will be announced on Monday 17 May 2010.

The Salt Book
Your guide to salting wisely and well, with recipes
Fritz Gubler & David Glynn,
with contributions by Dr Russell Keast

Publication: March 2010
Page count: 208 pages
Trim size: 246 x 190 mm
Photography: colour throughout
Format: softcover, with flaps
ISBN: 978-0-9804667-3-7

Retail price: AUD$34.99
View a preview chapter (as an ebook):