Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba) Chocolate Cake, Gluten-Free

From Art of Gluten-Free Baking (
adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck

Reine De Saba (Queen of Sheba Cake), Gluten-Free

with Glaçage au Chocolat (Chocolate Butter Icing)


For the cake
2/3 cup (115 grams) semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons rum
½ cup (1 stick; 115 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (135 grams) plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs, divided into yolks and whites
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup (35 grams) pulverized almonds or almond meal or almond flour (I’ve used all three and they each work fine)
¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
½ cup (70 grams) Jeanne’s All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour mix

For the icing
1/3 cup (55 grams) semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons rum or coffee or decaf coffee
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick; 85 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4.

Line the bottom of an 8 inch (21 cm) round cake pan with a round of parchment. No need to grease the pan.

In a small saucepan set over very low heat, melt chocolate until just barely melted. Remove from heat, add the rum, and whisk together until combined and smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and the 2/3 cup of sugar for 3 or 4 minutes–until very light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat until well blended.

In a very clean medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle on the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.

Using a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate mixture into the butter and sugar mixture and then stir in the almonds and the almond extract, if using. Stir in one fourth of the egg whites to lighten the batter. Then delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate with more egg whites and more flour until all of the egg whites and flour are incorporated.

Turn out batter into the prepared plan, pushing the batter to the sides with a rubber spatula. Delicately smooth top.

Bake in the middle of the 350 degree oven for about 25-30minutes. Cake is done when puffed and 2 ½ to 3 inches (6 to 8 cm) around the circumference of the top of the cake are set so that a tester plunged into that area comes out clean. A tester put into the  center of the cake should come out oily.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. The cake will deflate a bit in the middle–that’s OK.  Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan and carefully turn out cake onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool before icing. Cake must be thoroughly cool before icing.

To make icing:

In a small saucepan set over very low heat, heat chocolate and rum/coffee until just barely melted. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time. Place bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice and water and whisk until it cools to spreading temperature. Watch it closely—it will get too hard very quickly. If it does so, warm up over barely simmer water until it is spreading consistency.  Ice the cake at once.

Store lightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Bon Appetit!