Cakery Friday: Julie Child’s Chocolate Cake

Reine de Saba: Chocolate and Almond Cake
As adapted from Julia Child’s (and Simone Beck & Louisette Bertholle) Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Last week I went to see the movie Julie and Julia. I was so excited for it open that I made my boyfriend promise to take me to see it opening day. See, I’m somewhat of a food nerd, not only do I love to bake and cook, but I also love to read about food. I had read both of the books that were adapted into the movie: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme. I loved them both!
After seeing the movie, and going on an hour long hunt for a French restaurant open at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night, I knew my next post must be a Julia Child recipe! In the movie there is an adorable scene where Julie and her husband are stuffing their face’s with Julia’s chocolate cake recipe. I tweaked the original recipe just slightly. It was amazing, light and airy with the perfect frosting. The cake itself is prepared in 3 stages, but overall it’s not too complicated and the outcome is worth it! In the words of Julia Child… Bon Appetit!
Start by gathering all of the ingredients.

Place 4 oz. of semisweet baking chocolate and 2 tablespoons of prepared coffee in a pan. Put the chocolate and coffee on top of another pan filled with simmering water, as a double boiler.

Allow the mixture to melt completely.

Next separate three eggs. I find it easiest to do this with three bowls: one to initially separate the eggs in, and then to place the yolk and egg’s in different bowls. This can save you a lot of time if you have a bad egg and the yolk breaks in with the white. * If there is any yolk in the with the whites they will not whip to a stiff peak *
In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment cream one stick of softened butter with 2/3 cup sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the three egg yolks until well blended.

Place the butter/sugar/egg mixture in another large bowl. Clean the mixing bowl very well, if there is any fat left in the bowl the egg whites will not whip properly * I prefer to use scalding hot water and soap, if I still feel like there is grease in the bowl, I will use some vinegar to clean completely * With the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the three egg whites and pinch of salt until soft peaks form.

Then sprinkle in one tablespoon sugar and beat mixture until stiff peaks form.

A stiff peak is exactly what it sounds like. * Place your (clean) finger in the mixture and if a peak is formed on the tip of your finger they are stiff, if the peak falls, you need to continue whipping *

With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter/sugar mixture, then stir in 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Immediately stir in a quarter 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 1/2 cup cake flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all of the whipped egg whites and flour are incorporated.

Place the batter into a butter and floured 9 inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degree F oven for about 25 minutes. The cake is done when it has puffed, and when a cake tester/toothpick comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then reverse onto rack. * I like the score the edge with a sharp knife, but the cake should come out easily if your properly buttered ad floured the baking pan * Allow it to cool for an hour or two. It must be thoroughly cold to be iced. * I like to place my cake on plate with parchment paper under it so I don’t get icing on the plate. The I remove parchment after icing *
For the icing: Place 2 ounces of semisweet chocolate and 2 tablespoons coffee in mixing bowl, place bowl over simmering water (again, a double boiler) and allow it to melt completely.

Transfer the bowl to mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat in 5-6 tablespoons of softened butter * one tablespoon at a time * until perfectly smooth.

Remove from the electric mixer and place the coffee and chocolate over iced water. Beat it by hand with a whisk until the icing is cooled and spreading consistency is reached. Using spatula, ice the cake.
I decorated the sides of the cake with slivered almonds.

Formula for Julia Child’s Chocolate Cake (adapted by Papery & Cakery)
For the cake:
4 ounces or squares semisweet chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons coffee
1/4 pound *1 stick softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
For the icing:
2 ounces semisweet baking chocolate
2 tablespoons coffee
5-6 tablespoons butter, softened

Happy Baking!


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7 Comments on Cakery Friday: Julie Child’s Chocolate Cake

  1. Carl D
    February 14, 2010 at 10:53 pm (8 years ago)

    I tried making this cake today but had a lot of trouble with the icing. I'm fine melting the chocolate and adding the butter, but think I'm confused by mixing it "over" the bowl of ice water.

    Should the bowl containing the butter/chocolate mixture be partially submerged in the ice water? I think that's what I did originally and it seemed to cool the mixture too fast and turned it into the consistency of whipped butter. It also tasted like butter and not chocolate and didn't look as dark and rich as the photos I've seen.

    Also, is it possible to overbeat the mixture? The whole "beat over ice water" is a new thing for me as I've never done it in any other recipes.

    Thanks for any help!

  2. Anonymous
    January 28, 2010 at 2:34 am (8 years ago)

    i have made this cake too.. omg it was so lovely! i search a long time this recept in german but nobody blogged it so wonderful like you here,in good old germany, thank you so much!

  3. Villa Savoia, Inc.
    November 25, 2009 at 6:33 pm (8 years ago)

    I have made this cake twice in the past week and am just about to make it again. My cake actually looked much like yours. In the movie, the cake seemed to be about double this height. I thought I needed work on folding but maybe the cake was just "sensationalized" for the movie. As you well know, the cake is pretty sensational regardless.

  4. Anonymous
    October 6, 2009 at 12:05 am (9 years ago)

    We saw the movie for the 2nd time and my friends requested the chocolate cake. We are going away for the night together soon, and I decided I will surprise them with the cake. I found your blog when looking for the recipee. Your description and pictures are wonderful. Thank you for sharing with all of us. Your cake turned out beautifully!

    Kathy, in the Chicago suburbs

  5. Lisa
    August 30, 2009 at 11:16 am (9 years ago)

    What a clever idea. Love the movie and love your idea of showing us how easy it is.

    Houston, TX

  6. koralee
    August 21, 2009 at 8:31 pm (9 years ago)

    Yummy…I too saw the movie last week and was craving French Food…I even went to look for Julia's cookbook! This cake looks amazing…thank you for this lovely post! Your blog is so much fun!

  7. carina
    August 21, 2009 at 3:36 am (9 years ago)

    Oh my goodness! Your cake turned out so lovely, I'm dying for a nibble.

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