Julia’s Reine de Saba [Queen of Sheba] with Kahlúa

Some of the greatest man made creations were stumbled upon by mistake. For instance the creator of Coca-Cola stumbled upon his recipe for the brew while actually trying to find a cure for headaches.

Stumbling across this recipe was not as glamorous but the result was certainly on the same level as that iconic taste. Chocolate almonds and Kahlúa.

This ingenious didn’t hit me until, of course, the last minuet. I was gathering all of ingredients. Flour, sugar, eggs, pulverized almonds, almond extract,  baking chocolate. Rum? Coffee? Julia suggests rum. I head to the liquor cabinet. I’m out. What can I substitute? A cabinet full of booze. Vodka, rye, vodka, scotch, vodka, whiskey, a lot of vodka. Then I see it, a tiny bottle in the shadows at the back of the cabinet.

From there it all came together. I creamed the sugar and butter. As the chocolate melted in a metal bowl, resting on a simmering pot of water. Then separating the eggs yokes from whites. Adding the yokes into the sugar cream one second. Whipping the egg whites, with a dash of salt, the next. Seemingly all one fluid movement. With a tablespoon of sugar to the hand whipped egg whites. Cloudiness peaks start to form and I know I done them right. One layer after another I fold in egg whites followed by sifted flour.

Whipping the whites adding that layer. Sifting the flour and folding the layer in. With this technique it is important to be gentle when folding in the egg whites, as the recipe doesn’t include baking soda or powder. It also allows for a moist creamy cake as a result.  I taste the batter, as you always should taste as you cook. It was scrumptious. Three hours later I was ready to icing this masterpiece.  A spring loaded pan, greased and floured made the cake a cinch to remove from the pan, completely cooled.

I melted the chocolate the same way, in a metal bowl rested on a simmering pot of water, with more kahlúa. I melt it very slowly then gradually mix the kahlúa. Then a tablespoon at a time I melt each block of butter, 6 total. Then once completely melted I take the bowl from atop the pot and set it in the sink I’ve filled with cold water and some ice cubes. I continue to whip until it starts to thicken up. From there it’s all personality.

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