One-Pot Wonders

One-Bowl Queen of Sheba Torte

April 28, 2018
8 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 10-12
Author Notes

This renowned French housewife classic is completely revised with whole rather than separated eggs, and mixed in the same big bowl you'll use to melt the chocolate! Don’t get out your stand mixer for this one—a hand-held mixer is easier.

How does air get whipped into the batter without separately beaten and folded egg whites? The secret is in the warm (not hot) melted chocolate, cool (not squishy) butter, and right-from-the-fridge cold eggs. Beating butter and cold eggs into warm chocolate cools and thickens the chocolate. Continued beating incorporates even more air—you'll see the batter become lighter and lighter in color as this happens. To make the torte flourless, simply replace the flour with 2 to 3 tablespoons of almond flour. For the best flavor, make the torte at least one day, if not two days ahead. —Alice Medrich

Test Kitchen Notes

For more on the Queen of Sheba Cake, see the full article. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) dark or bittersweet chocolate with 66%-72% cacao, coarsely chopped
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, slightly softened but cool, and not super squishy, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or rum, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon (generous) salt (I use fine sea salt)
  • 4 large cold eggs
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) almond flour/meal (blanched or not) or 3/4 cup (62 grams) fine almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Iightly sweetened whipped cream, for topping
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375° F (adjust temperature for a convection oven according to instructions with your oven). Grease an 8x3-inch pan with a removable bottom (or springform).
  2. Place the chocolate in a large stainless-steel bowl and set it in an even wider skillet of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is nearly melted—a few pieces should remain. Remove the bowl from the water bath and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth: it should be warm to the touch, not hot.
  3. Add the butter chunks, sugar, brandy (if using), almond extract, and salt, and beat with a hand-held electric mixer at medium speed until the butter pieces are completely melted and the mixture thickens and lightens slightly in color. Beat in the eggs one by one, then beat at high speed for a minute or two, or until the batter is fluffy and lightened in color. Add the almond meal and flour and mix until blended.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it level. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted about 1 1/2 inch from the sides of the pan comes out clean; the center will still be a little gooey.
  5. Set the pan on a rack. Slide a small metal spatula or knife blade around the sides of the cake to separate it from the pan, and so the thin crust that may have formed on top will sink (slightly) with the cake, as it cools. Once cool, the torte may be kept at room temperature, covered or placed in an airtight container, for at least 3 days.
  6. To serve, remove the pan sides and transfer the cake, to a platter. Sift a little powder sugar over the top to highlight the crackled surface. Serve slices with a dollop of whipped cream or pass a bowl of cream separately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alma Delucchi
    Alma Delucchi
  • Alice Medrich
    Alice Medrich
  • toomanydirtydishes
  • Joan Siegel
    Joan Siegel
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

13 Reviews

Thanks for the perfect Mother's Day cake! It was a breeze to make and she will love it!
Joan S. May 10, 2018
Do you think you can substitute quinoa flour for the almond flour?
Alice M. May 10, 2018
Although quinoa is not technically a grain, it behaves like a grain. Grain Flours do not usually substitute for nut flour., the texture is quite different and it absorbs more liquid than the nuts. You can try it, of course but I suspect you will get a drier denser cake. If I were you, I’d look for a chocolate cake recipe that is not also based on a nut flour.
Judy M. May 10, 2018
I'm allergic to almonds, can I substitute the almond flour for all purpose flour?
Alice M. May 10, 2018
If you are allergic to all nuts, I think you would be better off finding another recipe. If you can eat walnuts or hazelnuts, they would make perfect substitutions. I often make this cake with other nuts.
Judy M. May 11, 2018
Great, I can have other nuts. Thanks!
Alma D. May 8, 2018
Looks good. Plan to make and share the recipe. Thanks.
Lucia May 7, 2018
If I make it a day or two ahead of time, how should I store it in the meantime?
Alice M. May 7, 2018
You can keep it in the pan on the counter (room temperature), covered loosely if you want to keep the slightly crunchy top from getting soft or tightly with plastic wrap or foil if you want to soften the top.
Ness May 6, 2018
I don't have brandy nor rum, but do have both amaretto and Grand Marnier, and a very good bar of chocolate with almond and orange. Do you think swapping the alcohols to 1tbsp each amaretto and Grand Marnier would work?
Alice M. May 6, 2018
Either or both would be fine! Or neither!
Gl May 4, 2018
Is there a substitute for the AP flour so I can make it gluten free?
Alice M. May 4, 2018
Sure! Note my comment in headnote: you can add extra 2-3 T almond flour In place of all-purpose flour!