Reine de Saba Cake with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream

One of Julia Child’s favorite desserts, this cake has a biblical namesake, the Queen of Sheba, but is often called “fallen soufflé cake.” We infused ours with espresso powder and topped it with clouds of Grand Marnier Whipped Cream.

Reine de Saba Cake with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream
Makes 1 (8½- or 9-inch) cake
  • ⅓ cup (80 grams) heavy whipping cream
  • 2½ teaspoons (5 grams) espresso powder
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 1⅓ cups)
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 1 tablespoon (3 grams) orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) almond extract
  • 1¼ cups (250 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 6 large eggs (300 grams), separated and room temperature
  • ½ cup (48 grams) very finely ground almond flour
  • ⅓ cup (42 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (21 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder (see PRO TIPS)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Grand Marnier Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: sliced toasted almonds, bittersweet chocolate shavings (see Note)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter an 8½-inch round copper cake pan*. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; flour sides of pan.
  2. In the top of a double boiler, stir together cream and espresso powder until mostly dissolved. Add chocolate and butter; cook over simmering water, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in orange zest, salt, and almond extract.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together 1¼ cups (250 grams) sugar and egg yolks until pale and well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture; scrape sides of bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours and cocoa. Sift flour mixture over chocolate mixture; fold just until combined. (Mixture will be thick.)
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons (24 grams) sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, 6 to 8 minutes. Fold egg white mixture into chocolate mixture in four additions until well combined. Gently transfer batter to prepared pan; using a small silicone or nylon of set spatula, spread in an even layer.
  6. Bake until risen and a wooden pick inserted about 2½ inches from edge comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 35 to 45 minutes. (A wooden pick inserted in center will still come out wet.) Let cool completely in pan. Run a thin silicone of set spatula around edges of pan to loosen.
  7. Using a large of set spatula, decoratively swirl Grand Marnier Whipped Cream over cake, leaving a ½-inch border. Garnish with almonds and chocolate shavings, if desired. Serve using a silicone cake server.
*To create chocolate shavings, briefly microwave chocolate bar in 5-second intervals. Use a Y-shaped vegetable peeler to create shavings.

PRO TIP: Dutch process cocoa powder can look and act differently in baked goods compared to other cocoa varieties. Pay close attention to labels to ensure you pick up the right stuff.

PRO TIP: When removing baked goods from copper pans, use silicone spatulas or wooden spoons. Using sharp metal utensils will scratch through the tin lining and into your lovely copper.

Grand Marnier Whipped Cream
  • 2½ cups (600 grams) cold heavy whipping cream
  • 2½ tablespoons (30 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons (37.5 grams) Grand Marnier
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat all ingredients at high speed until medium peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


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