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A chocolate almond cake on a pink cake stand

Chocolate Almond Cake

This chocolate almond cake is my take on Julia Child's legendary Reine de Saba. Rich, almost flourless cake filled with marzipan buttercream and topped with a silky ganache
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 Slice
Calories 199kcal


For the Cake:

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp rum dark
  • 1 stick butter softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar plus one tablespoon
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites room temp
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2/3 cup pulverized almonds
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup cake flour

For the Ganache:

  • 4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 5-7 tbs unsalted butter

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup grated marzipan
  • 1 stick salted butter room temp
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbs hot water
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract


For the Cake

  • For the egg whites, add a pinch of salt and beat on high until soft peaks form. Add sugar and continue to beat until peaks stiffen.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour cake pan. Set chocolate and rum in a bowl set over simmering water to melt. Remove from heat when almost completely melted.
  • Cream butter and 2/3 cup sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow fluffy mixture. Beat in egg yolks until well blended. 
  • Beat in egg whites and salt in separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on 1 tbsp sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. With spatula, blend melted chocolate into butter and sugar mixture, then stir in almonds, and almond extract. 
  • Immediately stir one fourth of egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of flour and continue folding. 
  • Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated. Turn batter into cake pan, pushing batter up to its rim with a spatula. Bake in middle level of oven for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2-1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; center should move slightly if pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily. 
  • Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run knife around edge of pan, and reverse cake on rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced. 

For the Filling

  • Grate the marzipan into a bowl and pour the hot water over. Knead together so the marzipan absorbs the water and softens up.
  • Cream butter and marzipan together until well combined then add the sugar and almond extract. Beat until fluffy.

For the Ganache

  • Place chocolate and rum in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water for a few minutes until mostly melted.
  • Remove pot from the double boiler and beat un butter a tablespoon at a time. Set aside until the mixture cools down and spread over the cake using a spatula.


  • Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don't have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
  • If you prefer not to use the dark rum then sub in coffee and if neither of those will do then use milk.
  • Try heating your marzipan for 3-4 seconds in the microwave to help soften it if if feels a bit too hard.
  • Your bowl and beater needs to be totally clean and grease-free before you whip the egg whites. Try wiping with vinegar or lemon juice if you have any doubts.


Serving: 1piece | Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.8g | Protein: 6.8g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0.4mg | Sodium: 264mg | Potassium: 108mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10.2g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 0.7mg