The Queen of Sheba cake was popularized by Julia Child in her first book, The French Chef. This modernized, healthier take on the classic dessert, from the new cookbook, The Sweet Spot, reduces the added sugar by 75% and replaces the butter with silky mashed avocado. What you get is a rich, voluptuous, dark chocolate cake (first made in Queens, NY, hence the punny name), served with a beautiful Blackberry Whipped Cream. You can purchase ready-made blackberry powder at health food stores and online, but you can also simply blend freeze-dried blackberries to a fine powder in a food processor or blender and use that in the recipe.
NOTE: To cut parchment to fit a round pan or bowl, fold a rectangular sheet of parchment in quarters and then into quarters again, as if making a paper snowflake. Cut the folded wedge to a length equal to the radius of your pan (half the diameter), them trim the open end into a curved shape. Unfold the parchment and place in the pan or directly on the mixture as instructed.
For the cake:
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/2 cup canola or other neutral oil
- 8 ounces dark chocolate (70%), melted
- 1/2 cup mashed avocado, pressed through a ﬁne-mesh sieve
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish
- Blackberry Whipped Cream, (see below) for serving
For the Blackberry Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons blackberry powder
To make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9-inch round cake pan with vegetable oil cooking spray, then line with parchment.
- Combine the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high speed until the yolks are pale yellow and ribbons form, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the oil and chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water over medium-high heat. Melt the chocolate, stirring, until smooth and silken. Turn off the heat but leave the pan on the stove to keep the chocolate warm.
- With the mixer running on medium speed, add the avocado to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk until smooth and thoroughly incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the chocolate. Use a hand whisk to mix until thoroughly incorporated. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Thoroughly clean the bowl and whisk of the standing mixer and whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed. When the tines of the whisk begin to show in the whites, add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Transfer half the whites to the chocolate mixture and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold them in until smoothly incorporated and no white patches appear. Fold in the remaining whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven, then pour hot water into the baking sheet to just below the rim to create a hot water bath. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside on the counter, sliding a fork underneath the pan to allow airflow. Let cool for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan to a cake plate and let cool for 1 hour more. Place the cocoa in a fine-mesh sieve and tap through over the top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature with Blackberry Whipped Cream.
To make the Blackberry Whipped Cream:
- Place the bowl and whisk attachment of a standing mixer in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Combine the cream, sugar, and blackberry powder in the chilled bowl and mix on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. The cream will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 days. It will separate; simply whisk before serving.