A Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake recipe with step-by-step photos. A French chocolate and almond cake which is light, moist, gluten-free and also dairy-free! Also called a Queen of Sheba Cake (Reine de Saba).
Queen of Sheba Cake (Reine de Saba)
I am conscious that I have quite a few recipes for chocolate cake on this blog, but I suppose one more can’t hurt …
This recipe for Queen of Sheba Cake (or Reine de Saba) was given to me by my French mother-in-law after some pleading on my part. One afternoon, after she had served a procession of five courses at lunch, she brought out this beauty for dessert, a plain chocolate cake which tasted anything but.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
This is a gluten-free chocolate cake which, unlike most which are rich and decadent, is instead light and soft.
And like most French cakes, this one is served plain with maybe a dusting of cocoa on top, or simply with whipped cream on the side.
Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake
Although the original recipe for a Reine de Saba uses butter (as most French recipes do!), I have made this cake on several occasions using coconut oil instead with perfect results.
Hence, if you need to make a dairy-free chocolate cake, this is your recipe!
Reine de Saba by Julia Child
My mother-in-law found the recipe for this cake, called a Reine de Saba, in a French magazine some many years ago. When she sent me the recipe, I instantly recognised the cake as one which Julia Child made on her show, The French Chef.
Fans of the wonderful Julia Child can watch the episode here where, back in the olden days, cooking shows had the luxury of devoting an entire episode to just one recipe:
If you are interested in Julia Child’s recipe, the recipe can be found in her book, The French Chef Cookbook.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Having compared the recipe below to Julia Child’s, it became obvious to me that there must be many different recipes out there for Reine de Saba.
In particular, Julia Child’s recipe for Reine de Saba contains flour and the aromatic addition of rum.
On the other hand, my mother-in-law’s recipe is for a flourless chocolate cake, but which contains cornflour (cornstarch) for stability and is alcohol-free. Although, you could certainly add a dash of rum, Grand Marnier or even Frangelico to the batter for a more adult affair.
If you are also serving children, perhaps the best compromise is to serve a bowl of whipped cream on the side, laced with your favourite liqueur.
How to Make Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
For a printable recipe, please scroll down.
More Gluten-Free Cake Recipes
If you are looking for more gluten-free cake recipes, you might also like the following:Print
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
A Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake recipe with step-by-step photos. A French chocolate and almond cake which is light, moist, gluten-free and also dairy-free! Also known as a Queen of Sheba Cake (Reine de Saba).
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 35 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: Makes 8-12 slices
- Category: Cakes, Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: French
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (without fan).
- Line a 22 cm (9 inch) springform cake pan with greaseproof paper.
- Melt the chocolate and butter (or coconut oil) in a bain marie, or in a stainless steel or glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Make sure that the bowl does not touch the water.
- Let the melted chocolate cool briefly while you get on with the next steps.
- Separate the eggs.
- Place the egg whites into the bowl of stand mixer, and place the egg yolks into a large mixing bowl.
- Lightly beat the egg yolks with the sugar.
- Add the cornflour (cornstarch), ground almonds and salt.
- Add the melted chocolate mixture to the batter.
- Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, about one-third at a time.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan.
- Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Run a palette knife or knife around the edge of the pan to help prevent the cake from sticking to the sides.
- Leave the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- Serve with whipped cream.
MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE
To make this a gluten-free cake, make sure that you use gluten-free cornflour. Not all brands of cornflour (cornstarch) are gluten-free. The original recipe calls for fécule which, in France, refers to potato starch. If potato starch is readily available where you live, you could use this in place of cornflour.
MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE
The original recipe for Reine de Saba uses butter. To make this a dairy-free cake, I have made this recipe several times with coconut oil with very successful results. You can smell the coconut while the cake is baking, but there is barely any taste of coconut in the cake itself.
This cake is really delicious with the addition of 1-2 tablespoons of liqueur to both the cake batter and whipped cream, such as Frangelico, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Amaretto, or rum.
OVEN TEMPERATURES All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.
CONVERSIONS To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 196
- Sugar: 14.5g
- Sodium: 39.3mg
- Fat: 12.5g
- Carbohydrates: 18g
- Fiber: 1.3g
- Protein: 3.7g
- Cholesterol: 75.2mg
This recipe was first published on 21 July 2013. It has been updated with more comprehensive recipe notes.